Why Amazon SUCKS and abuses their seller’s intellectual property.
Amazon has the tendency of getting their fingers into everything. It wasn’t but a few years ago that I started selling on their platform and had a product that was selling like crazy that I was sourcing from China. It was a simple product that I simply rebranded and made become popular. I’m not going to get into details about the product for the sake of privacy due to an ongoing lawsuit, however, I can tell you that I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars from this product in less than a year.
Here’s the kicker: Amazon suddenly demanded that I proved to them that I own the inventory by sending them invoices proving that I purchased the inventory and who I purchased from (as if owning the inventory that was unlike any other brand wasn’t enough proof). Of course, I complied. Proudly sent them my invoices and bank transfers to my supplier, as requested. I didn’t hear anything back from them for about 3 months. I was convinced that they were doing their due diligence to make sure their marketplace was tidy and proper.
On the 4th month, something strange happened. My product sales started declining rapidly. When I say rapid, I mean from selling 300-400 of this product per day down to less than 20. This happened in about 2 days time! So, of course, I started researching the cause.
I searched for my product on Amazon and found an Amazon version of my product had taken the top position in search results. “Wait a minute”, I thought, “what happened here?” Not only did Amazon have their own branded version of my same product, but my listing was also nowhere to be found! My listing was now buried 3 pages deep. Mind you, my product had been #1 for months with hundreds of 4-star reviews and suddenly my listing was pushed behind a bunch of Chinese knock-offs of the same product that had hardly any reviews and clearly fewer sales.
WHAT?! This made no logical sense at all!
So, here’s something Amazon didn’t know: I have a strong, personal relationship with my suppliers in China. I visit Shenzhen 2-3 times every year and form a relationship with everybody I do business with there.
Now let me tell you how this paid off.
Amazon had contacted my suppliers shortly after they had received my invoice proof that they demanded previously. How do I know this? My supplier showed me the emails! Now, mind you, Amazon has a sneaky way of doing things. Apparently they have a team that handles these things at first without giving away that they’re actually Amazon. Finally, when it comes down to making the deal, they branded the product as Amazon’s Essentials brand. Of course, my supplier is not going to refuse the opportunity to work with Amazon and I wouldn’t expect them to, however, their loyalty to me was also acknowledged when they turned over all of the information regarding their orders, branding, etc. I now have empirical proof that Amazon had ripped off my product. I also have proof that Amazon had, for no obvious reason, suppressed my listing’s search results at almost the exact same time that they listed their own version of my product.
Amazon stole my intellectual property!
Naturally, I did the smart thing: I started calling law firms. It didn’t take long to find representation. Apparently this has been an ongoing situation with Amazon because the firm I have hired already has a few other cases regarding the same allegations against Amazon.
Amazon is a supergiant of an online retailer with no morals. They got there by riding on the backs of the very sellers that supported their platform from the beginning. They abuse seller’s intellectual property by demanding sellers to turn over their product sources with threats that their selling privileges will be revoked if they don’t comply and then use that same information to create Amazon-branded products of their own. Finally, they push your product out of their marketplace by making it virtually impossible to find in search results. This is their way of making sure that you can’t produce a profit and make you even less of a threat since your main concern is finding a way to make an income instead of trying to find a way to sue Amazon.
In conclusion: Sell on Amazon at YOUR OWN RISK. I am just one out of hundreds of examples of sellers that have been abused of their intellectual property. Amazon has a track record of abusing its sellers that you can easily find by searching on Google for others with my very same issue.
This time, Amazon, you messed with the wrong gal.