Three Policy Violations that Will Get You Banned from Amazon
by Ashley Scoprio, Vice President of Partnerships at Hawke Media
If you want to join more than six million sellers worldwide on Amazon Marketplace, the first step is to sign Amazon’s Business Solutions Agreement (BSA.) In doing so, you consent to abide by a set of rules and restrictions that you should review in detail. Don’t skip the small print, or the next time Amazon conducts one of its mass purges of policy violators, you could find your seller account suspended. That not only cuts off a source of revenue but also triggers the inconvenience of reinstating your account — and remember, Amazon does not offer phone support.
To keep your online business booming, don’t give Amazon any of the following three reasons to suspend your account.
1. Operating more than One Seller Account
As far as Amazon is concerned, one is the magic number. Under Amazon’s business agreement terms, you can have only one seller account for each region you sell in. In the early days of Amazon Marketplace, many sellers were tempted to create multiple accounts. It was a crafty ploy to escape negative reviews. Today, however, Amazon enforces its one account policy with rigor. If your IP address, bank account, tax ID or physical address appears on two separate accounts, you could soon receive the suspension notification. The only exception is if you own multiple brands or manufacture products for two separate companies.
2. Hacking Your Reviews and Gaming the Algorithm
Reviews are the fuel that power the Amazon shopping experience. In eCommerce as a whole, 93% of customers will consult reviews before deciding whether to purchase a product. In the past, that has made it very tempting for unscrupulous sellers to influence reviews, ratings, and customer feedback. And they might just have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for the world’s peskiest big data pioneer. A leaked database in 2021 uncovered at least 200,000 reviews that were linked to a refund scheme for five-star ratings, but even for those who escape detection, the damage is already done. If customers even just suspect your reviews and feedback to be phony, they are unlikely to become a repeat purchaser. Under Amazon’s terms, you may request reviews from your customers — and indeed you should — but you cannot attempt to influence their opinion, offer them an incentive for a positive rating (e.g. coupons or a refund), or ask them to remove or amend a review.
3. Artificially Inflating Traffic
The more sales and searches for your item on Amazon Marketplace, the higher your Amazon standard identification number (ASIN) ranking. That unleashes a scramble for the first page of results or a fleeting appearance among the best sellers above the line, which in turn encourages some sellers to take a shortcut, either by paying for clicks or by using third-party bots. As with any eCommerce store, luring traffic to your landing page under false pretenses is never a good idea. Customers buy when they see a quality product, good (authentic) reviews, and a brand they can trust. If their first interaction is a bot-generated sleight of hand, they are unlikely to convert or come back.
How to Grow Your Business as Amazon Intended
Amazon might be unforgiving when it comes to the above transgressions, but it offers growing revenue for sellers who use the same white-hat marketing techniques that work across eCommerce in general. That means creating engaging, informative product descriptions and headlines that will rank high in searches, leading to useful, relevant content that anticipates and answers every question a customer will have. The reviews of your customers (and your competitors) are valuable in this respect, as they will show you what pain points buyers are looking to solve. Instead of hacking their ranking, sellers should partner with an experienced consultancy like Hawke Media, which can help them allocate some of their budget to sponsored listings, which in turn will unlock useful insights about the search terms customers are using to find your products.
If you’re counting on Amazon Marketplace for some or all of your income, you’ll want to stay on the right side of Amazon’s policies. After all, every day that your account is suspended is a lost opportunity and lost revenue. Steer clear of the three pitfalls above in order to stay on a more profitable path to success.
Already been suspended? Reach out to Appeal Wizards today to get your Amazon storefront back up and running.