Amazon Brand Registry: Expectations, Troubleshooting, and Best Practices

Aug 10, 2022 1:30 PM2:30 PM EDT

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Key Discussion Takeaways:

One of your top concerns as an Amazon eCommerce company should be safeguarding your brand from fraud. If you're not careful, a lot of things can go wrong — from third-party sellers changing the names of your products to competitors exploiting your brand name to sell their low-quality goods. 

One tool to help you protect your brand is Amazon’s Brand Registry. Over the last several years, this platform has evolved to aid brands in their security efforts. Amazon Brand Registry ensures that all new sellers are legit, removes suspicious listings, and helps you control your catalog, among many other benefits. 

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant hosts Nicole Reich and Andy Buss of Retail Bloom to share best practices, give troubleshooting tips, and answer common questions about Amazon Brand Registry. They share why Brand Registry has been a hot topic recently, how to use Brand Registry, and tips on how you can leverage it to protect your brand. They also talk about the cons of overreliance on Brand Registry and how you can avoid it.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Nicole Reich explains why Brand Registry has been a hot topic recently
  • What is Brand Registry, and how is it used?
  • Andy Buss talks about how to properly report an IP violation 
  • What is “Rogue Drop Shipping?”
  • Considerations before granting user access to your Brand Registry
  • How is Brand Registry effective for brand protection efforts?
  • Ways to have a successful Brand Registry experience
  • How do brands limit Brand Registry reliance?
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Event Partners

Blue Wheel (Formerly Retail Bloom)

Retail Bloom recently merged with Blue Wheel to form one of the leading Omni-Channel Digital Commerce Agencies, with over $1 Billion under management across its clients.

Connect with Blue Wheel (Formerly Retail Bloom)

Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Nicole Reich LinkedIn

VP of Sales & Marketing at Blue Wheel (Formerly Retail Bloom)

Nicole Reich is the Chief Growth Officer at Blue Wheel, which merged with Retail Bloom to deliver end-to-end DTC, eCommerce, and marketplace solutions. Nicole strives to guide eCommerce success by working closely with manufacturers and partners and offering a full-service array of marketing solutions.

Andy Buss

Legal & Corporate Development Specialist at Retail Bloom

Andy Buss is the Legal and Corporate Development Specialist at Retail Bloom. He is a brand protection attorney with personal experience in eCommerce and marketing. In addition to his role at Retail Bloom, Andy is the Owner of mi State of Mind, which sells Michigan-themed apparel. He received his JD from Michigan State University College of Law.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Nicole Reich LinkedIn

VP of Sales & Marketing at Blue Wheel (Formerly Retail Bloom)

Nicole Reich is the Chief Growth Officer at Blue Wheel, which merged with Retail Bloom to deliver end-to-end DTC, eCommerce, and marketplace solutions. Nicole strives to guide eCommerce success by working closely with manufacturers and partners and offering a full-service array of marketing solutions.

Andy Buss

Legal & Corporate Development Specialist at Retail Bloom

Andy Buss is the Legal and Corporate Development Specialist at Retail Bloom. He is a brand protection attorney with personal experience in eCommerce and marketing. In addition to his role at Retail Bloom, Andy is the Owner of mi State of Mind, which sells Michigan-themed apparel. He received his JD from Michigan State University College of Law.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

Schedule a free consultation call

Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Wednesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the co founder and managing director here at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands. And we do exactly that we networking knowledge here together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it might be, I spend a lot of my time just in conversations with brands 20 to 30 a week around digital strategy as a whole helping them solve different pain points. And when the same topics come up over and over again, we host an event like this. So we'd like to stay really really topical we're gonna be doing a lot of in person events now as well. So if you want to check out the website, you can do we just mentioned the happy hour tomorrow, we also launched a podcast called Digital Deep Dive. So a lot of these topics you can listen on your own, you can just go through the library if you just go to our website and go into the the events section there you can grab the digital deep dive and just grab whichever topic is of interest to you. One of these things has come up over and over again as people have a big focus on Amazon right now. Amazon brand registry and we just got some great friends partner support is the network for a while now over at Retail Bloom. As Nicole was pointing out, you know she's mad I think a lot of people on the line today just from the standpoint of we brought her her in a tonne. And Andy as well from the team to kind of tackle not not just this area and Amazon but also a media account management, one p three P but on this one, we're going to try and stick to brand registered as a whole. So Nicole, I'll kick it over to you first, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Retail Bloom that'd be awesome. Then we can kick it to Andy for a quick intro and we can jump into it sounds good.

Nicole Reich 1:59

Awesome. Hi, everyone. I'm Nicole Reich, as Aaron mentioned, one of the co founders at Retail Bloom and I leave lead all of our marketing and sales efforts. I've been with the company since the beginning and super excited to dig into our brand registry topic today. As Aaron mentioned, this was inspired by some of the questions and challenges we've been seeing lately from Aaron, the community, the brands we're speaking to daily. And Andy and I have previously done some topics around brand protection, like policy visibility enforcement, but I'm hoping today's call will answer some more of the challenges on the day to day tactical pieces that brands are facing challenges all related to brand registry, and then how it's impacting their overall presence on Amazon. So with that, I'll hand it over to Andy, who leads our brand protection product.

Andy Buss 2:47

Thank you. Thank you, Aaron, always great to be with you guys. So ya know, I've been at Retail Bloom just over three years now leading up our brand protection efforts. So if you come to us looking for brand protection help or you are with us getting brand protection help, then you're probably talking with me. So I'm happy to be here. And like Nicole and both Aaron and Nicole have mentioned it's we get lots of questions, comments about brand registry. So I think this is definitely a good time to dive into this a little bit. Yeah, awesome. So as

Aaron Conant 3:15

we go through these slides, everybody, don't hesitate to drop questions in the chat as we go and we'll try to get as many answered as possible.

Nicole Reich 3:25

So really quick on

Retail Bloom, our overall purpose is to guide eCommerce success with our brand partners the high level we have three unique service options. The two on the left represent our marketplace services and then our brand protection services. On the right. We are a full service provider as it relates to catalogue advertising, customer service reporting, and then inventory planning and that inventory planning pieces either us not touching the inventory, but helping with FBA replenishment, one piece forecasting, demand planning, but then on the flip side of it, we our preferred three P partner for some of our traditional b2b brands. And that is what we consider a wholesale model, our system or the how behind why we are able and how we are able to do this is through through our marketplace partnerships and experience, which is then matched with scalability through technology partners were approved agency partner on Amazon and Walmart and work with their teams and teams to stay up to date on new betas training and trends. And then on the right, we also leverage a full list of top software providers in this space to help us scale and I would say that that's happening a little bit more as a value to our brands today more so than ever so instead of the brands having to go to each one of these individual SaaS partners, they come to us we're a one stop for them for all e comm. So as we mentioned, this is a this is a hot topic and I want to just define like why I think it's been a hot topic lately and why the perception around brand registry is changing a little bit. So the number one thing What we're seeing right now is that there's just confusion around the scope and the use of brand registry. What is it? Why should I use it? Why has it changed over the last couple of years? I think it used to be better, I think it's better. Now, it's not as great all of that, right. The second thing is that there's a lot of the success around brand registry is due to the varying levels of experience or responses from that team. So brand registry is very ticket, person to person, yes, it's a portal, but it's not automated at all, you are working directly with the brand registry team. And lately, there's been some headaches around their responsiveness and what they are approving and denying when brands submitted requests. And then lastly, it's just the frustration caused by the vague instructions. So sometimes you submit a case, it works perfectly stellar comes down, content gets created. On the flip side of that, sometimes you submit a case very simple, let's update this title. And it takes 20 different cases to get that accomplished. So I think that's like a quick summary of why we want to talk talk about this today. Because when you're not in brand registry all the time, on the brand side, you think it's going to be 100% effective all the time. And that rarely is the case, as we know, with Amazon. So we want to give you some different tools and reiterate kind of what the the platform is used for. And then how you can optimise it a little bit better when you're going through it. So for our agenda today, we've got a couple of questions that we want to answer for you. What is brand registry? How is it used? How can it affect your overall brand protection efforts? And then how do you limit your reliance on it? And I think that's a big, big one that Andy will come in is that brand registry is not the end all be all again, it used it was more effective. In some ways in the past. It's more effective some ways today. But understanding the approach and what the uses of brand registry will help you understand how can I leverage brand registry? But how do I have to leverage other tools on the brand protection piece as a whole? And then if we have enough time, we'll get through questions at the end. But as always, like Aaron said, Put as many as possible in the chat. I love doing like the

rapid fire questions too. Cool. So

what is brand registry first, so brand registry is part of the brand services tool set on Amazon. So there's a link right here, you can click on it, it'll outline these four different types of tools that they're providing to trademark brands, the first one brand registry, and then these other three, three things we won't get into today. But I wanted to just make sure you know, once you go to this website there, they're so transparency project zero, and then they've developed a complete completely new counterfeit legal efforts service. So that is the first part. And then the second part is for brand registry specifically, what does it provide you access to, there's certain marketing and advertising, widgets or functions, services that you're able to take advantage of. It is supposed to give you some type of catalog authority, you then and then you can also submit tickets for IP infringement and patent violation. So this is these are the three things that we're gonna get into today related to brand registry, the rest of these topics we won't focus a whole ton on

today talks a little bit about how the platform or the brand registry product has evolved over over the last several years. So going back to 220 15 2016 2017, there wasn't even a brand registry portal at all. The sellers would open up tickets, they would say, Hey, I'm approved from this brand, this vendor, you would submit a letter and then it was all within Seller Central to some extent, then Amazon released this portal. And that portal has changed over the last couple of years. Before we get into the difficulties of brand registry, I did want to just point out that in 2021, Amazon made a tonne of progress through brand registry and helping with some of the macro level things that are happening on the platform. So for example, they've denied two and a half million Seller Central Access attempts. Going back two years ago, it was kind of this, anyone can sell on Amazon, right? The brand registry team has done a really good job of ensuring that any new seller on the platform is legit. They have a business entity, they have legitimate products, right? So that's a big step in the right direction. The second one is that you as brands, as vendors as manufacturers with trademarks, you've adapted the platform. So there have been 700,000 new trademark brand registered, approved brands on the platform, using it for all the things that we're going to be talking about. The other thing is is that they run their own list Seeing takedowns in the background without even any of those 700,000 users plus doing it on their own. So Amazon is constantly scanning the platform looking at suspicious listings and removing those. Some, most of the time, it's really good. But sometimes things sneak in there that you kind of wonder why your product went down. Right? But that's on purpose. They want to be looking at suspicious products. Is this counterfeit? Can we tell that that's not sourced correctly? And then they'll take it down on your behalf across the platform? And then lastly, why would they be suspicious, right, because it ends up leading to potentially counterfeit product. So they removed 3 million products over the last 12 months, and also dug into a tonne of how they can track down the product through the supply chain. So I want to start with some of the good and now we'll get into some of the challenges. I overall, it's evolving, I think that they're doing a good job. But again, some things have gotten easier, some things have gotten harder. So how is it used? One, in order to be accepted into brand registry, you have to have a trademark, and then that trademark has to be on your products. I'm not going to get into how you submit and get approved for that, because I'm assuming most of the people on the call today know how to do that. But I will show you kind of what it looks like once those registered brands are approved. So you would have a brand registry login. This is what the homepage looks like. Let's say that you are like a parent company and you've got 10 Different registered brands, they would all show up here. And then a list of those brands would be there. So when you see the brand here within the brand registry portal, you know that the first step is complete. The second step, which is one of the biggest benefits is that catalog authority is making sure that this registered brand is then link to your vendor and seller central account. And that's where we typically see the biggest gap. So if we work with a brand, and they say, Hey, I'm pushing in product feeds, images, titles, and Amazon's telling me, I can't update the content because it's not my brand. There is a problem between linking your brand registry account and your vendor or seller account. And sometimes brands get unlinked. And when that happens, you have to go back through brand registry to tell the team that your seller or vendor account is the right brand to have content authority. A good check on how to do that within Seller Central. If you have access to a plus pages, sponsored brands, Amazon stores sponsored display, I believe, most of the time, that means that your brand registry account is linked appropriately to your seller account on the vendor central side, because vendor central always allowed us to have an Amazon store. Sometimes it's not as clear, they're getting better about it. But just because you see your brand name under stores doesn't always mean that Amazon's catalog team recognizes you as the authorized brand. So if that happens, again, you want to go back through your brand registry account, extend access to your primary email address, either to vendor or seller, and then open up tickets to chase that if you're still getting those responses from the support team. So just wanted to point that out.

Aaron Conant 13:18

Yeah, just a question that comes in What brands do they have brand registry but don't see the store or aren't getting content authority? And then the flip side is the other question that comes as two brands seamlessly push content or catalog changes through brand registry.

Nicole Reich 13:32

Okay, so first one first, if you don't see your store, or if Amazon's telling you you don't have you're not the authorized brand, go into brand registry and extend admin access or agent access, depending on who you're giving it to, to the primary email address of vendor or Seller Central. It's very, very important that you're using the primary email address for those accounts. So let's say that you have your Seller Central account, you have an admin primary email address, and then 10 other email addresses. You want to make sure it's matched to that primary email address or won't work effectively. The second question, can you push feed files? Or can you push mass updates through brand registry? The answer to that is no. I will get to that in a in a slide in a second. But no feed files for an automated system has to go through seller and vendor and then brand registry is used for escalation.

Awesome. Okay, so

let's talk about the catalog control first, right? Because for a lot of the brands that don't have IP or counterfeit problems, the number one reason that they want to use brand registry is to control the catalog. And the first point I would like to make on this is that just because you are the registered brand doesn't mean that you are the only content that they consider. Yes, Amazon will you know take 90% preference I'm making that up just Um, accent Right? Like, yes, you will be the the number one influencer of the catalog. But that doesn't mean that other sellers can't contribute to the content. So this is our first little check of, if you've got 20, sellers, 30 sellers on Amazon, just because you're brand registry registered does not mean those other 1920 sellers can't push a feed file and Trump.

Aaron Conant 15:22

Well, that answers a lot of questions, because that comes up all the time. That was one of the main reasons people win with brand registry was this idea. And that way, if I own the brand, and I do brand registry, nobody else can update my content. And then you get all the questions all the time. Well, how's my content being updated? on the vendor side? I mean, Amazon randomly does, you know, some content updates. But it doesn't stop other third parties.

Nicole Reich 15:51

No. Okay. Interesting. I think no,

there is. Andy, do you have a screenshot of what the terms of service, there's the language in here, I can't remember if we put it in here or not? Probably not. But there is a place within Amazon that I can screenshot that says, Yes, you are brand registered, however, we are still going to consider all their contributions. And that's where the challenge is. Yep. So again, it's mostly effective if everything is set up correctly. But what is the process if you're seeing those types of issues, I've put kind of like a four step bullet process, where I would start is one, ensuring brand registry is linked to seller or vendor central correctly, then you start with your flat files. So you're submitting it through the upload process, and either platform of here's my title, skew asin, we all know those huge Excel feed files, right. And then if what is pushing the back end is not coming up in the front end, it is up to you to open up support tickets with seller or vendor support. Then once you do that, if those come back, and it's not effective, then you escalate through the brand registry team. And there's a bit of like an art that our team has developed in the way that we communicate with each of these teams. So Andy will talk about the best way to submit those tickets. But what we seem to be the most effective is doing all of these things in order, if you just rely on brand registry without doing these two things, first, to show them that you've tried to follow the process, you're unlikely to get those content updates to go through. And then where do

Aaron Conant 17:38

good is normally within is everybody tries to figure out what the you know, the org structure is within, you know, the digital organization, I guess I'll say, what does this normally fall

Nicole Reich 17:54


I guess it you know,

Aaron Conant 17:59

commerce admin, is it? Yeah, I don't know. What do you see the most is doing

Nicole Reich 18:05

the brand side? Yeah, we typically these are all handled by our analysts. For those that are in the day to day catalog management, this force, first percent portion of ensuring brand registry is linked correctly, that typically is set up by the person who owns the account or like the admin or the primary. And then once you get to these steps, that's all done with the people who manage the catalog for you.

Andy Buss 18:35

But I think I think what Aaron's getting at is even within the brand itself, right? Who's owning the brand registry? Like sending in files and what was usually land down like eCmmerce manager sales that we're getting at? Yeah, exactly. as well. It's kind of like laughing I it's bounced around among our clients. I mean, I could probably give you like seven or eight different titles of who we work with that has access to their brand registry. Right. So it's because there's a brand protection element to it. Right? There's a content element to it. Right? There's a legal element to it. So yeah, it's, it's there's no one place. I'll say that it's it's an eCommerce. But beyond that.

Aaron Conant 19:15

It's just something we're all going through right now is we're trying to figure out what is our digital organization look like? And what are all the different responsibilities as you divide them up? Right, and

Nicole Reich 19:28

yeah. So that's the

catalog piece. And then just on the right, I'll give you a quick snapshot of what this looks like. So once you get to this fourth bullet of submitting tickets with the brand registry team, it would be under the brand registry support, you're going to come down to request a product detail change, and then you would type in the Asin and push continue. So this is the piece that answers the question of, can you make brand registry updates in bulk? No, it is Very one at a time to get out of time. If you want to take the feed file approach, you have to do that through seller vendor. Okay? Sometimes you can open up one case and then upload an Excel spreadsheet, if you get a really good connection with an Amazon brand registry rep, and then they'll get you on the phone. And then you can go back and forth through email and make more changes through bulk. But the beginning of it does start with a very manual process one Eastern at a time.

Okay, okay, so

Do any of you want to take this one on the reporting a violation for IP? And then potentially

counterfeit? Yeah,

Andy Buss 20:45

so I mean, in a nutshell, I guess, when you're reporting a, an IP violation, right, they basically will cover the option system at a trademark right violation, a copyright violation or a patent violation, or it says basically other right. And so those, that's kind of the scope of what you're able to submit a case for, when it comes to IP rights, IP infringement and brand registry, I'll get to later in the presentation here, kind of how to do that what the limitations on that are. But when you're submitting a violation, right, those are, that's kind of the scope, and just be mindful of which one it is. And if it doesn't seem like it falls under any of that, and you and that's a point, we're gonna get to later as well. And you need to kind of be creative, what you're submitting, you know, use that other option and kind of explain it. But, you know, don't kind of fall outside of if it's not one of those three IP infringement claims that you're making, then it's not worth putting into this form.

Nicole Reich 21:38

Right. And another thing that if we're thinking, old brand registry versus new brand registry and how the platform has evolved, you used to be able to search by your brand. And the portal will give you all of your products, and then all of the sellers, with their pricing and their products that are in the products that they're selling for you. And there used to be a bit of a checkbox where you could say, not the seller, not the seller, take them down for whatever reason. And though that wasn't the intent of the platform, it was fairly effective. And they've removed that. So now you have to be very specific about is it an order that you're looking to trace down a track down that you think is counterfeit isn't an Asin? Is it a certain product, and then again, it's very manual one at a time, and then it's up to you to submit the violation, and then track down the case management. I will say that the brand registry team i Their SLA is like within 24 or 48 hours or something like that. And they're pretty responsive. But again, it's up to you, if they deny it and say, Hey, this, this isn't counterfeit, or this isn't an IP infringement. It's up to you to reopen up that case again and say, Yes, it is because of these reasons. Where you get into trouble is if you're using this tool to take down an author an unauthorized seller that you know, has your legitimate product, this is not the place for that this is not the place to take down sellers that have that you know, are carrying your brand with legitimate product.

Aaron Conant 23:12

Right, and you feel pretty confident that this isn't just going into, you know, some AI stream where it's automated response. So these are actually people taking a look at it.

Nicole Reich 23:23

That's a good question. I am

not sure which ones are automated and which ones actually get to a human support person. I could ask our support team and see, I would guess that those cases that are submitted that are a little haphazard when they're submitted without a tonne of effort and they can tell that the brand just isn't following the rules, those are probably automatically denied. Whereas those that are have the substantial backing of wow, I just ordered a product and it's completely counterfeit. Those are probably escalated that I'm not too sure about so and I love

Aaron Conant 24:04

the other point that you're making around unauthorized like seller takedown, this is not that's not what this is for. Right. And if you're going to it, especially one warning out there is if it's not counterfeit product, don't call it counterfeit product. It because there's been a lot of companies that have gotten into a lot of issues where they do that and Amazon shuts down their their storefront. And then, you know, the seller comes back it, you know, basically suing the company, right for lost profits. So, yeah, I think it's great that you brought that up. Awesome. One other

Nicole Reich 24:45

thing that we wanted to touch on because this happens a lot and there happened to be an article that came out I think last week is this issue around sellers creating listings on Amazon and then when a call Summer orders, then they go to a different site, buy it from that site and then ship it to the Amazon customer. So there isn't like a industry wide term or maybe if there is put in the chat, because I'm probably not using it correctly. The article refers that it's right here to drop ship. But I put the road on there because as vendors or as brands, you have authorized dropship retailers, right or dropship third party sellers that when an order is placed, you ship it to them, we see that a whole tonne with our furniture brands, it doesn't make sense for us to warehouse the products when it's an LTL shipment, right well dropship it from the brand that is allowed. What is not allowed is this approach where the brand and the example of Dum Dums had a seller have all the sellers on Amazon. And when the orders were placed, the seller was going to Sam's Club purchasing it at their Sam's Club rate with a discount, and then shipping it to the end consumer. And this was causing. And as you'll read in here, again, we'll send out the deck, you can click on it or you can just google this, it's causing a ton of issues because Dum Dums, like the rest of the brands on this call, they have their own, you know, forecast goals, they have their own KPIs on the platform. And all of a sudden, they're just seeing their buybacks to go from 100 to 90 down to 80 down to zero, right. And this process is pretty difficult for Amazon to figure it out on their own. So they do rely on the brands to open up cases to remove them. What you'll find in this article that I kind of agree kind of disagree with is that they're stating, you know, Amazon's doing nothing about this. And what I would say is that, though it's not very effective all the time, there is a process to fix this issue. And what we would first recommend is that you do a test by when you think that this is happening, and what's gonna happen is you're gonna get an order from Sam's Club without the seller name on it, right. And then you know that this seller is just posting up an offering on Amazon and they're going against Terms of Service, then you file a complaint with brand registry to say, here's a picture of the product, I know they're getting it from Sam's Club. And then if that's not effective, then you're enforcing it with EECOM policy or escalating to legal action, which I think is what they're in the middle of doing. I did just want to call out the thing that I disagree with in this article is that this process of what we call row dropshipping, if that's what I want to coin, it is against their drop shipping policy. So I've This is not a seller central, these are the rules that sellers have to follow. And I've highlighted a couple of pieces just to show you that Amazon knows that this should not be happening and they want to help you and get these retailers off. So it's not acceptable unless it is clear that the customer that you that you are the seller of record, you do have to have approval from the brand. And having anything beyond that is strictly prohibited. So when this happens, you are going to go down into brand registry and go into other marketplace policy violations. And then this is where you're going to describe your issue. The most effective way is that when you're able to mention the policy that you know that seller is violating. So you would put in your asin, you'd say hey, someone's breaking the trump the dropship rules, I purchased this product, I got it from Sam's Club, the seller of record was not this third party seller, here's a copy of it, remove the seller. And this is the first step of escalating those issues. Because this is a marketplace violation. Again, that doesn't mean it's going to be effective 100% of the time, but the more detail you can be here and the more you can reference policies, the more successful you would be in the brand registry team understanding and approving that request.

Now super interesting. I

Aaron Conant 29:04

mean, actually just happened to me like last month, my son ordered a pair of shoes off from Amazon and it dropped shipped from Dick's.

Nicole Reich 29:13

So I that's violation. Yeah, yeah.

Aaron Conant 29:17

So I we returned it, and I read a nice note. Oh, I don't know if it

Nicole Reich 29:21

was really legit. What No, no, no,

Aaron Conant 29:25

they were. No, they were like, I reminded my son like, don't click Buy now. Cool. I mean, that was exactly it. They came in and they were shipped from Dick's Sporting Goods. And I don't think people realize how often that's done. And not only is it when those things are on sale, but any of these large retailers that have point systems like Dick's Sporting Goods, right? They will, you know, they can accumulate those on the back end. And not only is it on sale when they can do the price arbitrage but they can also accumulate points. So that's not as uncommon as we think that's really

Andy Buss 29:59

good. Um, Call out there is this issue is related directly to whether or not you know what your policies are as a brand, right with pricing and sales and, you know, the authenticity of your products and how you kind of formalize that in your policies. So if you're the only way that the only way that sellers are able to take advantage of this kind of loophole right at the moment, is if there's that price variation taking place across your retail partners. So that's always something to look at is how you're controlling those those pricing

Nicole Reich 30:26

differences. Absolutely.

Before I get to the next spot, I just realized I was not looking at the question. So I want to answer some of these. So Ken, a question came in can differences between a registered agent agent versus brand? Owner? What is the type of control each has? Good question. So that actually gets to this slide a little bit? I will answer that eventually, or at least I'll give you a link to in the post meeting and give you a link to what those are. One of the other things that we're seeing a lot right now is that, especially with agencies, being one of them, we've gotten through this, but what we've found is that you have to be very careful about who you're extending brand registry to and who has access to your primary email address for your seller vendor account, who has agent access and who has brand owner access. So the first thing I would say is that if you are working with a company or someone outside of your org, with a different IP address, or whatever it might be, make sure that everyone logging into your account is using a VPN. That is the number one thing that we've implemented within our company over the last 12 months, because what happens is that those individual contributors or the agency that you're hiring, they're logging into your account with a certain email address, that also is the same email address that they use for other seller vendor accounts with the other brands that they're working with. And what is happening is that Amazon is seeing one email address tied to multiple accounts. And they're not necessarily shutting down down the seller accounts or vendor accounts, but they're limiting the brand's ability to make changes. For example, we've seen funds not get released through Seller Central or we've seen advertising get suppressed or not be able to send into FBA. So if you're having troubles with your account health within Seller Central, I would look at who has access to brand registry with what email addresses who has access to the primary and then if they're outside of your org, are they using different VPN to log into your account? Another thing I would say is that do not give anyone except for the primary user access to that primary email address. No one else should have access to that. That is why now I'm answering some of the questions. That's why Amazon through brand registry offers you that registered agent access. So you within the org as the brand should have brand owner access, one person should have admin rights, and then everyone else whether it be an agency, a software XYZ company, they should all have agent

access. Awesome. Cool.

Aaron Conant 33:06

And then do we need to have the reference? Do we need to reference the vendor central case ID and the brand registry case for it to be effective? Yes.

Nicole Reich 33:16

So when we go back to this catalog, I'm skipping around a little bit. But when you get to support tickets with brand registry team, make sure that in your ticket when you are about to submit it, you're referencing the vendor Central or the seller central ticket that wasn't effective. So it's showing Amazon brand registry team. Hey, on through Seller Central Support, I submitted this ticket. I've tried to escalate it, it's not working now I'm coming to you. Yes, the more information you can provide to them, to show them previous work that the teams have done is beneficial.


Aaron Conant 33:51

do all three P sellers need brand authorization to sell.

Nicole Reich 33:55

I wish I think a lot of our brands would wish that NO. brand gating


very rare, specific to certain categories like Amazon

luxury beauty, they get brand gated meaning you have to be authorized to sell the products otherwise you can't list their product on Amazon. A lot of brands that have a ton of counterfeit issues will get brand gated, but overall, they're getting better about ensuring that the seller is authorized, but a lot of the times again, that's the importance of controlling distribution and policies is that if anyone has your product and it's legit, they can post it up on Amazon and sell it.

Okay, I believe we've gone through all of the questions. So at this point, Andy, I'll hand it over to you to talk about the effectiveness which we've touched on a little bit, but hopefully this is a little bit clearer. Yeah,

Andy Buss 34:55

I mean, as we enter kind of the second phase of the presentation, you're two things to keep in mind right one What is? Amazon is Amazon is huge, right? It's a huge part part of selling online. But that's not everything online. Right? I'm sure your brand is selling probably elsewhere online as well. So where does this all fit right within your general brand protection scheme? What can you use it for? Was it successful in enforcing right? And what's the not so great enforcing? So this first slide, kind of to kind of give us like a summary to start from? What Nicole was kind of hinting at, and we want to kind of point out generally is, what's useful? What's what's really successful? In brand registry submissions, is those counterfeit claims, right? If you're submitting legitimate counterfeit claims to brand registry, this is they're infringing on my patent, right, this is a fake product, this is not my product, that's a high success rate, they do not want counterfeit products on the on the marketplace, they're very responsive to that. And if you support it with evidence, you're gonna see a high success rate of getting counterfeit products removed. Similarly, but not quite as intensive response, I guess, is copyright claims. So if it is, and it's rare to have a very great like legitimate copyright claim, because the problem is, if you've authorized anyone to use your images, your content on Amazon or its affiliates, right, which is extensive, so Amazon International, right. If you've authorized anyone to use that image or that piece of content, then you're not able to submit a copyright claim, because now that's kind of out there for the world to use on that listing on Amazon. So it's very difficult sometimes for brands to make that a you know, authentic copyright claim. But if you do, if you have it so that you've never authorized anyone to use those images, copyright claims are pretty successful through brand registry. That's something they care about, they respond to that pretty, pretty quickly, and you'll see a pretty good success rate with copyright claims. Trademark claims. Now this is the worst rescue a little more fuzzy. What we mean here with clear cut trademark violations is someone is saying, hey, this, this is a bag of m&ms, right? And it's a bag of peanuts. If it's not your product, and they're using your trademark and describing it or titling it or talking about it, that's a clear cut trademark violation, right? They're using your trademark, it's not your product, it's not even close to your product. You're gonna see good success, right and getting that taken down because they don't want it's another it's another way of basically selling fake product, right? That's not the same product. Now, when it's hardly ever successful is when we're talking about unauthorized sellers and Nicole was kind of hinting at that a minute ago. What we mean by unauthorized sellers is a brand terminology. So when we're saying unauthorized, the brand is looking out there and saying, Hey, we don't know who these 45 sellers are, or we didn't approve these guys to sell on Amazon. Amazon doesn't care, right? They're not your brand selling police, right, they're not going to be out there grabbing retailers or grabbing resellers that you don't know, and taking them down just because they don't have your permission to sell. And that's where obviously, we get a lot of questions we get a lot of service and support is this area where we're trying to control sellers. Okay,

Nicole Reich 38:05

Andy, quick question on copyright claims. What about copyright claims for someone using your images, which were photoshopped and then use for their knockoff product?

Andy Buss 38:17

Yes, no, that's, I mean, that's definitely more of a legitimate copyright claim. If they're altering. If they're taking your own image, altering it and reposting it. That's you didn't give him permission to do that. Right. You didn't give them permission to alter your copyright your copyrighted photos. So that would be definitely something worth submitting.

Nicole Reich 38:33

I do think if Julian, if that is getting it that's happening, and you're getting those denied. I would be more specific in the way that you're submitting that case, right. So if you've submitted something, and you're just saying, Hey, this is photoshopped, it's a knockoff remove, that probably isn't as effective as potentially showing them your b2c website with the image that you that Amazon can see. This image was created by this website, it is on their own b2c, it's on Walmart, it's on target, it's on all of these websites. And then we have this one seller selling their own knockoff brand, that they can then tell us Photoshop. So again, it's a little bit more of your due diligence and submitting the ticket if they haven't been successful in the past.

Andy Buss 39:17

You'll also want to ideally file if you don't have it already, the actual copyright for that image, there's an expedited process you can do with the US Copyright Office and it's a couple of days or so that you can kind of turn that around. And that's a lot more evidence to show that actual filing do to protect your copyright when you submit that claim.

Nicole Reich 39:38

How do we ensure we do not provide copyright permissions on our listings? I thought this was required to even list

I mean, sure enough, right. So

Andy Buss 39:48

it's just that's just part of Amazon terms when you sign on to be a seller with Amazon and you post or you authorize a seller to post content or images for your products for your brand. This thing Amazon's terms of selling, it just you're agreeing to, you're agreeing to allow other sellers Now to attach to that copyright, because that's your authentic product. Those images are correct, right? That's the actual product. And it's just how, if you don't do it, you're not allowed to sell, you know, they can't agree to those terms not allowed to sell on Amazon.

Nicole Reich 40:17

Yeah, another use case for that is, let's say that your vendor Central, you're on the vendor central platform, you have images that you upload for a certain product, they take your image, and then they host it on their site. So if you right click on an image, you'll see that it's an Amazon hosted URL. And I think that kind of backs up the piece that if you provide those assets to Amazon, they're to some extent theirs. And as long as the products are legit, and not counterfeit, other sellers are able to link to that asin to then sell the product.

Aaron Conant 40:52

There really one that I do want to do want to dress here is talking about, well, then what cases does copyright come into play? Yeah, and I think you were saying if they're taking your images and using it to sell a product that's not there, that's not actually that product. Yeah. So

Andy Buss 41:08

think of a scenario where you don't have 10 of your product. So you only have a certain number of your products on Amazon, someone goes on your website, grabs five images for products that you don't sell on Amazon, and they list those products now on Amazon without your permission. That's copyright infringement. They're taking photos that you did not grant Amazon, or one of, you know, a seller to use on Amazon, and they're posting without your permission, you're using your images in that way, that would be

Nicole Reich 41:33

great. And the other thing

Aaron Conant 41:37

just I wanted to throw out there just to some brands in case they're thinking of it is you know, we've done a webinar in the past, you know, brand protection and removal of unauthorized resellers, which is possible to be able to remove them, but you need to have certain policies in place. The first sale doctrine says anybody that's bought your product can resell at any point in time. The Lanham Act says that's only true if it's the exact same product that's, you know, being represented. And so there's some different ways you can do that more than happy to share, invite you to the next webinar, we do that. Sure you on a webinar we've done in the past in regards to that. Or, you know, one of our one of our podcast episodes tackles that exactly. So we're more than happy to make those because I think some people might be thinking, hey, how do I take down these on authorized resellers? I was hoping to do it via copyright. And you said don't do patent if there's not patent and copyright may not work? Well, then what is it? And that's that's another at least our discussion.

Andy Buss 42:43

Yeah. And I'll touch on that in just a moment as well. But yeah, that would fall under trademark. And but I'll kind of I think I'll hit on that and a slider to what how do we do it right kind of what is the way then to get rid of those guys. So just, I guess, kind of drilling in a little bit more on of how to to have a successful, you know, brand registry experience, right, here are some tips that we've kind of gained over the years of using it. One, make sure your claims are legitimate, supported and worthwhile. So it's not only that, hey, like pick, you know, get the most bang for your buck. If you see a mom and pop seller out there selling one item that they have, you know, the price is above math are not getting the buy box, that probably isn't the one that you need to focus on submitting to brand registry, right pick the ones that are most disruptive, the ones that are causing you issues, disrupting your content that have more than you know, a couple of listings, pick the biggest disruptors to submit through brand registry support it with evidence and to don't submit questionable or unverified claims. So if you're just submitting something to Amazon's brand registry and hoping they're going to do the legwork to find out if that's really the case, that's not going to work, right you need to submit it with evidence, make sure you have the screenshots, the copyright, like I mentioned, right? Ideally, you have all of your ducks in a row when you're submitting those claims. Don't lean on the brand registry team to go find the evidence or to go find the trademark filing right. Have all the evidence there when you submit it thoroughly stay within their Amazon's Express enforcement scheme. Right? So that's kind of getting to what Aaron I were just talking about is don't ask them to go out to a seller simply because they're unauthorised in your view, right? Or you don't know who they are. Use your bullets wisely, right. So when you're submitting things to brand registry, don't waste time on things that aren't in the scope of brand registry, ie unauthorized sellers that you guys don't know who they are. You want to focus on the big things that matter. Right, the counterfeits the big copyright infringement, like we're just talking about, so and then finally, be creative. Because like Nicole was saying, you might get one rep that's really focused on talking to you, you'll get on the phone, you can email back and forth, and you submit another claim and it might not get a response. Right. And so you just have to kind of sometimes massage how you're submitting the ticket and you know, provide more evidence and next time you submit it, but one thing I was calling out here in that in that photo below is there's there His terms and their selling guidelines that say, right, if it's not a new product, that condition is not new if the warranty isn't attached. And so for example, if you set up the proper reseller policy saying that our authentic product includes a warranty that attaches right, and the sellers are not part of our program, therefore the warranty doesn't attach, it's just a creative way to kind of use Amazon Seller terms to your best interest and see if you can get the response that you're looking for from a certain representative. Right. So think outside the box. But don't pry, we'll try to summarise this. And so, because it is such a spectrum of response, right, we want to kind of give you some tips on on how you limit your reliance on Amazon, right kind of keep things as much in your power as you can. So and this is again, kind of what Aaron I were touching on is that proper legal foundation, right? And you want to lay that foundation, with the reseller policy, the reseller program, so that it's in your hands, who you go after how you enforce and actually being able to take down sellers. With that legal foundation, it gives you so much more power to drop the hammer on sellers when you need to. And without it, you are very reliant on hopefully like a brand registry, right, a third party Amazon, stepping in and taking care of sellers when that's not what they're really there to do that team. Also on authorized seller enforcement, so Amazon brand registry isn't going to help you create that legal foundation and they're not going to help you actually enforce on the sellers that you need to get removed. Right that we kind of said that a few different ways now. And then price monitoring and enforcement. So that is not something you've probably noticed that very clearly, Amazon is all about competition, right driving the prices down, making sure they have the lowest price on the internet for consumers. So they're not going to help you in brand registry, enforce your price policies, that's probably pretty clear to most people at this point. And then finally, the ability to communicate directly with seller. So if you're going through brand registry, you're submitting claims, that's great. But you're still going through a middleman, right to try to get a resolution. And ideally, you have the contact information, you have visibility into who these sellers are out there. And you can communicate directly with them. And again, ideally with the proper legal foundation, so you can scare them off from selling. And that highlighted photo there, we're just kind of calling out that. Amazon specifically says in the bottom part, their exclusive or selective just distribution. What they're saying is we don't enforce this right, where it is not up to us to clear up who's selling how your products getting out to the market control your contracts with retailers. So they call that out. That's what they're saying is we're not going to remove sellers just because they're not part of your distribution network.

Aaron Conant 47:40

So quick question that comes in? Is there a way if there are numerous three P sellers for an Asin? How do you determine which one is making changes to brand content? Or

Nicole Reich 47:54

is there a way to tell

there is not a way to tell through brand registry,

you can sometimes back into it based on the image or the content that they're changing. I'll give you an example. So not so much today. But definitely in the past every time Zappos which is an authorized seller, by the way, in most cases, they're, they're great, but every twice a year for a lot of the brands that would carry their products, both online and on Amazon, when they push the catalog live or their offerings, they would end up changing the primary images to the images that you would see on So I say that because you can start to look at the content and then maybe look at that approved or unapproved sellers website and start to put can start connect the dots of this content is also on another website. My guess is you push it here and you push it there, then we get on the phone with Zappos and we say, Hey, we love that you guys one stay at map and to also you know, have a great offering and a great value to the brands. But we need you to turn off your catalog contributions on Amazon. So that is again, once you get to the authorized policies that Andy has been talking about in about one slide. That is one of the other communications that we are, I guess requirement that we recommend brands, communicate to their authorized sellers, you are allowed to sell on Amazon, you're an approved seller, but you need to link to our asin to our UPC, you are not allowed to push UPC, you're not allowed to push your own content contributions. There is not a way for Amazon, sometimes they tell us the case. Sometimes the support team will end up like telling us even though they shouldn't a this seller was the one that pushed that content. But there isn't any automatic visibility into that through a vendor seller or brand registry account.

Andy Buss 49:43

And just to kind of build on that. The only way that you can really even start backing into possibly who is doing that is if you have a limited number of sellers on your listings, right so the more sellers you have on there if you don't keep them somewhat clean, you have no chance of figuring out kind of where the problem is coming from right so and That's a tuition I think I think I know what she's talking about that was probably a handful, like three to four sellers on the listing. So it's easier to tell where the changes are coming from. If you have 40 or 30, you know, 45 sellers on a listing, it's a lot harder to figure that out.

Nicole Reich 50:12

So, yeah, so

Andy Buss 50:14

just kind of three quick methods that we want to point out in how to surround your brand registry efforts, right to get the most out of your brand registry efforts and your brand protection enforcement overall. So one, you know, obviously want to have that legal foundation that Aaron I talked about a little bit ago. But to do that, you need to make sure your IP is properly recorded, right. So whether that's patents, trademarks, copyrights are increasingly important when you're trying to enforce against sellers on these marketplaces, make sure it's recorded for the items that you want, and then create that reseller program that we've hinted at where we're basically formalizing your, the authenticity of your products, right what attaches to your trademark, so that you can then go after those people who are not part of your program and say they're selling materially different products. And I thought they're important infringing on my trademark, that's how you kind of lower that or drop that legal hammer. And then, too, you want to make sure you have visibility, not just on Amazon, right, which we're talking about a lot today. But we all know there's more than Amazon out there. And you want to make sure you're seeing everything that's going on, because you may be just submitting tickets over and over over again, to fix things on brand registry. And you may be trying to tell your sellers over and over again on on Amazon to get their prices in line. But we all know there's there's elements outside of Amazon, there's websites outside of Amazon that are affecting what's going on with your listings with the pricing on Amazon. And so you want to be able to see the entire landscape of who has your products, where with what images and what pricing, and that's what visibility is absolutely crucial for and then finally, implement a manageable enforcement solution. And, and what we mean by that is, every brand is a little bit different, right on the extent of the catalog, right? How many UPC is are you controlling? How many approved retailers do you have out there? And so kind of the second and third bullet points there, right, what the resources look like internally that are needed to keep this kind of clean and stay on top of it. And the personnel that might be needed to do that are going to be different for every brand, we get that question a lot. You know, can you guys do this for us or somebody, we have to stay on top of right with our brand protection solutions. And it's a mix, right, it's gonna be different for every brand. If you have 1000s of items in your catalog and you have 450, you know, approved retail partners, you're going to need to probably have an agency like retail bloom assisting you but you're also going to need some designated people within your organization taking their time and effort to stay on top of this. So it's it's not just set it and forget it because things continue to pop up. So let's continue to pop up. And you need kind of that step process internally on who's responsible? What are the resources you dedicated to this on an ongoing basis? And who are the people whether it's a retail bloom team as an extension of your brand, or internal, you know, personnel that are in charge

Aaron Conant 52:57

of this? Awesome, and I can see where we're pretty much almost right at time, if you have one more question to get to. But before we do that, I just want to say you know, Andy, Nicole, thanks for being such great friends, partner support is the network. anybody on the call today, if you need any help around brand protection, you know, anything with a brand registry, anything on Amazon related as a whole, they come highly recommended from a ton of brands in the network 100% worth of follow up conversation with them. And, you know, if you need that connection afterwards, more than happy to make it if you want a copy of the deck, we'll be more than happy to share that. And once the recording once we've got that edited, we can we can shoot that out to people as well. So encourage you of that. And so this one is can you repeat what you mentioned about the three piece seller not having the same warranty? The brand does. And that being a reason for Amazon to remove this kind of we wrap it up here in the last couple

Andy Buss 53:50

of minutes. Yeah. So within the seller terms on Amazon, they talk about the conditions right what it means to sell a certain product on a certain condition with a new use, right. And so when they talk about new product to be able to sell it as a new item on Amazon, part of the terms are, the warranty has to attach if there's a warranty that attaches to that product from the manufacturer, it has to remain intact and be available to the consumer. And that's what makes it new. So if you're setting up those policies properly that we've referenced, you're putting into your reseller policy, the the warranty only attaches to our authorized resellers, right so only our authorized retailers are willing or able to sell the product with a warranty attached. So now anyone who is not part of your reseller program is selling the product, right. But they don't have the warranty attached. You're not vouching for it. You don't provide the warranty to random sellers. And so they shouldn't be able to list theoretically, they shouldn't be able to list that product as new on Amazon because there's no warranty attached according to your policies. So that's kind of one way of submitting, you know, being creative with their their own terms and kind of trying to not use them against them but

Nicole Reich 54:55

get a response, right.

Aaron Conant 54:58

Yeah, I mean, the Bing is fundamentally different. That's exactly right. But the consumer is assuming that they're going to get the warranty. But they're not. And therefore there's that cause for confusion which Amazon does not want. You know, that's where you get into the Lanham Act and everything else. With that, I don't have another question in here, you know, the cool kind of key takeaway in the last 30 seconds before we wrap it up.

Nicole Reich 55:22

Yeah. Last thing, if you are looking for a process of removing unauthorized sellers on the platforms that are outside of policies outside of brand registry, please let us know happy to run a scan. It's been about 90% effective for us in the last 12 months. So a little bit of a caveat, let us let us know if you're interested in that. This is what the platform looks like. And then if you are interested in seeing sellers pricing on all platforms that just marketplaces, let us know. And we can also do one of our other scans. So happy to help. And Aaron, I think that's all we have today. Thank you for having me,

Aaron Conant 55:56

ya know, so really quick, so we can follow up and you can just run this scan on different brands to kind of get a feel and then wow, I got big issues. I should tackle it or Hey, actually doing pretty good.

Nicole Reich 56:08

Correct. Yep. So in this brand, we've actually removed 1400 sellers for them over the last call it two years. Three under review right now. And another 1000 have popped up. So global brand, lots of distribution problems. But this has this, in addition to this platform has helped significantly, especially in the US, so yes, happy to do that. We can tell you all of your sellers, all of your pricing all of your websites across the net for your brand or list of brands.

Aaron Conant 56:37

Awesome. Well, thanks again, Andy. Thanks to cool for your time today. hope everybody enjoyed the webinar. If you're in New York City area, I'd love to see you tomorrow night and happy hour. Let us know. With that. We're going to wrap it up everybody take care stay safe and look forward to having you at a future event. Alrighty, see everybody.

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