Stop Letting Fake Vendors Steal Your Amazon Sales: Brand Gating & Brand Registry Explained

Let me spell it out. According to recent data, sellers steal on average 4% of sales across Amazon. 

You may be able to sell some products on Amazon, but what happens when counterfeiters and fake vendors come for your buy box?  Can you protect your brand against all the evils of Amazon? Are you prepared to lose a large percentage of your sales to listing arbitrage?

Most businesses are not equipped properly to protect the brands that they have built.  Depending on how many products and brands you have on the channel, protection of your assets could be a full-time job.  Amazon doesn’t always do the best job of helping out its sellers, but times have changed and things seem to be heading in the right direction.  

Here are a few areas in Amazon you should be taking advantage of:

 

Brand Registry:

Applying for a registered trademark is a process that involves a little know-how and a great deal of time, most of which is spent waiting for approval or replies to your request.  However, ever since Brand Registry 2.0 was released, a trademark is no longer enough to register your brand with Amazon. That little ® is mandatory. Trust me, it’s worth it. Here’s why…

 

Brand Registry 2.0 has some new features built in (and more seemingly forthcoming) to protect your brand.  The Report A Violation Tool is the strongest such enforcer that Amazon has released. This tool allows a variety of ways to search for and report infringements of your product and brand trademarks.  There may be a few additional hoops to jump from, including possibly needing a test order, but the majority of violations will result in Amazon “zapping” the fraudulent listings. The best part is that this counts as a strike against that Vendors account and after only a few reports (from you or anyone else), the seller will be banned! How’s that for power!?

 

The latest tool is known as Prevent A Violation.  It is still in a new rollout/Beta format but could prove to be a powerful ally.  This tool allows a seller to submit a catalog of branded items to be protected, potentially preventing others from selling against your listings, to begin with.  No more super fast ASIN match counterfeiters? We’ll see. The proof just isn’t quite out there yet.

 

Test Buying Case:

Not able to get a registered trademark yet?  You still have an option to open a traditional case against violating parties.  If a seller is undercutting your legitimate listing, you can open a case and make a “test buy”.  Basically, go buy the product and see what happens. Either, A) They can’t supply it B) They supply a fake product C) They will try to drop ship your product to you. No matter what, you’ve now got proof that they are not legit sellers and the products are not what they seem.  Now report that back to Amazon and hopefully, they do the right thing.

 

Brand Gating:

Ah, the great shiny unicorn of brand protection on Amazon.  If you’ve been around Amazon, you may or may not have run into this term. There is a reason for this ambiguity and it’s totally Amazon’s fault.  

In 2016 they “released” brand gating, which basically puts a “gate” up around all of your products and does not allow anyone to list against them whatsoever.  If a vendor tries, they will be prompted to pay a large fee, submit documents for application, etc. It’s a virtual brick wall for counterfeit vendors. This is the dream!  

If you are a serious reseller, you’ll likely run into this once in a while.  If you have, like me, you would immediately research, HOW DO I GET MY BRAND GATED ON AMAZON?!  Like me, you’d find the most ambiguous answers of all-time. There is a reason for this. Amazon never fully released a pathway for sellers to achieve brand gating.  They don’t even acknowledge it actually exists! (Go ahead, email them about it...I’ll wait)

You see, they rolled it out as a legal backdoor and never built anything around it.  Be very wary of all the so-called experts on the internet trying to sell you a pipe dream that they know the way to candy mountain.  It’s simply not true. Yet, we do know, Brand Gating exists, because we’ve seen it in action.

Now you may be thinking, okay, but Brand Gating sounds a lot like the Prevent A Violation tool they just rolled out.  Honestly, here’s to hoping! For two years there has been a hush around the entire concept. Is this finally the pathway?

It seems somewhat likely it may be.  Amazon has come out and said they want to protect their sellers better, something they have failed to do over the years.  They seem to be putting vendors and brands with registered trademarks to the front of the line, which makes sense, as they are more defensible.  

If you’re looking for assistance in protecting your brand on Amazon as you grow, please reach out and let’s discuss how to best protect your investments and business.