After you have spent considerable time and effort to launch a product on Amazon, the last thing you need is for someone to come along and sell a cheap knockoff of your product and hijack your listing. There are ways how you can prevent others from hijacking your Amazon listing and what you can do to remove hijackers from your listings.
What Is A Hijacker (Piggybacker)?
A hijacker or a piggybacker is another Amazon seller who has listed their product under your listing. You can find hijackers by visiting your listing and finding the area where it displays other buying options.
A hijacker will usually attempt to sell a fake version of your product by replicating the packaging to make an exact copy. Other times, the product will be totally different from yours.
The problem with hijackers is that they typically list their products at a cheaper price, which effectively steals the buy box from you. This means that you no longer get any sales from your listing.
The situation is made even worse by the fact that not only are you losing sales to the hijacker’s product, their product is also usually of inferior quality, prompting dissatisfied customers to leave bad reviews under your listing.
This why it is extremely important for you to take steps to remove hijackers on your Amazon listing and to remove them as quickly as possible when they appear.
Note: There is a difference between a reseller and a hijacker. A reseller is someone who has purchased a product from you at some point and has decided to resell it on Amazon. While this can be annoying, they are actually selling your real product and are technically allowed to this. Unless you are brand registered, there is little you can do to have a reseller removed from your listing.
Preventing Amazon Hijackers
Most hijackers are lazy and will only hijack a listing when it’s easy to do so. Therefore, the best way to prevent others from hacking your Amazon listing is to make it as difficult as possible to copy your product. To this end, here is what you can do to prevent having your Amazon listing hijacked:
Brand Your Amazon Product
Your first line of defense against hijacking is to put your brand and/or logo on your product and its packaging. You should also have your brand and/or logo clearly evident on your listing, along with photographs showing the products being sold.
By branding your products with unique designs and unique packaging, you make them distinguishable from other seller’s products and harder to be copied. Many Amazon sellers attempt to save money by not branding their products. But when they do so, they eventually have issues with hijackers and have very little recourse against them.
Bundle Your Amazon Products
Again, you can prevent hijacking by making it as difficult as possible to copy your product. Another way to do this is by bundling. Bundling essentially requires you to package and sell different complementary products together to create one unique product.
Differentiating your products with unique bundles makes it more difficult for hijackers to copy them since they would have to go through the trouble of sourcing all of your bundled items. What’s more, if someone lists a product under your listing that does not match your bundle exactly, Amazon will remove it immediately.
Trademark Your Amazon Products
Another way to prevent others from hijacking your Amazon listing is to trademark your brand. This gives you actual legal protection against the unauthorized use of your trademark, as well as, added protection against hijackers through the Amazon Brand Registry.
When you register a trademark for your brand name in the country or jurisdiction where you are doing business, you can prevent others from copying or using your brand name with their own products. You can get a trademark and be brand registered in the US in 9-18 months, or the UK in 3.5-4 months.
Note: A UK registered trademark WILL remove a hijacker on amazon.com with our help. However, if you simply ask Amazon for help with a UK trademark, they do not always help you unless you have a registered US trademark.
Create A Website For Your Amazon Products
You can also protect your listing from hijackers by creating a website with your brand name in the URL and then listing your products along with their UPC, EAN, and/or FNSKU barcodes. This doesn’t need to be a very elaborate website. Just a web page where your brand and products can be published. This web page can then be used to verify that you are the owner of the brand or product and/or prove that the hijacker’s products are counterfeit.
Offer A Money Back Guarantee
Finally, you can offer your customers a Money Back Guarantee to entice them to only purchase products where your brand name or trademark is visible.
How To Remove Hijackers From Your Amazon Listing
When you discover hijackers on your Amazon listing, it is important to have them removed as soon as possible. This way, you can avoid 1) having money literally stolen from you and 2) being punished with one-star reviews from customers who unknowingly purchased an inferior product and are disappointed with what they think was purchased from you.
Here are a few ways to remove hijackers from your Amazon listings:
1. Send a Cease and Desist Letter
The very first thing you should do when someone attempts to hijack your Amazon listing is to send them a cease and desist letter. You can use an attorney if it gets complicated. Otherwise, you can write a strong cease and desist letter on your own, or download one here. Many times, this will be enough the scare the hijacker off.
The hijacker’s contact details can be found on their Amazon store page and can be used to contact them through the Amazon system. In fact, you should only contact a hijacker through Amazon in order to ensure that Amazon has a record of the correspondence.
2. Perform A Test Buy
If the hijacker persists and your brand is not registered, you can perform a test buy and report it to Amazon. To do this, purchase one of the hijacker’s products and take pictures of it alongside yours. Note all of the differences between the two and report the hijacker to Amazon using the Report Infringement form. You can also use the report infringement form to report IP infringement when, for example, you find someone using your photos or copying your listing.
3. Apply For The Amazon Transparency Program To Prevent Counterfeits
The Amazon Transparency Program was established to fight counterfeiters, issue unique UPC codes, and protect brands. The transparency program does this by allowing you to buy 2D UPC codes from Amazon that you can attach to your products.
Each code is a unique, individual code assigned to a particular item. So, for example, if you have 100 watches, each watch will have its own 2D UPC code. This means 100 unique UPC codes.
Each product is also linked to Amazon’s Brand Registry, which means that in order to take advantage of the Transparency Program you have to be enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry which, in turn, means that you must have a trademark.
4. Apply For The Amazon Brand Incubator Program
Once you have joined the Amazon Brand Incubator Program, they will remove hijackers all from your listings within 60 days. Again, to join the Amazon Brand Incubator Program you will need to be registered with Brand Registry and have a trademark.
4. Apply For The Amazon Project Zero Program
Amazon wants to cut down on fake listings. Previously companies had to submit a request to Amazon to have a fake version of the product removed. Now and going forward, companies that are part of the Amazon Project Zero Program will have the ability to remove counterfeit products themselves without waiting for Amazon to take it down.
Currently, this program is only available by invitation but you can get on a wait-list https://brandservices.amazon.com/projectzero/waitlist
6. Contact Trademark Angel For Assistance With Hijacker Removal On Amazon
There are many advantages to obtaining a trademark for your Amazon brand. However, mistakes made in the trademark process can cost you thousands of dollars.
Because of this, you need an experienced trademark expert to shepherd you through the process from the start to finish. Trademark Angel provides assistance with trademark registration in Canada, US, UK, EU, Australia, China, and other jurisdictions.
What’s more, Trademark Angel now offers Amazon hijacker removal services as well. Call Trademark Angel in Canada at 226.246.2979, or visit our contact page to book an initial consultation.