Arrogant, controlling, and aggressive strikes when you least expect it. That’s a hijacker. The best way to describe a hijacking is when someone takes control of something or uses what doesn’t belong to them for their advantage. Like actual life hijackers, ASIN hijackers strike without your knowledge and take control of your listing. Most ASIN hijackers turn out to be competitors that would go to any length to drive your buyers to their listings.
ASIN hijackers appear more and more, posing a severe threat to e-commerce sellers. They range from American scammers to bots, Alibaba suppliers to Chinese counterfeits. Most hijackers aim to steal sales from brand owners and resellers by selling lower-priced counterfeit goods.
Imagine a customer purchases one of your products, but instead of receiving the original item, they receive a knock-off version. Naturally, the customer leaves a negative review on your listing, warning others about purchasing goods from you. In the end, you get a bad review for a product you don’t even sell, discouraging others from buying the genuine product you sell. It’s frustrating; that’s what it is.
Let us look at how Amazon ASIN hijackers work, so you know if your listing is compromised and how to handle this.
First, Amazon hijackers are very different from Amazon resellers. Many tend to confuse genuine resellers with hijackers. Below your listing will be other offers appearing as “Other Sellers on Amazon.” That’s not a hijacker but a reseller who purchased your product and decided to resell it. The difference between Amazon resellers and hijackers is that a hijacker will sell a counterfeit product, unlike a reseller who sells a genuine product. How do hijackers strike? There are two ways in which hijackers can compromise your ASIN.
- A seller jumps on your listing page and sells a counterfeit that doesn’t match your listing.
- If a competitor or a bad actor jumps on your listing, edit your listing detail page by changing your brand name, title, bullets, or photos.
You can tell that your listing is hijacked when another seller claims your product listing Buy Box or when buyers start leaving negative reviews on your listing that are out-of-the-ordinary. Every business is vulnerable to ASIN hijackers, but some factors increase this risk. They include:
- When you start running out of inventory.
- When you don’t have branding on your products and packaging.
- When you track your listing monthly rather than weekly.
- Promotional products with hefty discounted offers.
- Not taking advantage of the Amazon Brand Registry program.
How can you get help with an ASIN hijacking?
Suppose you notice that another seller has hijacked your listing. You must act fast to cut the sales losses and negative feedback from buyers who buy from the hijacker. Here are a few ways to get Amazon hijackers off your listings:
Register for Amazon Brand Registry
The first question is whether you have a Brand Registry for your ASIN. Suppose you don’t have it, file for Brand Registry immediately. Brand Registry is an Amazon program meant to help identify brand owners to Amazon. The program allows brands to protect their intellectual property and keep ASIN hijackers off their listings. Brand Registry has a dedicated team ready to step in when you file claims of IP infringement and policy violations.
Brand Registry won’t keep hijackers off your listing, but you will have more protection from Amazon as a registered brand if that happens. As a registered brand, you can also take advantage of the Amazon Transparency Program, where Amazon authenticates all your items before they are shipped to customers. That way, the end buyer only receives an authentic product rather than a cheap knock-off. When dealing with ASIN hijackers, you need a long-term solution, which means registering for Brand Registry.
Now, what happens if you notice other sellers on your listing? You can take one of the following three actions to deal with that.
Conduct test buys
To be sure someone has hijacked your listing, buy the product in question, and report it. For the best results, do this before taking other actions like contacting the hijacker or submitting an IP or trademark infringement claim.
- Buy the product from the hijacker.
- Take pictures of the product.
- Compile a list of differences between what you sell and what the other seller has.
If the product you bought is your own branded product, you can’t file an IP complaint with Amazon as they would be a reseller, or you have a leak in your distribution channel. In this case, you need to deal with the underlying issue.
File an IP complaint
If the product you bought is counterfeit, file an IP complaint with Amazon. State in the complaint that the product you purchased is a knock-off of your original product, and someone is benefiting from that.
File a trademark complaint
If the product is not a counterfeit but is in a terrible condition, make a case of a trademark violation. There have been recent legal cases that have supported this stand. After all, while the product is genuine, it differs from your brand’s standards. If a customer receives this product, it won’t hurt the resellers but your brand the most.
When reporting an infringement, here are things you need to include in the form:
- The hijacker’s seller username on Amazon.
- The hijacker’s seller page URL.
- Your product ASIN.
- Your listing product title.
- The Amazon marketplace where the actual violation occurred.
- Your order ID for the purchase of the counterfeit item.
- Legitimate and bogus product images.
What if your listing has inaccurate content?
Inaccurate listing content happens, especially if you don’t review your listings now and then. Suppose the details on your listing page are false, it not only leaves you at risk of Amazon hijackers, but a buyer might file an “inauthentic” complaint with Amazon that the product received was “not as described.” When that happens, Amazon can take down your listing and may even ban you from selling the product.
If your listing is not updated and attracts dubious people that take advantage, here’s what you need to do:
- Close the offer in question and then work on fixing your listing detail page. Remove any information that shouldn’t be there and then upload a flat file to restore the content.
- If that doesn’t work, contact Brand Registry Seller Support for help if you are registered.
Amazon hijackers are the worst, and private label seller hijackers are frustrating. It diminishes your efforts and resources that create a unique brand you love.
But having your listing hijacked isn’t the end of the world. You can bounce back from it if you take appropriate steps and prevent future hijackings.
If you notice something fishy with your listing, it may have been hijacked. Report to Amazon with evidence or get expert help from Riverbend Consulting. Call for a free consultation.