If you’ve been selling on Amazon for a while and notice a sudden drop in sales, there’s a chance some Amazon Hijackers are hijacking your products.
If you don’t know what an Amazon Hijacker is, let me explain how badly one or more can affect your Amazon business.
Amazon Hijackers are sellers who look for top-selling products on Amazon and sell them on their accounts at a cheaper price. They lower the price to win the battle of the “buy box”.
The buy box is the “Buy now” button on Amazon.
For example, if you sell a coffee mug for $19.95 (like me) and it’s selling well, one day, the Amazon Hijackers will spot it and try to sell it to you at a lower price, like $5.
The hijackers’ ads will appear on your product page, along with other sellers. And they’re likely to win the battle of the buy box because they’re offering the same product at a much lower price.
Let me show you some examples of the hijackers on an Amazon product page so you can see them clearly:
A product page on Amazon with many Amazon Hijackers…
I’m not sure why Amazon allows hijackers to copy other people’s products and ruin other people’s businesses.
Amazon claims this “competition” is good for buyers because their buyers can get better deals.
But I don’t think it’s fair to print-on-demand sellers.
It’s okay to sell a general product like Coca-Cola or a famous snack like Pringles. You can buy them in bulk at a special price and sell them at a higher price on Amazon.
These are products that sellers can compete with and decrease prices for customers.
But print-on-demand sellers created our designs and put them on the products ourselves. They’re not generic products that people will buy and sell to make a profit.
POD is a sort of artwork, so I’m not sure why Amazon allows other hijackers to copy and sell it so easily.
A few months ago, I placed orders for my winning products and sent them to Amazon FBA. I prepared to sell them in Q4, the year’s biggest shopping season.
I placed orders for around 2,000 coffee mugs and travel mugs.
But when the products arrived at the warehouse, they didn’t sell well. I tried to find out why.
I discovered many Amazon Hijackers were selling my products, and I lost the buy box battle.
So, in the past few weeks, I’ve spent most of my time trying to find a way to keep Amazon listing hijackers away from my products. I’ll summarize how I’m doing it in this blog post.
Let’s dig into it.
Report Hijackers to Amazon
I started by contacting Amazon about the issue I found. I told them that people were selling my products without my permission, which decreased sales of my products.
I created the designs on those pirated products (or my designer, whom I pay). I don’t allow anyone else to reproduce and sell these designs without my permission.
A few hours later, Amazon replied (with their standard canned answer) and told me they couldn’t stop hijackers from selling my products because it’s OK for them to do it.
The Amazon Hijackers weren’t breaking any policy...
Amazon allows sellers to copy listings and sell the same products as other sellers. They even have a function that helps them do this easily. They need to make sure they ship the right product to their customers.
It’s easy to find a supplier for coffee mugs or travel mugs, so these hijackers can make and ship the exact product I’m selling.
Oh well. Since it’s okay to let copycats sell my products, I had to do something else.
Contact The Amazon Hijackers Directly
I searched the internet to find answers on how other people deal with this issue and found that some of them contact Amazon listing hijackers directly and ask them to remove pirated products from Amazon.
Tell them you’re the owner of the design and ask them to remove your product from selling; otherwise, you’ll contact Amazon, yada yada yada…
I tried this method many years ago, and it worked.
But the Amazon hijackers are also evolving. They know Amazon won’t remove or suspend their account for doing that.
Amazon is FULLY on their side.
I tried to contact all the Amazon listing hijackers this time. I told them I was the owner of the products and kindly asked them to stop selling the products they’d copied.
Guess what? None of them did. They didn’t even reply to my messages.
Moreover, when I sent messages to these sellers, Amazon limited my ability to send them. They asked me to wait for the sellers to reply to my messages before sending another message.
The problem is, none of them answered my messages…
Claimed Ownership using My Store
Apart from selling on Amazon, I also have a store on Shopify.
I did more research and found that I might be able to let Amazon know that I am the product owner and don’t allow people to use the product descriptions and images stolen from my website.
I had to create product pages on my Shopify store and use the same product images and descriptions I used for my Amazon products.
Then I reported the infringement to Amazon using this link – https://www.amazon.com/report/infringement
I filled in all the required information, entered the link to the product page on my Shopify website, and explained that I don’t allow Amazon Hijackers to use my product images and descriptions without my authorization.
This was the reply from Amazon:
Thank you for submitting your notice of infringement. We cannot take action on your request for the ASINs listed below.
According to our information, the reported content was uploaded to the ASIN(s) by you. When you submit detail page content, you grant Amazon a license to use the images and information you submit.
You also permit us to sublicense these rights to our affiliates and associates.
Other sellers may list their items on the same detail page, and thereby use your content, if their listed item exactly matches the item on the detail page.
Amazon allows hijackers to copy designs, product images, and product descriptions.
I had to find another way to stop the hijackers.
Asked Fiverr To Help
I didn’t give up. I kept searching on Google and Facebook groups for a solution.
And found that some people are offering a service to remove hijackers from your Amazon products.
I found many of these services on Fiverr and Google Search.
The service is expensive. They offer to remove ONE Amazon hijacker for between $50 and $200.
I had around 20 Amazon hijackers at the time.
Did I need to spend at least $1,000 on this?
I calculated the cost of doing this and the profits I could expect to earn back after all the Amazon listing hijackers were removed.
I figured it might be worth the money.
So, I got a guy on Fiverr to do it for me. I let him remove five hijackers from one of my products.
This was a test. I wasn’t sure whether it would work. I didn’t want to spend $1,000 to do the work all at once, so I asked him to begin with five Amazon listing hijackers.
A few days passed.
I didn’t know what this guy did, but it worked.
Some Amazon hijackers stopped selling my products.
I increased the prices of my products because I lost money when I lowered my prices to win the buy box battle with the hijackers.
I was back to making good profits from my products again.
Do you know the Hydra? The mythical snake with many heads?
For every head that’s cut off, the Hydra regrows two new heads.
It’s the same with Amazon hijackers…
When they are removed, they come back later…with even more seller accounts.
Initially, I had around five Amazon hijackers for a certain product who lowered the price to around $8 for one coffee mug.
Now, there were 15 Amazon hijackers! And they lowered the price to $5!
I couldn’t fight them anymore at this price. The FBA price (packing and shipping from Amazon) alone is $5. I would only incur losses at that price.
And guess what?
I had sold this coffee mug at $19.95 for many years.
The Amazon listing hijackers sold the mug for $5.
Amazon disabled my listing! Here’s what they said:
“We have deactivated the listings noted in this email due to detected pricing errors or in accordance with Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy.”
You can’t be serious, Amazon!
These Amazon hijackers started selling my product without my permission. They also lowered the price to the point that so I couldn’t make any profits by selling at my original price.
I own the product and design, but my listing was deactivated because the hijackers drastically lowered the price.
Moreover, I got another Policy Violation email from Amazon…
We are notifying you that attempting to damage or abuse another seller, their listings, or their ratings is a policy violation that negatively impacts your account health. If left unaddressed, this may lead to account deactivation.
I think my Fiverr guy did something to the hijackers and they reported the abuse to Amazon. He didn’t tell me what he did, but I think he might have told Amazon that the hijacker’s product was not as good as the original or something.
So, according to Amazon, copying other people’s work: OKAY
Reporting the Amazon Hijackers: NOT OKAY
And the true owner of the original product gets warned.
WTF went wrong with Amazon?
I don’t understand why they FULLY support this kind of black-hat seller.
I lost tons of money for doing this.
The Amazon hijackers were removed, but just for a few days. Worse than that, they returned with many more accounts, just like the hydra.
Okay, well, it seems like there is nothing I can do here.
I’ve tried everything I can think of, and nothing has worked.
- I told Amazon that I’m the owner of the designs. That didn’t work.
- I sent messages to the Hijackers to stop selling my products. None of them replied.
- I created a website for my products and told Amazon that I’m the owner and that the hijackers had used my product photos and descriptions without my permission. It didn’t work, and Amazon allowed the hijackers to keep stealing my work.
- I hired someone on Fiverr to remove the hijackers from my product page. It worked for a few days, but they came back uglier.
- Moreover, Amazon sent me a Violation Policy warning to stop this action.
They fully PROTECTED the hijackers!
After all these attempts, I researched more and decided to do something more complex and expensive to overcome these shitty Amazon hijackers.
I’ll write more about this saga in Part 2.