This post on dirty Amazon seller tricks is a follow-up to How to Rank Products on Amazon because but everybody kept asking how Chinese listings ranked on page 1 in regards to highly competitive keywords, despite their lack of reviews or terrible reviews overall. Is there any shortcut for fast ranking?
Yes, there are, several of them… I’m really not a fan of posts like this that promote blackhat and unethical Amazon seller tricks. I feel like it is poor practice to pretend like they do not exist.
We should share them so that we all know what is out there. You’ll thus learn how to watch out for them, and if possible what can be done about them. One can learn how to deal with issues like this. It’s something worthwhile to know (but obviously not to practice).
NOTE: I am aware of these tactics because I am in the industry, not because I practice them. I know this hacks works, but I don’t practice it because Amazon Police (the Performance Team) knows everything!
Some of these Amazon seller tricks try this at your own risk but you should know – Digital forensics is not a rocket science and practicing some of these dirty tactics will definitely get your selling privilege taken away, suspended or even banned. Sure, these dirty Amazon seller tricks and shortcuts can pay off in the short term. However, are you prepared to pay the cost if things go south?
Here are the Unethical Amazon Seller Tricks
Manipulating FBA rankings
In Bangladesh, there are huge warehouses of 200+ people working on old p.c.’s carrying out specific tasks that they know the Amazon algorithm will eat up and love.
They will search certain terms and click on their client’s product (click through rate,). Then they will go to a product page and engage with their clients listing by clicking on the various images and spending minutes on one page (engagement,) and adding the product to a wish list.
That is the employee’s day all day. Go down a list of ASINs, carry out all of the actions the algorithm considers when ranking a product and when completed begin again. Crazzzzzy.
Win the buy box fraud
Create multiple SKU’s against same ASIN. Yes, it is possible to have multiple SKU’s for a single set of inventory. That ASIN will have more chance of winning buy box. If there are two sellers, then both have 50% chance. If only you had two SKU’s and your competitor continue to list just one, your chance is now 66.6% in winning buy box.
Amazon seller PPC Click Fraud
I saw some sellers spotted over 300 clicks in just one hour, including a 19.5% CTR for a single campaign, with over 50 clicks for two different campaigns around 50% and 40% CTR for the identical KW. Because they only have one true competitor, there’s no doubt where this fraud was coming from. In just one hour they will burn your daily budget and guess what?
There is nothing you can do about it. You will open a case with Amazon seller support but know that they are not going to find/do anything. Is this possible? Yes it is, if you are selling supplements, home and kitchen, essential oils, or iPhone cases, and having any success at all, then haters are going to bomb you.
Amazon seller reviews fraud
One more extremely unethical tactic against healthy competition.
Here is what can you expect: You can receive a lot of 1-star reviews from people with no other reviews and bouncing email addresses. They will all complain about the exact same detail with very poor English.
Of course, you will open a case with Amazon seller support but know that they are not going to find/do anything, but you did the right thing by contacting Amazon even if they don’t do anything, because it’s very likely that the “reviewers” have also filed complaints about you to Amazon. It’s good to have emails where you at least bring up possible competitors messing with you.
Copyright claim fraud
Amazon is really quick to block everything. Amazon doesn’t recognize “innocent until proven guilty”. So, another of these dirty Amazon seller tricks is blocking their competitors listing with false copyright claims. Folks, it’s really easy to block any listing with fake claims because it will take weeks and weeks and even months for Amazon to get the listing reinstated.
That’s why, if you send any claim for any listing, they will simply block it and ask the seller for supporting documents to prove that he is innocent. This will take weeks and even months for the seller to disprove that. During all that time, his listing will be blocked and inactive for selling.
Yeah, you read well – reviews hijacking. Dirty Amazon sellers will even hijack reviews (not listings) if you need to, just to take your sales.
Here is an example: The wife was looking at a supplement that she takes regularly, it’s an organic type…you know, Just a daily type of supplement. She was looking at it and she was getting ready to reorder and then she’s seen the very first review. It is like a three or four star review so it wasn’t a really “bad, bad review” but what it said was, “I really like this product but the one thing that my doctor said that it should have that it didn’t is this and this other product I found has it.” They put a link, a hard link to that other product (which was theirs by the way) and it had over 800 votes up, 800 votes up…
This particular supplement had like 3,000 reviews. It was sold in health and personal care or something. I think it was selling like, BSR was like 50 so it’s cranking. They piggybacked on that traffic and the very first review you’re going to see is theirs because they had that review written in a way that would have a link driving people to their page and then they voted the thing up (by another underground type blackhat group because those are out there.)
The scariest thing: the PPC to the original listing, gets converted to sales on the hijacker’s listing!!! Daaaaamn that was dirty…
Intentional Miscategorizing Of The Product Can Help You Avoid Competition And Gather Best Sellers Badge
After checking out a couple of top-ranked sellers, I’ve noticed a strange trend. It seems that most of these sellers specifically target categories only tangentially correlate with their products. By doing so, they avoid the competition, which makes it easier to stand out from the crowd, and naturally, get the Best Seller badge in the process.
Still, in my opinion, these dirty Amazon seller tricks are terrible. Sure, your products will stand out, but it’s far less likely that you’ll draw huge traffic to your products if they’re nowhere to be found in their real category. Additionally, some sellers decide to list products otherwise found in gated categories.
When you input your product listing for the first time, you’ll be able to assign it to a single browse node. Take into account that it’s against Amazon policy to create multiple Detail Pages in regards to the same product.
Before I forget, let me also mention that Amazon shoppers can develop certain search trends which will force the website to assign additional nodes to a specific product accordingly. In my experience, it’s best to select the proper category for your products and let the Amazon do the rest. Not only that you’ll be able to reach your potential buyers easier, your products will also get enlisted into the gated category.
Improve your chances with a discount prices
People like to buy things at discount prices, there’s no going around it. There’s something in our minds that triggers when we see an item at a discount, and we just want to grab it ASAP.
As a seller, you can use this to your advantage. The whole process is rather simple. Just click on the“seller central“ followed by “inventory“ and select “edit listing“. Afterward, the only thing you need to do is enter the full and discounted price, as well as choose the dates under which your items will go on sale.
It’s a great way to drive the traffic to your products. After this move, simply raise the cost of your items. They are bound to sell better with all of those positive reviews behind ’em.
Naturally, you’ll need to have a lot of items in the store in order to pull this move off, and also weather the storm of the initial financial hit, but it definitely pays off in the long run. Would you be willing to roll the dice?
It goes without question that any frauds and deceptions are frowned upon. But there’s nothing wrong with a bit of hustling, am I right? It’s a competitive marketplace out there, and sometimes, the best way to beat your competition is to lean on them. ASIN piggybacking can sound sinister, but it’s not that bad actually.
It just showcases that you were ready to do your homework, and it gives you a chance to offer your competitive deal. Let’s find out how it works:
- First off, select a product that ranks near the top, and check out its ASIN. You’ll find it in the Product Details section. Quick tip: Start with Buy Box products, as they are very affordable, and sellers must enter ASIN in order to become eligible for the Buy Box.
- Contact the manufacturer and find out what are the costs if you bought his items wholesale. Add shipping costs, and determine your best competitive price. Can you beat the current lowest offerings for Buy Box products?
- If there is a tiny wiggle room, do not hesitate, and start making money today!
- However, in case you cannot lower the price, there’s no need to worry. Most manufacturers are open to at least some negotiation. Then again, you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
It seems like a dead end? Do not give up! If you dig long and hard enough, you’ll eventually stumble upon a deal which works perfectly. Don’t be afraid to look at products with lower ranks as well, they can be just the thing you were looking for.
In case you decide to play dirty… Although I wouldn’t necessarily advise this, let’s mention it nonetheless.
ASIN Piggybacking black hat method can help you find knock-off versions of popular items that you’ll eventually list with the identical ASIN of their true counterparts.
How can this possibly work?
Due to Amazon’s poor safety checks when it comes to ASIN piggybacking, you’ll be able to get away with it, at first. In order for the sellers of genuine products to report the violation, they’ll have to order your item and showcase direct evidence, which then again takes time.
Furthermore, Amazon is not exactly known for trying their hardest to clamp down on sellers which offer cheap knockoffs by using the methods of ASIN piggybacking. Still, if you get caught, your account is bound to be terminated or in the least suspended for the foreseeable future.
Of course, there’s the other side of the medal: How would you feel if someone did this to you? To avoid these complications, do your best to buy and ship out the EXACT product, along with the identical brand name, SKU, etc. Double check if necessary, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Upvoting the negative reviews on Amazon
This tactic is also downright dirty and can be potentially dangerous as well. Amazon has several algorithms to minimize the damage of instant negative reviews, but judging by some experiences one can read on forums, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to track down all accounts guilty for doing this, if they are careful and make sure not to flood reviews immediately. It remains to be seen how this problem will get solved in the future.
Only 1 left in stock – order soon
This seller sells almost 1800 units a month. It always shows though, that only 1 left in stock – order soon to entice buyers to hurry up and buy.
There are two ways to do this. The manual way He creates a multi-channel fulfillment order, but have it HOLD the inventory instead of shipping it. So if he has 10 units, create the hold order for 9 units, and then he has one left. After the one sells, he cancels the hold order, and create a new one for 8 units.
Does “Only 1 left in stock – order soon” on Amazon really mean that there is only one item in stock
Well, sometimes it is true but it depends on how many different sellers are selling the same product. Try it, take a few of “Only 1 left in stock” items and add to your cart and you will see. Some will disappear but some won’t.
As I said, this “Only 1 left in stock – order soon” trick was commonly used about a few years ago, but some still reserve their inventory so that only their approximate daily sales are available plus 4 or 5 to be safe.
In short, they will restrict inventory to create a scarcity effect, basically, they drip feeding the stock into the system.
They have to go in each day and adjust the amount reserved so its labor intensive and the benefits are that buyers think there are just a few left AND competition can’t see how much they’re actually selling using 999 trick or other methods.
IMO, this is a stupid thing to do because buyers are sometimes nervous about buying the last of anything (fearing damaged packing / broken box / returned product) but…
There can be some other, let me say legit reasons for this only 1 left in stock – order soon strategy.
If sellers are doing a giveaway promo, sometimes they’ll reserve inventory to keep hijackers from stealing it. Here is why:
The whole thread you read on Facebook through this link, but only if you are a member of Amazon FBA High Rollers | Private Label Secret Strategies Facebook group and if you are not, here are some screenshots hosted on Imgur.
Buying fake Amazon reviews
You probably saw some freshly launched products with 20, 30 or even 50+ 5 star reviews. Of course, all verified, all positive, many with photos, some even with a video.
Obvious – ALL fake.
Many sellers don’t want to just sit back and wait for the organic reviews they will purchase those initial Amazon reviews they need to get the ball rolling and because they are aware their listing will not stick on the front page without reviews.
How do they do it?
Simple, various internet forums like Reddit,
Slack channel for paid Amazon reviewers, Facebook groups…
How to spot product with fake reviews?
Just look at reviewers’ profiles and you will see that many of them post nothing but 5-star reviews on recently launched listings. Probably they left fake reviews for multiple products so on their list you will see items that are not actually related.
Okay, enough with dirty stuff…now I am gonna share some valuable Amazon seller tricks.
Valuable Amazon Seller Tricks
Select a search friendly seller name
Although it might seem simple, many people surprisingly fall on this simple obstacle. You’re lucky that you have this article to guide you along, I’ll tell you that much. Amazon never mentioned in their official statement that they’ll be using your seller name for indexing purposes and searches.
You heard it here first.
Ultimately, there’s no reason for them to do so, as they do everything to keep their algorithms a secret. Best way to learn how to manipulate the search engine? Some good old trial and error. Need proof that your seller name IS getting indexed? Check this out!
- Visit http://amazon.com/
- Type “Samsung phone cases” in the search bar. (Jesus Christ…200k+ results!)
- As evidenced by the photo, I clicked on page 10 and selected a random brand ranked on that page.
- After adding the brand name to the search term, guess what happened!
- Feel free to try it for yourself. See? Told you it works.
This is not considered a dirty trick, and everyone new to Amazon should pay close attention to it. Perform some keyword research and come up with a catchy, search-friendly name. This small detail can present a world of difference, trust me.
How To Discover Keyword Volume?
Try this: Put a fake item on sale, and price it as high as possible. After that, all you have to do is throw in some keywords and monitor the results. Sounds fairly simple, right?
How to rank for the desired keyword?
Step 1: Place the desired keyword into description, title, bullets, and keywords.
Step 2: As always, it takes some time before the results show up. It’s possible to ask your friends and family to search that term and buy some products in order to make it appear as if it’s organic traffic.
However, these manipulations will probably get you nowhere fast. Take your time, be patient, and run PPC aggressively, that’s the only reliable way.