It is like this is your baby, your money at risk, and you developed the marketing, did the financial work. Why should this bad guy get the benefit of your hard work and make you share? They could at least launch a competing product and fight fair but some RA/OA gurus are teaching black hat methods for a fast buck… Yeah I dislike those guys a lot
How about launch products day one with proper protection? That gives us some legs to stand on should we need to fight off the piggy backers. If not then there is little you can do to stop them and quite frankly I am tired of hearing the crying form people who would crater at the first bully to hit them in the playground. Like most bullies if you fight back they move on to prey on weaker foes. I would rather hear the roar of young Amazon lions as they hunt down and kill the piggy prey one at a time.
Here are the topics I want to cover in this post. We are going to cover them at a high level here but I have put information at the bottom of this post to help you further. Plus you can contact me if you need more guidance.
Why does this happen?
How can I protect my products?
How can I get someone off my PL product on Amazon?
If all else fails what next?
These are some of the questions I hope to answer from my experience and the experience of a few big time sellers I am privileged to work with, as well as some of the black hat money grab information marketers and people who cannot think for themselves are promoting online to steal ideas, and listings from the rest of us hard working PLers. This information is based on US Amazon and Laws and may differ outside the US, but the basic ideas on branding the product should be solid worldwide.
So let’s get started.
Several reasons, of which I provided links to documentation for brand registration, trademarking, and counterfeit policies, but the most common is the proper product branding, packaging, and incorrect photos make it super simple to knock off most PL products. (See photo above) If your Amazon photos are of a non branded product you have no real recourse as you will have a hard time protecting your listing. These blue bottles are not a brand and your company or product name in the title of the listing are not a brand.
You need a LOGO and Product name to be on the actual product.
If I see this I will have you fix this issue as fast as possible. Even if you get it photo shopped on the photo now and correct the packaging later.
Then you need to ensure you get the logo on the product, sticker, paint, embossing, etc does not matter it needs to be there and just like the photo. When someone buys your goods it has to say it is yours.
I have never launched 1 single product without retail packaging, and suggest to everyone they should not either. And it should be in your photos also. Another piece to make it harder to knock off your goods, especially if you print the box correctly: (ask me about that elsewhere)
It does 2 things. protects me from piggy backers, and gives the customer a better experience. A win win for 10 cents more and I can even ask more for my product, thus perceived value is higher.
Next register your brand with Amazon. It really is not that hard to do, takes a little work and a little patience but helps in the long run. It cannot stop the nefarious from trying to list on your product but helps in defending it. I have links on how to do so at the bottom of the post.
Trademarks are what I consider the final piece in the puzzle. If your creating a real brand then you need to trademark the logo and brand and use the trademark on all your goods. Thus protecting them. It is not hard nor is it expensive to do a trademark yourself. But to be safe there are many firms that specialize in ensuring yours is accepted by the USPTO and I would hire them. A link to one such firm and information on the trademark is provided below as well.
This is where the rubber meets the road and what we covered so far.
1.) Ensure you have a brand/logo on the actual product
2.) Create retail packaging with the Brand/Logo on it
3.) Take photos of the products and packaging for use on Amazon (no logo less product photo shots)
4.) Register your brand with Amazon
5.) Trademark the brand
Now lets turn to what to do after you were unfortunate enough to get a piggy backer who is illegally there.
Well if you launched a product incorrectly and got stuck with some piggy backers there are steps you can and should take right away.
Change your photographs with pictures as described above. Put the logo (even if it is a sticker right now) on the product, make some retail packaging, and get it up on the listing NOW. You may have to create a removal order from FBA for existing stock to be logod but you can send in some new stock that is already protected and it is something that may just need to be done.
Purchase the piggy backers product with a separate buyer account. Amazon requires this step but do not worry it is worth while. Insure it is not origional. (like someone purchased it from a launch or coupon code) as that is legal and you cannot stop it but it is easily managed.
Then take photos of the fake product showing why it is not the legitimate product, and report it to Amazon.
That should fix it….but if it does not here is the next step. You and your friends Buy all the inventory that piggy backer has….
File returns on all of the purchased items.
File and A to Z claims on every item purchased
Leave negative feedback across the board.
That should get them off it permanently.
Before you do that though make sure your photos are redone and the product has the logo on it so you can keep anyone else off.
If all else fails what next?
Well then you got a really good product and someone is knocking you off it is time to fight fire with fire. You have a trademark, or patent, you have a brand registered with Amazon, and your logo is clearly visible on your product, photos, and it is in retail packaging.
If you have done all of the above it is time to hire a law firm, get a judge to issue a C&D and have it served to the seller and to Amazon. It may cost you a bit of money to do it but how much are you losing to the scum bag taking advantage of your hard work?
That should kill it fast.
If you do not know how to protect your brand before you launch a product I would suggest taking the time to learn more about Amazons brand registry here:
And how to fight off counterfeit products here:
How to apply for a trademark:
Cease and desist letter examples:
For information about our upcoming trip to China to show people how to source like the big boys source or….
If you have more questions about how to protect your brand you can find me at the GDW Amazon FBA group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/447657612067969/
Alan Basinger is CEO and Founder of GDW Inc a decade old 3PL and eCommerce retailer.