How Amazon Takes Care of their Sellers and Buyers - Amazon Seller Tips with Chris McCabe - Part 1
How Amazon Takes Care of their Sellers and Buyers - Amazon Seller Tips with Chris McCabe - Part 1
Things we discussed in this session:
A. Part 1
Things we mention in this session of Seller Round Table:
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Transcription in this episode:
[00:00:01] spk_1: Welcome to the seller roundtable e commerce coaching and business strategies with and er not and amy Wiis, hey what's everybody this is Andy are not with And this is seller round table number 116 we have Chris McCabe on today Chris, thank you so much for being on. [00:00:22] spk_0: Thank you so much for having me back [00:00:24] spk_1: now. If you have not listened to the previous episodes with chris you might have to do a little homework, go back listen to those episodes and then come back or you can just start from here. But you know if you really want to go deep that's where you start chris, if people have not heard you yet, I would love to know a little bit more about you um goes deeper as little as you want in terms of you know maybe where you're born, where you grew up, kind of how you landed on where you are today. [00:00:49] spk_0: Yeah, so I am today in the boston area which is where I grew up, where I'm from uh, lived and worked it lived in Seattle worked at amazon for several years. That's how most people know me as a former seller performance quote unquote investigator, um investigating merchant accounts, occasionally suspending them, but sending warnings, deleting listings. Um lived on the West Coast for a long, long time, but I've actually been back in the Northeast for several years now. Since uh, since starting e commerce chris, which is a amazon merchant seller consultancy seller account consultancy, so helping people troubleshoot when they get in the hot water, right? Um, account suspensions listing takedowns. Those are our core services were also about to talk today about some of what we talked about it prosper, which was abuse competitors attacking different brands and how brands can defend themselves. Um those are services we didn't even offer, going back to like three years, 2018 now, we have weekly conversations with brands about stuff like that. So it hasn't stayed one thing over the years, the six or so years we've been doing it. Um it's we've been adding services here over here because sellers need more help. And amazon is giving less help. I believe they might pretend that they're giving more resources and avenues of communication, but the new ones that they give you aren't so effective. So we've grown as a company but we've also grown in terms of what we offer given the breadth of need that sellers have out there. So we're happy to help. [00:02:24] spk_1: Yeah, it's it's one of those things where I think majority of, you know, people who sell on amazon, whether it's a big brands or or a small brand, you know, it's one of those love hate things, right? I mean, you know, if you've got, you know, a prime day deal and you, and you clock 50 Gs in one day or something, you know, you're, you're stoked. But you know, then a week later, your entire catalog is hijacked and you're ready to, to, to punch a hole in the wall. And that's a story about me if nobody, you know, people haven't heard that story before. Um, but no, it's, it's really, it is a frustrating, uh, you know, place to be right, because on one hand, I feel like amazon really did enable a lot of Mom and Pops. You know, there's a lot of people who would always be like, oh, how can you sell on amazon? When I talk to people, you know, you're putting Mom and Pops out of business. And I would have to explain, well, not necessarily, it's transitioning, right? So Mom and Pop on Main Street now is transitioning to mom and pop on amazon and things like that. So it's given a lot of people a lot of opportunity in that sense. But in the other sense, it's kind of like somebody having the front key to your store, right? It's like, it's like some random guy who's like, [00:03:34] spk_2: I didn't like the [00:03:34] spk_1: sign you put up in your in your window yesterday, so you're I'm gonna lock your store for a week, right? So I think that's kind of what most amazon sellers feel like when they're selling on on this, you know, on these third party marketplace platforms and you know, so [00:03:49] spk_0: it's a good analogy [00:03:51] spk_1: fates. Yeah. So I just came up with that with damn. You know, sometimes I'm good. It's the coffee. I'm gonna I'm gonna thank my coffee today. Um You know, I didn't I didn't get too far into party talk to early on, so that's a good sign. Um So on that kind of on that theme, uh you know, how did you, how did you, you know, decide that you were gonna go work for amazon and kind of, what have you seen, how have you seen the progression from when you kind of first started in e commerce and on amazon, you know, working for amazon and then where we are today, do you think it's getting better? Is it getting worse? Is it changing? Uh Kind of what, what did that journey look like? [00:04:25] spk_0: I mean, the marketplace was a lot smaller when I was working there, we saw it growing. Um my biggest interest was how will this change how people buy things and how they relate to another business? They're not walking in through a door, they're not doing just brick and mortar, they're buying things online. So at the time I wasn't so much thinking about myself helping out these small e commerce businesses survive or grow or manage their relationship with a company like amazon. That was the furthest thing from my mind. Um I just like the idea of buyers and sellers meeting in one place, looking at prices, looking at offerings, deciding who had the best product being able to give feedback or rate the product. It was all kind of innocent in those days. The, you know, the attacks and the abuse and the fake reviews and fake negative feedback that that was all kind of a distant problem in those days. Um I just like the idea of buyers and sellers getting together in one place online and interacting and I was part of the fraud investigation crew that was making sure buyers felt safe. Back in those days when I first joined amazon, it was just making sure buyers felt safe putting their credit card information into the site, uh, making sure sellers felt safe being exposed to all these buyers, you know, that they wouldn't just drown in a litany of complaints or returns or refunds. And in those days, amazon was very friendly to both sides, sellers and buyers. Um, I started out, I guess my, my origin story with amazon was a to Z guarantee claims. So I was one of the people in the old days that would decide that the buyer, you know, you got to represent both sides. The buyer stated their case, the seller stated their case. If I could intervene and say, hey, maybe you could just return to get a refund, nobody has to lose the claim. Um, but in in those scenarios, you wanted both sides to walk away happy and more likely to use amazon in the future. So I wasn't just hitting sellers left and right. Like you lose this claim, you lose this claim over and over. Sometimes amazon in those days was paying for the claim themselves, especially if it was a lower dollar amount just to reassure both sides that this was safe. It was effective. You should come back, you should keep doing this more and more right. Those are the days just trying to install the faith in people's heads. Um Later it became more of an issue of like sellers having trouble defending claims and by then I was long gone. I was in the merchant investigation team, merchant Risk. Um, So as time went on, more sellers coming in growth. Um, you started to see how those small businesses were adapting to how amazon does things. It wasn't just A series of emails I would read every day, like I've been in business for 10 years, don't you guys tell me how it works. Um we've been in business for a lot longer than you have with your marketplace. Like that conversation changed over the years to be one of Amazon being very top down. Listen, this is how we do it. If you don't like it, that's fine. We understand. Well contribute that to a survey somewhere down the road. But this is how we do it. If you don't want to do it our way, you have to think about whether or not you want to sell on amazon and they just kept gaining strength, gaining momentum. To the point where sellers I think realized they had just hooked their wagon to these guys and they couldn't just say, we don't like how amazon manages our account, how they manage our listings, how they let us do this or don't let us do that. That conversation kind of dwindled over the years to the point where it was like, you need us. Um, I wouldn't personally look at it that way, but a lot of, you know, upper level management or VP level people probably thought, look, we're not going to sit all day reading complaints and escalations from sellers well, well, right or wrong. If something unjustified, unfair happen to this account will look at it and we'll reverse it. But we're not just going to listen to a steady stream of whining all day. If people aren't happy with how we do it, maybe they can leave and come back when they think that they're more ready to adapt to how amazon views the marketplace. So it's grown now to a point where you see so much chaos, all the things you've alluded to punching holes in walls. A lot of that is just amazon's inability to scale appropriately and inability to manage their own marketplace. And I'm sure they just had a lot of confidence in themselves. They had high hopes, big dreams, but they didn't really understand the variety of challenges that would come with having 3 to 5 million sellers globally. All these different regions, all these different products, all these different problems on their side, you know, never mind the problems that sellers have that they complain amazon about things that amazon doesn't even want to do to you as a seller that they're doing anyway. Some of those things, they don't even they don't even believe that they should be doing those things to you, but they can't control themselves, they can't keep a handle on it, Keep a lid on it. And that's what a lot of people are frustrated with these days because you know, long story short keep in mind amazon. Internal teams have trouble communicating with each other about what needs to happen sometimes even about whose job it is to fix something. That's what a lot of the ticket ticketing system and escalations and appeals are about like this isn't mine, this is yours. No, it isn't, it's yours. So if they can't communicate with each other, how are they going to communicate effectively? Deal. [00:09:23] spk_1: Yeah. And it's interesting because you know there's a big push on on the amazon side, which I get as a as a technologist. Uh you know, I, and you know, I've been digging a lot more into Ai Ai is a is a beautiful thing if used correctly. I think right now amazon is using all these bots and all these things to offload kind of this more manual seller support. Right? So if your listings got keywords, you know, it will automatically take it down and it's like, you know, it's like you're guilty until proven innocent on amazon right now, which I think is why so many people are getting so frustrated with it. And I think you made a great point in in terms of you know everybody, I see all these posters like you know, well you know, I sell two million on amazon and they suspended me. They're losing so much money, those idiots and I giggle. I used to think that way too. And now I laugh because what you have to look at with amazon is guess what? There's 10 other people who are just as hungry who are just joined the platform that they're going to go, ah well we won't miss that guy, you know, like you said, it's almost better for them to have less sellers who are better than a lot of sellers who are, you know, average or mediocre, you know, they don't, they could care less and you know, they [00:10:32] spk_0: know they're losing that money by the way, this is not a mystery to that. They know that they're losing it. They know how to read a balance sheet. The problem is they're making too much money elsewhere in the company. They're making they're making so much money from other sellers with their percentage of growth every month and every year that they're not noticing what they're losing from these commissions. [00:10:49] spk_1: Yeah, absolutely, I agree. I think, you know, on the line item it looks bad, but at the bottom of the sheet it still looks good. The bottom line doesn't change for them. So, you know, it's hard though because you have to kind of take your, you know, take yourself back from that and go, okay, So if Amazon doesn't care about me, because so many people try to like go to Amazon to fix the issue, right? And what people have to realize is there's nobody there that's going to fix the issue except for yourself, right? It's one of those things where the old adage, squeaky wheel gets the grease right, when it comes to Amazon, that's completely 100% true. All the times that I've stayed on my tickets, you know, communicated over and over and over again and you know, as asked to be transferred to a different team, if it was not the right team etcetera, you have to realize that just sitting back and taking it is not gonna work on amazon, especially not anymore with the ai bots and things like that, um, but to transition to something a little bit differently. So if everybody's been watching the news lately, the the covid pandemonium is back, you know, the terror is back and so you know, how do you think this, this kind of second round, which you know, you can kind of see the writing on the wall already, how do you think, you know, it's already won? One of the things that we saw in the first round is all a huge adoption to e commerce, right? It was kind of, you had to, you know, it was all these mom and pop stores on Main Street now had to get on to amazon or some of these other platforms to stay in business to try to supplement their income for their closed storefront. Um, you know, do you, what do you see as you know, do you see anything changing uh this the second time around, when when some of these things start going into place, do you think there's gonna be more pushback? Um you know, what's your guess on all this? [00:12:31] spk_0: I mean we'll have to chart the progress or lack thereof of this delta variant to see if people buy even more online than they did last year. I mean, I haven't reviewed an update of this year versus last year to know, but it's kind of scary that there's been a surge in an uptick of cases and people are, you know, kind of going out again, but also a little bit reluctant to go back to shopping in stores so much. I mean a lot of the behavioral changes have stuck and people that were buying online more last year bought even more online this year and they haven't gone back to not to whatever retail store visiting they were doing so much because it's still kind of shaking out. The problem is, I mean, even if the big picture is you're going to be selling way more online than you ever did before and way more on amazon next year than you did three years ago. Um It's the inventory right? If you're doing F. B. A. And if you're having, if they're having trouble managing your inventory going in and out of F. B. A. And they're imposing limits and they're forcing you to sell through inventory quicker. You have to adapt to making sure you're only selling an inventory sending an inventory which will sell quickly. Number one, No two, you have to consider that Amazon might have fulfillment centers That have labor shortages if people can't go into work because there are spikes in variance in the many, many states in which they have fulfillment centers. So that could be yet another reason that they have trouble managing the inventory that you want to push in. I mean we're heading in a Q4 soon and people want way more inventory in there than they would other parts of the year. In most cases, most of our clients, what if amazon just says you gotta stop, you've gotta sell in october november december, similar amounts of inventory that you sold in april may and june, what would that do to the marketplace in the cellars? A lot of people who rely on cue forward to recoup lost sales earlier in the year, won't have that option And they'll have to, that will change their forecasting for 2022 as well. So I mean, that will make the biggest immediate difference if there's a huge surge of cases because of the variant. Um, but Amazon is also showing strain in their own, you know, supply chain, right? How they manage inventory. So imagine if there's chaos in that system and on top of that, they're not managing my former team so well, they're not reading appeals so much, taking longer to get reinstated on the nascent, you know, take down account suspensions, right? Your inventory is frozen, your funds are frozen and you're not making new money with new sales, But you're dealing with Amazon and Q4 at a time where their communications even more delayed At a time where there's already chaos in the system. I mean they're taking a long time to reply to appeals right now and they have been for months what's going to be like in Q4? Um, they're not necessarily adding lots of useful head count on my former teams. They're adding it on teams like product review abuse, right? Looking for manipulation, sales, rank manipulation and reviews abuse. Why is that? Well, because the governments all over them about fake reviews, because the media is all over them about fake reviews. Is the media all over them about how many times they suspend sellers or how long it takes to get reinstated when your account goes down? I haven't seen a lot of reporting on that for like 18 months or so. So you got to think of where the pressure is coming from. If an esteem executive, you know, Dave clark, who's the new Jeff Wilkie. If he hands down a mandate, we got to get people reinstated or just decided that they can never sell again within a 17 day window and you're going to make that happen. And he points the finger at VPs or mid level management. If you come, if the pressure is coming from above, guess what things might improve for sellers. If it's not, you're still on your own and you have to have a good strategy for survival. [00:16:10] spk_1: That's a perfect segment into kind of something I was gonna ask next is, you know, every Q four it changes every year. Kind of, it looks like amazon goes on. Some kind of like I call it a witch hunt. I'm sure they call it like a area of focus or, you know, something internally. But, you know, one year it's, it's, you know, review manipulation. One year it was, you know, titles and your listing. You know, they always go after kind [00:16:33] spk_0: related accounts. Exactly, account you've never heard of. [00:16:36] spk_1: Exactly. So do you do you have any um, uh, knowledge on, on on anything that that that they're going to be kind of focusing on either in Q. four just in the in the approaching months. [00:16:47] spk_0: I mean they're they're focused on trying to reduce the likelihood of abuse and competitor on competitor attacks, but there's still way behind the curve on this stuff. So I mean just prepare that you're going to be attacked if you've got a successful brand, a top selling mason, you've had attacks or listing abuse in the past be ready for that now. I mean I've got some people even like kind of writing appeals in advance, which is kind of crazy who wants to spend their time on that when you've got like a busy holiday season ahead or even just getting an abuse report ready like you're attacked three months ago. What if they hit you around? Black friday cyber monday? Have something, you can modify it later but have some sort of copy ready content ready to go because you know what's going to happen eventually? Um That's one thing I'm coaching people on for Q for like be ready to defend yourself In the old days. They didn't really suspend, we didn't have surges and spikes of widespread account suspensions in Q4. We weren't doing that. I didn't sit there with a bunch of managers, a bunch of people saying how can we suspend a bunch of accounts at the busiest time of year? It was the opposite. You know, if there were big purges that were coming, it would be january or it would be september or august like this time of year we wouldn't do it in those months, so that's fairly recent and that's why last year when they started suspending all these accounts for being related to each other, even if it was very thin basis for a suspension, we were mystified and baffled that they would launch that in like october november. Like they did. That made no sense. And it scared us into believing that there's a lot of different cooks in the kitchen with a lot of competing ideas and some of these ideas are just floating to the surface out of inertia are out of luck or randomness and they're not being vetted by higher ups that are like, wait a minute. I looked at this, I see what you're planning to do wrong time of year. Stupid way to implement it, wrong group of sellers, you're looking at too many false positives. I don't hear any of that would be due diligence going on behind the scenes. What I hear about and and see out in the world is finger pointing, throwing the hot potato at somebody else passing the buck right? A lack of ownership. That's why we're really focused on new ceo jassy coming in and maybe at least holding people accountable whose jobs are to manage different pieces of this puzzle. Um You know, has he already decided that some of these, you know, managers in baseball parlance have been designated for assignment, They're going getting shipped out to Triple A, the minor leagues or something like that. And maybe those managers or VPs aren't as invested as they should be. Maybe that's where some of these bottlenecks are coming from. We're not sure, but we certainly hope it's going to get some sort of resolution before september october rolling because that's a bad time to be sorted out who is responsible for stuff. [00:19:35] spk_1: Yeah, it was, I don't know if you well I'm sure you remember this, you were probably in you know in the amazon world during this but um Tony the ceo of Zappos when amazon bought Zappos, you know they kind of left Zappos as a separate entity. But if you read the book about Zappos, I forget the name of the book. But it was a really interesting story and the way that they run Zappos. When I read that book, I was like, I wonder if amazon ever tested that kind of management style. And because because from what I remember in the Zappos there was there wasn't really a hierarchy and I was wondering in seller support if if they got to that place what it would look like because with Zappos it was like their main thing was like take care of the customer, right? That was it. It was like no questions asked. I was like, man, I wonder if they ever tested that model even on a small scale for seller support, right? It's just like how can I help this seller and get rid of all this red tape, right? And uh you know, I'm bummed that Tony never really like moved in or assimilated into the amazon world because I felt like he would have made a a really big difference. Anything that you saw kind of that, you know, even to this day, you shake your head and and and and just think like, wow, you know, amazon's got this extremely wrong when it comes to dealing with sellers. [00:20:55] spk_0: Yeah and not seller support. I I never had any contact with them. Um for seller performance things were going wrong. I saw a lot of managers and sometimes account investigators around me that were doing things that made no sense to me. It's one big reason why I left. I mean the other reason being I wanted to consult sellers and work for myself. But I saw, I mean where did this idea come from that? I decided I wanted to be a consultant was my childhood dream. Not really, probably wanted to be a travel writer, where I got the idea was seeing a lot of chaos around me, a lot of messaging that was poorly written, but somehow made its way into our pre written language or blurbs that were being sent to sellers. I saw a lot of mismanagement. Um They had ways in those days of auditing, investigation quality. I saw a lot of bad auditing going on around us um in a lot of port management people that I thought would last a month at the company somehow lasted years and I didn't understand. So I mean something like seller support, I think the ship sailed a long time ago. They don't intend to beef up support much. That's going to be a very weak system for communicating. It's going to be a lot of low level employee employees, a lot of rotating door, a lot of bad training and a lot of copy and paste responses that's never going to really improve. The problem is seller performance. My former teams is going that direction as well. Just the way brand registry has, they've created new teams. There are old teams that are acting more like seller support, which is, you know, the most alarming thing I've ever seen. And then there's also newer stuff. Brand registry is and so new anymore, But it's newer brand registry has become a mechanism for copy and paste. No, no problem solving, no troubleshooting. Just, you know, standardized messaging that doesn't actually say anything. It's so murky and so opaque that they're almost better off not responding to you at all versus responding. So in terms of, you know, hierarchy of who's accountable, who's responsible. In theory, those managers that used to manage my teams are supposed to whoever is in there now is supposed to be respond reporting to their direct, directly reporting the VP level people those VPs are reporting the senior VPs of which there's a smaller number, right? There's hundreds of VPs fewer senior VPs. Um, those senior VPs are in charge of that area, chunk of the marketplace. They're supposed to if they're high up enough be reporting US team executives. So unfortunately, that's where a lot of escalations have to go to get any notice that something is going wrong. But are they willing to admit? The first step is admitting that you have a problem. Right. Are they willing to admit? Are they just going to continue to deflect and say, well this is a one off. Sure, sure. This one was handled badly. But how many of these could there be or we've only seen a few of these? I think some of the higher ups think that way and they view it that way, but they're only going based on the limited number they're exposed to. So I think whether it's senior VPs or even esteem level executives are shielded to a certain extent. I'm hearing some interesting rumblings that a lot of sellers are going back to twitter, which is where you used to get a lot of attention and they're tweeting and people like Dave clark were tweeting it. Um, different senior higher level executives um, back into social media, which amazon used to actually have certain seller performance investigators to are responsible for policing and patrolling complaints on social media. Then they kind of went back to ignoring it. Right? That's like cyclical. I think it's rotating back around to actually you can start getting somebody's attention who seems to care at least that you're reaching out publicly even if they haven't seen your escalation or don't know the details of your particular case. [00:24:32] spk_1: Yeah, that's a good point. I, I learned a few years ago let Lincoln is a super powerful place to, you know, because you can track down VP level, you know, amazon people and you know, I've built quite a large connection network of amazon employees on linkedin and want to have issues. They all get, you know, message bombed like, hey, this is a major issue and you know, some of them respond, some don't. What's funny is on the higher level, um, positions on amazon. The US based people almost never respond. But the overseas people, uh you know, I've gotten like people from europe people from trying to think of some of the other, you know, kind of places that I was like, yeah Australia spain, I think I've had some some like higher level and then get back to me and they actually say, hey I'll look into it for you and stuff. And um that was interesting that you know, the the US people just kind of ignored it. So um [00:25:26] spk_0: yeah, it's not surprising overseas employees sometimes go the distance to make themselves useful or even appear useful. Um sometimes they're looking for other opportunities because they're not sure the job they're in is going to last. [00:25:40] spk_1: That's interesting. So um like today that you know recently kind of, what are, what are the biggest issues that you're dealing with when, when people come to you for help? Is it suspensions? Is it a sin suppressed? Like kind of what's the major issue right now? And what do you see? What's the kind of most common thing that are causing some of these issues, [00:25:59] spk_0: account suspensions are constant and that's one reason why it's our core service. I mean listing takedowns. Ace and suspend appeals for reinstatement and suspensions are of course service as well because listings are just more likely to go down for not much of a reason at this point either, a stray buyer complaint could take your listing down. A competitor attack could take your listing down an amazon technical issue. Could take your listings down. I mean there's 10 reasons now. It could be your top selling innocent. It could be your only a sin, right? There's a multitude of reasons why you could be, you know, losing dripping, you know revenue here and there On multiple a since let's say you sell 10 products, four or five of them could intermittently have problems that are causing that drip, drip, drip of lost revenue. So you might never have an account suspension. But of course the mores and level problems you have, it grows and grows to the point where your account health dashboard start saying that you're at risk. And again, this could be just misclassified buyer complaints. It could be fake complaints from a competitor who hits you. It could be poor appealing on your side. I mean, I guess one way to answer your question is I'm kind of troubled at the number of sellers who insist they can handle the stuff themselves. I know that sounds admittedly a bit self promoting, but there are too many sellers coming to us too late in the game who are submitting four and five appeals before they even knock on our door. I would argue it's fine to do that. But understand that you might cross the point of no return and say to yourself, I'm not going to call out for help later. I'm in it for the long haul. I mean they're gonna sort this out myself or I'm going to abandon this instant and pull the inventory out. Don't halfway it Don't tell yourself I'm gonna be stuck and stuck and stuck and stuck to the point where Amazon doesn't respond to me and then I'm gonna call Chris right because I'm gonna level with you very bluntly and directly you should have called me a long time ago. I could have saved you $48,000 on this. Lost revenue. You were alive to come to us. [00:27:55] spk_2: I see that a lot to, you know, just with people that come to me for things I'm sure Andy sees it as well. It's like you could have, if you just would have changed the words that you used in your very first email, it would have changed everything. It would have been immediately fixed. I see that all the time with people who get pesticide flag products, they go into this whole loop and they literally could have just deleted and relisted and it would have been up and fine and no issues and instead they admit fault and they all these problems and it's like, what are you doing? [00:28:30] spk_0: I can explain it [00:28:31] spk_2: exactly. Exactly. Like you just created a whole lot more headaches for yourself [00:28:36] spk_0: than you [00:28:37] spk_2: even needed to. I love that. Yeah, definitely. I think you, I think it's a problem with entrepreneurs when you first get into something, you don't realize your own value, the value of your own time. Like if you just had hired that out in the first place that could have been fixed and you would have had, you would have gained so much more, so I get it 100%. So let's talk about your talk and prosper. I was so bummed after you told me after prosper, what you were talking about, I was like [00:29:08] spk_1: how did I miss [00:29:09] spk_2: your talk? So tell us what you talked about it. Prosper and why you chose that topic. [00:29:15] spk_0: Yeah. And first of all we're doing our own conference, the seller velocity conference here in Boston in September September 23, which will provide some material for you to share with your audience. But I will be revisiting that topic at least in part at cellar velocity simply because it's a conference for brands and brands need to know how to defend themselves. But things change even from month to month, how people get attacked and we want to put give them you know, tools. I mean the workshop and prosper. The content we cover to prosper was to give them a means of appealing for reinstatement of a listing they've lost, but also a means of reporting the way they were attacked so that amazon can start tracing some breadcrumbs back and look at who keeps messing with you. It's a hybrid approach because you can't just appeal for reinstatement of a list and get the listing back and say, you know, glad that's over. I'm so glad that nightmare is done with and I'm never gonna have to deal with it again. No, of course not. Why do people hire us to deal with this half the time? It's because it's repetitive. Amazon treats the symptoms, but not the disease. They don't have a structure in place for alleviating those concerns and preventing you from being attacked again in the future. That's the biggest gaping hole in the marketplace. So, I mean, prosper was chock full of brands approaching us, saying, yes, that happened to me. Even while I was talking on stage, I heard the murmuring, I saw people constantly raising their hands waving at us, saying like, yes, what you're talking about on this slide, that happened to us, We couldn't fix it. Support couldn't help us. Uh, sometimes amazon just denied that you were being attacked. Oh, it's a glitch. Oh, it's a problem. You know, you just have to do a B and C. They wouldn't talk about the fact that their marketplace has become so vulnerable that they haven't given you the ability to prevent that attack from happening in the first place. They've only told you how to mop it up once there's already a mess. They don't want to talk about how you were attacked. They don't want to talk about the fact that you attacked the same way, possibly by the same competitor six times in a row. That's that's an uncomfortable conversation. And they don't have the solution ready for you. So that's why this prosper is really timely this year because we know how many brands are struggling with that. And of course it's confusing if you have no idea what's happening to you. You know, our listings are images have been deleted. Our listings have been totally rewritten back in keyword abuse. We didn't put these keywords in there. We got flagged for pesticide terms. We didn't even have those in our listing. Obviously if you have that language and it's not compliant in the listing. Like you said, you have to delete it right And you have to go to catalog and sometimes people have learned how to get a category listing report just to figure out what was on their listing. If they didn't have flat files ready that showed them what they did wrong. But what if you didn't do it? But if it wasn't you doing something wrong, Right? So it's hard to know what's happening to you. And if amazon won't admit that you've been attacked, you have to have your own strategy. That was kind of the cornerstone of what we talked about and prosper. The rest of it was just how do you communicate with these guys again? These amazon teams don't communicate well with each other. Sometimes they point the finger at each other. You should have handled this. No, you should have no, you should have. We started writing escalations for sellers simply because amazon was unwilling to take responsibility for which team had to fix something or for the origin of the problem. They didn't understand the origin. So I'm a former Amazonian. I had to explain it to current amazonians again, whether it's phone calls with account managers, whether it's the category or the catalog listing teams or category managers or anyone who is willing to listen. I was like, no, you don't understand. This is a competitor who did this to this listing. The team is responsible for this work. Haven't been trained on how to identify this. We've done it a million times. Let us train you on how you can identify it so you can understand what needs to happen to reinstate the listing the sellers. That didn't understand the dynamic. We're losing revenue for 7, 10, 12 days before they even started correctly addressing the problem. How do we know that? We looked at the cases they opened, we looked at their brand registry tickets, we looked at the appeals, they sent through the appeal button in seller central. All of it was pretty much wasted time and useless appeals because they're [00:33:24] spk_2: not saying the right things and things that are going to get them to where they need to go with the right team with the [00:33:31] spk_0: right ticket. When they thought it was just a matter of moving words around and it was about jargon like people tried to hire us like, well, you know their language because you work there, we don't know the buzzwords and I was like, no, no, no, you don't even understand the nature of what's happening to you. So the words you're using are about a different problem. What you're digging yourself a deeper hole because they're looking at it and saying and it's not congruence, it's not matching up. You're saying one thing they see a different problem. They don't know what to do. They don't want to spend all day figuring it out. They send you a generic blur back saying, well I don't know, go back to the beginning and try this again and see if that works and if it doesn't get back to us and let us know because they don't have all day to figure out what you should have spent your time researching [00:34:14] spk_2: and telling them that you researched. That's like I was looking at it. I was on a planet called today and the person just basically put in their case my listing is an indexing. Not I checked the listing wizard and it said it's not indexing because it's missing the item type keyword and then I tried to fix that and that didn't work. Here is the screenshot of that. Please assign this listening to this category on my behalf because it's not working. Thank you. Instead [00:34:41] spk_0: And put that in a bulleted list that can be read in about 14 seconds [00:34:44] spk_2: exactly. Instead, I looked at a month worth of back and [00:34:49] spk_0: forth [00:34:50] spk_2: of them standing canned responses and I'm like, no, you have to tell them exactly what you've done in exactly what you need them to do on your behalf. Give it done right, so okay, so let's and we're definitely going to bring up this conference that you're doing is september 24th in boston 23rd thursday. It's a thursday the 23rd in boston massachusetts and we're going to discuss all the content that's going to be available at that conference. [00:35:20] spk_0: Thanks for tuning in [00:35:20] spk_1: to Part One of this episode, join us every Tuesday at one PM, pacific standard time for live Q and A. And bonus content after the recording at cellar round table dot com, sponsored by the ultimate software tool for amazon sales and growth seller s c o dot com and Amazing at home dot com.