How To Combat Amazon Whack-a-Mole

“It seems like we’re playing whack a mole with these unauthorized Amazon sellers. Can you help us stop it?”

Brand protection managers often feel like they’re being forced into a game of Whack-a-Mole when trying to keep rogue sellers from hijacking their products on Amazon. Many of them ask the above question to me during their frustration over removing unauthorized Amazon sellers.

If you aren’t familiar with the old arcade game, in Whack-a-Mole, the player uses a soft mallet to bop plastic moles that are popping up and down from various holes on the game board. 

Amazon Whack-a-Mole happens when a brand protection leader finally gets a problem seller to stop selling a product, only to find that same seller popping up somewhere else on the gray market. At the same time, a different seller pops up in the first seller’s old spot. Chasing these illegitimate sellers while they are wildly and persistently jumping on and off Amazon listings is no game for a brand protection manager, and it costs way more than a couple of quarters.

So can you ever stop playing the neverending game of Amazon Whack-A-Mole?

Unfortunately, you can’t. Unauthorized sellers know that there is money to be made, and they perform all kinds of gymnastics to create and or maintain a presence on a company’s branded products. Amazon Brand Registry goes a long way, but doesn’t fully protect you against unauthorized third party sellers. MAP agreements are great, but they also aren’t a catch-all solution and will not suffice as the only mallet you use against these third party moles.

You might be forced to play, but the good news is, you CAN win at Amazon Whack-A-Mole. The secret is in the game itself.

Removing Unauthorized Amazon Sellers: How To Win the Constant Game of Whack-a-Mole

First, you need a mallet. In this case, your mallet is the approximately 1,000 pages of Amazon seller policies that already exist.The rules are in place, you just have to make sure someone who can do something knows those rules are being broken. 

Second, you need to watch the board carefully. Whether you use a home grown system or subscribe to one of the many Amazon monitoring services, scrutinize the unauthorized seller activity on your company’s branded products on Amazon. 

Third, you need to apply the “mallet” quickly and repeatedly whenever you see a seller pop up. In other words, you use Amazon’s seller policies to protect your brand. Focus on the customer experience elements, because Amazon cares tremendously about that. Check to see if the unauthorized sellers are committing any of these infractions:

  • Confusing product listings  

  • Product bundles that shouldn’t exist

  • Poor images and inaccurate descriptions 

This 3-step system is precisely what we use for removing unauthorized Amazon sellers. Granted, we are more effective and quick at evicting illegitimate seller’s listings from our customers’ brands because we’ve developed sophisticated software — and because it’s all we do. 

Using this system, it is possible to solve 50% of your problem within a couple of weeks and up to 85% over time.  

Let us help you win at Amazon Whack-A-Mole and remove those unauthorized Amazon sellers!

About the Author

Trajan Bayly, CEO of Gray Falkon, is an award-winning innovator across multiple industries, including e-commerce, technology, health, and finance. As a 20-year business veteran and recognized expert in market strategy, innovation, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Trajan’s leadership experience spans a wide spectrum, from startup technology companies to large, global organizations like Ernst & Young and General Electric.

Image attribution: “Whack-a-Mole” by terren in Virginia is licensed under CC BY 2.0