Help! I’ve been hijacked!

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Amazon hijackers can be very sneaky. You might not even realize you’ve been hijacked, if your sales aren’t much affected. But someone has copied your product, and they’re selling it with your brand on it, and taking away your business.

Now there are sometimes viable reasons for a second seller. You may have an authorized reseller, or someone may have bought your product with a coupon and is reselling it. But other times, you’ve been hijacked – someone noticed you were doing well, and they’ve decided to skim the cream off your success.

You might only notice when suddenly you start getting one-star reviews. What’s going on? People who think they’re your customers are getting low-quality product from the hijacker, and blaming it on you.

So let’s see how you can reduce the risk of being hijacked, and stop it continuing if it’s already happened.

#1 Being in the Amazon Brand Registry program should help; it will give you more control over your listings. While it won’t stop hijackers, the program will put dedicated protection at your service. (But you do need to have a trademark first, which can take 18 months, so this isn’t a short term solution.)

#2 Monitor your listings regularly. Don’t just check in on your Seller Central dashboard, but look at your product pages. Is anyone other than you turning up as a seller?

The more successful you get, the more important this becomes. You don’t need to do it every day, but once a week will ensure if hijackers arrive, you know about it quickly.

#3 Make your branding stronger

Make sure your product photos show the branding clearly so customers know what to expect. Build the brand into the product, don’t just add a sticker; brand the packaging and other materials as well as the product. The more branded you are, the better you’re counterfeit-proofed.

#4 OK, it’s happened and you got hijacked… what do you do? Take things up with Amazon. Buy the false product, document all the ways it is deceitful, file a complaint with Amazon and send the product to them to check. Take extensive photos and not just of the product, but also the packaging, invoice, and any other inclusions.

You may also alert Amazon to a TOS violation by the seller. They really, really don’t like TOS violations.

#5 Send a cease and desist letter to the seller using Amazon’s ‘Question about a product’ feature.  This won’t always work – some sellers will just laugh and carry on. But others will back down and go looking for easier prey. Just use a template (there are plenty online); you don’t need to spend money on a lawyer.

#6 Want to hurt the pirate? Lower your price as far as you can and still not lose money. If you can undercut the counterfeiter, and make them hurt, they may not come back.

#7 Bundle your products. It’s much easier to counterfeit a single product than it is four or five products in a package; and since most hijackers are too lazy to set up their own products and brands, they’re probably too lazy to copy five separate products, too.

#8 Build your own presence on the web, and send customers to Amazon from there. Whatever a hijacker can do, he can’t hijack your own e-commerce site. Ultimately, having your own site will make your products stronger, too.

There are also two other Amazon Programs you probably should join. They won’t help you now, but they could in future. The Amazon Transparency Program allows you to code your product; Amazon will check the codes before shipping; the Amazon Project Zero program can let you remove counterfeit listings (as long as you’re in Amazon Brand Registry).

We hope that’s helped! Till next time, have a great week!

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