When new sellers enter the Amazon Marketplace, it does not take long for them to realize that not everyone who participates in this advanced e-commerce platform is willing to play by the rules.
Amazon’s business model for its third-party marketplace is to make it as open as possible to encourage competition and drive sales. The downside to this model is that it has created what retail industry analysts refer to as a massive “gray market” where counterfeiters and rogue sellers take advantage of e-commerce entrepreneurs trying to make an honest buck.
Cease and Desist Notices in the Amazon Marketplace
In the early days of the marketplace, issues related to copyright infringement, counterfeit products, unauthorized sellers, and ASIN hijacking were often solved by contacting the offending party via the Seller Central messaging system; back then, most rogue operators felt that they were being watched, and this used to be enough to get them to stop their unethical practices. These days, rogue sellers routinely ignore such messages, which is why cease and desist notices have become an essential tool for Amazon sellers who wish to protect their brand, products and sales.
Situations that Merit Cease and Desist Letters
The following irregular e-commerce practices will require issuing a cease and desist legal notice:
* Counterfeit products: The sheer amount of knockoffs and fake products on Amazon has become a black eye for the company. A legal notice is the first step towards stopping counterfeiters.
* Copyright and trademark infringement: Even though Amazon’s Brand Registry program is supposed to protect registered trademarks in a semi-automated fashion, copycat situations continue to slip through the cracks.
* ASIN hijacking: Rogue sellers often resort to “black hat” practices to take over new ASINs registered by manufacturers and white label distributors. This is more likely to happen when sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon centers.
* Unauthorized sellers: Dropshippers and ASIN piggyback riders do not bother contacting sellers and inquiring about becoming third-party distributors. Quite a few unauthorized sellers are not devious; they are simply new to the world of e-commerce and are encouraged by Amazon to join the marketplace without any inventory of their own.
The Proper Way of Filing Amazon Cease and Desist Notices
To ensure that cease and desist letters are properly crafted, served and placed on file with Amazon in case stubborn third parties do not feel like complying, a certain process needs to be followed. Aggrieved sellers must keep in mind that they are taking a legal position when sending out cease and desist notices, which means that a poorly crafted letter could backfire and actually give the rogue seller legal ammunition to continue their unethical practices.
Sellers who have registered 10 or more new ASINs on the marketplace will not be able to keep up with the flow of cease and desist notices required to protect their Amazon business, and retaining a law firm for this purpose will get very expensive. The smart choice is to subscribe to an e-commerce service such as Brandlox, which identifies rogue sellers and offers a point-and-click system to generate cease and desist letters that have been crafted by law firms that specialize in e-commerce.
In addition to delivering cease and desist notices, Brandlox also notifies Amazon’s seller support department so that the company is aware of the rogue seller. If the notice is ignored, sellers can use their Brandlox subscription to conduct test purchases and gather evidence that can be presented to Amazon for the purpose of removing rogue sellers from the marketplace. To learn more about Brandlox, call 866-848-6072 and speak to an e-commerce security specialist.