Is being An Amazon Seller and Service Provider A Conflict of interest?

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Anthony Lee joins us to talk about Amazon Sellers who are also Service Providers and a conflict of interest. And it is not just Sellers that bring up the idea of a conflict of interest.

It’s not a Conflict of interest…

  • It’s not a conflict of interest because if you are a solid, reputable service provider then you will have NDAs and privacy policies in place to restrict the  sharing and utilisation of customer information and data for your own benefit
  • Think just like a stock broker example or financial adviser who manages your trades/investments
  • He knows where you are investing and if he used that information for his own gain then it’s deemed unethical
  • But it does happen – as a recent popular keyword tracking service got bought by a Chinese company that was a Huge Reseller – and it was very evident they used the data for their own gain
  • It will happen because there are unethical people there
  • Does this mean that you don’t have an Agency handle your PPC for fear of conflict of interest?

It’s about Trust

  • You like to be around people that you like and trust
  • Some content marketers that are fly-by-nights

MWS Authorisation does not give up control

  • A lot of people believe that when you give up access to MWS to a provider they can control your account
  • This is not true
  • They can see data and they can submit flat file feeds through the API to change your listing
  • The worst they can do is screwup your listing and see your data
  • All your data is telling them is how many sales you are making
  • This is data they can get without your account anyway

It’s not a long term Business Model to be unethical

  • Understand that people want to be on-guard
  • Agencies you would vet in the same way as any other service provider
  • How long have they been around
  • Are they reputable
  • Stealing your idea is not a part of their business model

Unintended consequences

  • There are companies that have sold companies and then the data is used in a way that was not intended
  • If you have access to data then you ‘could’ be accused
  • Danny uses service providers that have made a conscious decision not to be Amazon Sellers so that this cannot be claimed

Trust Me – I’m not a Seller

  • There are some companies out there that ‘claim’ NOT to be Sellers but…
    • One – then how can they be good at serving you if they are not Sellers and understand it
    • Two – how can they say they are not sellers, are they 100% sure there’s no sellers in their employee list
  • Also, the ‘hurdle’ to become a seller is very small, you could become a seller in a day

The Risk is Pretty Low

  • The majority of these services are just pursuing their business models
  • There are some service providers who claim to be Sellers – and they really are not, might have done some arbitrage a few years back
  • There are only TWO cases that Anthony knows of where companies have abused Sellers
  •  If there’s a public face to the business then you can engage with them and get a feel for trust

Sellers Services run by Sellers

  • When Sellers run services the tools are being developed to help their own selling business
  • So they get to the point quickly and the tools are aimed at fixing the right problems
  • These services will move with Amazon’s ToS as they will 100% need their offerings to follow terms for their own selling

The Refunds Programme

  • The refunds program led to people being suspended
  • This was difficult as Amazon don’t make it easy
  • The company in question just made a mistake and didn’t know it would get anyone in trouble

Poor Service experience

  • Anthony used to do Listing optimisation as a consultant
  • He had a client that had a ‘Matcha Tea’ listing that he was optimizing
  • Anthony hadn’t tackled this kind of listing before and didn’t know anything about Matcha Tea so he researched it and found out about chelated minerals and detoxing
  • He used his research to update and optimize the client’s listing
  • Within minutes the client was in-touch and his listing had been suspended
  • This was because it’s against the law (FDA) in the US to sell chelation products that do any treatment to toxicity
  • If you make these claims you can’t sell this product – Amazon will not let you sell this product without the proper FDA certification
  • This poor dude was told this product cannot be sold
  • This mistake cost Anthony money and wrote his appeals for him and the client got it back so a happy ending in the end

A Good Service Provider will….

  • A service provider needs to keep their skills relevant and upto date
  • They need to keep a track of Amazon rules and ToS to make their service relevant
  • If you are a successful seller, they haven’t got time to be stealing ideas of other sellers
  • Most of these services are still pretty new
  • Extra data is being pulled in some of these areas as the business might be testing a new service offering that will help you

How do you pick a Service Provider?

  • First place you go is your network – who is using what service and what is their experience (word of mouth from someone you trust)
  • Do you due-dilligence
    • Do a whois:site.com and see what they have in there, who runs it and where
    • Lookup their Manta or BBB to find out where they are located
    • This will make you feel better to know where their office
  • If you can’t find this info then maybe go on to the next service provider that’s more open
  • If you feel like they want your business and perform then you have found a good service

Test the Customer Service

  • Danny puts in a support call on a new service to test the quality and timeliness of their support
  • This is a good indicator to how the business is operating
  • Your business with Amazon needs 24hrs to turn things around so your service provider must be able to respond



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