Clarification of Amazon’s Policy on Rebates, Coupons, and other Marketing Incentives


#1

The Amazon Seller Code of Conduct requires acting fairly, and prohibits manipulating sales rank. We have recently received several seller inquiries regarding Amazon’s policy on incentives that drive customer discovery and conversion—particularly through rebates, coupons, and other marketing incentives—and are offered outside Amazon as a way of driving a purchase in our store.

We welcome and encourage coupons, discounts, deals, and other tools to lower prices for customers and drive incremental sales—but only when those incentives are part of the product offer made in our store. Amazon offers numerous programs to help you drive discovery of new products and increase sales through lower prices, and we welcome sellers advertising the same pricing and discounts off-Amazon as they offer in our store. However, we consider it a violation of the Amazon Seller Code of Conduct if off-Amazon rebates, discounts, and other schemes are designed to drive customers to products that are listed and sold without those incentives on Amazon. These practices are potentially abusive to customers and other sellers, as they may inflate search ranking, incentivize product reviews, and generate artificial traffic and conversion behaviors.

Specifically, it is a violation of the Amazon Seller Code of Conduct to manipulate search rank to artificially boost your products’ search ranking, including through ‘two-step urls,’ ‘super urls,’ ‘funnels,’ ‘treasure hunts,’ ‘search-find-buy,’ and any other form of false or misleading behavior. A service by any name that’s intended to artificially boost search ranking or portray a discounted sale as full-price, is a violation.

We would like to remind sellers that you are responsible for the actions taken by your account, even those handled through third-party service providers. Sellers who may not have understood this policy previously should end these practices immediately, as they are in violation of the Amazon Seller Code of Conduct. In addition, we continue to audit developers in our Seller Central Partner Network to ensure they are not offering abusive services, and we are removing any applications that violate these terms.

Please see the full Seller Code of Conduct within our Selling on Amazon policies. If you have any additional questions, feel free to post them here.


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Amazon Keep send me Warning of Misuse of product ratings, feedback, and reviews
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#3

I do not have a question but an applause for this clarification as it has long been needed.
The amount of offers for rebates and free products has caused me to buy less on Amazon as these have been part of the packaging.
And such offers have been on social media for a long time also which has irritated me.


#4

Ditto.

I have seen the Facebook scams calm down quite a bit over the last 45 days. I suspect Amazon busted them (thank you).


removed this banner . It will no longer appear at the top of every page. #5

pinned #6

#7

^^^ THIS ^^^

Thank you, Susan!

:smiling_imp: I kinda want to tag some folks in this thread…but I won’t: 📲 (MORE!) Seller TOS violations via Facebook advertising.


#8

I just want to reiterate and expand on this part some. If not appropriate please remove.


#9

So to further clarify, if these same offers are on Amazon as well, then they are within TOS? EG: a rebate in the package of the product sold on Amazon.


#10

@SEAmod
Ive been telling people for years that one day, two step URLs, rebates, things like that could just go away and be against TOS overnight, just like one day it was ok to do incentivized reviews, and the next day not. This message would seem like its a step in that direction, but usually TOS changes happen at the TOS level. Will the TOS be updated soon to make this official? For example, in the beginning there, you said that the TOS mentions manipulating “sales rank.” I think everyone understands that. However later on you mention many other things such as search ranking, conversion behaviors, and specific URLs and other things that are not mentioned in the TOS, nor Seller code of conduct. Do you have a timeline on when this will be updated? For example, in the Seller Code of conduct you linked to, it still says " * Manipulating sales rank (such as by accepting fake orders or orders that you have paid for) or making claims about sales rank in product titles or descriptions" so it still is referring to the best seller rank of how people try to get on top 100 lists or gest best seller badges, and people who try to say “amazon best seller” or things like that in their title or descriptions.

Also, you mention “off amazon rebates and discounts” not on amazon are prohibited. So if samsung, or any company, for all of their products has some kind of discount code in product boxes or rebate offer that is nationwide (and of course has nothing to do with incentivized reviews), would this now be in violation of the potential new TOS?


#11

This is already an effort to manipulate sales rank, but the basic message is that if a promotion was not created within Seller Central, using one of Amazon’s “numerous programs,” then it is a violation of the SCOC.


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#12

I understand what you mean here, but I suspect that Amazon might be unwilling to be any more specific than “any attempt to manipulate sales rank.” Its not necessarily the tools but the intent when using them, I imagine.

However, I’m like you and prefer that Amazon be specific when they can, perhaps by offering a list of “prohibited behaviors” with a blanket “and any other actions determined to be used in violation of the SCOC.”

FWIW, I think this IS official.


#13

When this “popped up” this afternoon, after many of us helped with the “Test” today, I thought, ugg, I have to read through all this?

To that point, many of those that break these “Seller Code of Conduct” rules need this in simpler words. Having spent much time traveling the world in a past life, simple short words, bullet points. Keep it short, works much better than many paragraphs.

Honestly & respectfully Susan, our team appreciates what you do each and everyday.


#14

:grin: I vote for this:


#15

Finally.

Stupid question. How is Amazon planning to find “search find buy” schemes that are facilitated off Amazon ?

We always considered this to be a black hat. This clarification was certainly needed for a while, i feel Amazon left it vague for a reason.

However it seems that there are two winners with this announcement.

  1. Overseas sellers with 50+ accounts. They will double down on this tactics. And will probably achieve better results.
  2. Amazon Advertising with pay per click costs doubling or tripling…

#16

I still have a problem with search-find-buy. If some follower on social media wanna buy my product, then I tell him/her to search with a keyword that can leads him to the product. Is it categorized into search-find-buy? If it’s prohibited, then what is a good solution to this? Tia.


#17

I understand the desire to keep things vague in the TOS but honestly, these things need to be spelled out and added to as new “tricks” come out.

But why you ask? To better protect those sellers who are honest but don’t know better AND to better protect Amazon in any future lawsuits that come from axed sellers.

It is not enough legally for Amazon to make super vague terms and expect them to hold up in court.

I wish Susan had also taken the time to define the items as Oneida did.

I also wish Amazon would be clearer about “rebates” and free offers for items you purchase. They are against the rules but seem to be allowed by Amazo for MOST of the popular selling items.

I know if I did that, my account would be suspended before I could get 200 out there but these brands send out thousands a day for years without any impact.

@SEAmod

Here is an idea that Amazon would love and honestly I think most sellers would love. When a brand or ASIN or both get caught doing such bad behavior (the ones you listed and the one I listed) why not penalize the brand or ASIN. Double the Amazon commission fee for 12 months for ANYONE that sells that item or brand. (That way they can’t simply use a new account or accounts to get around the impact).

Maybe also make that brand and/or ASIN ineligible for advertising or maybe that costs per click are doubled during that 12 month period.

Then use any additional funds created by these two fines toward more employees tasked with enforcement (which would lead to more fines and more enforcement!).

While I have you reading (maybe, lol) I once again also want to bring up similar ideas regarding deposits for IP claim filings again. They can be fully refundable if either the claim is backed by a court ruling or the seller agrees they violated the IP and pays the same fine.

Either way, Amazon gets $500 for almost every single IP claim…which could pay to have US-based staff actually investigate and track these claims.

So many issues that Amazon has right now could be fixed with smart programs that cost only the bad eggs to run.


#18

Dude, am I the only one who feels this was said clearly and in no uncertain terms? @SEAmod can you please be this clear, like always?

Thank you!


#19

THANK YOU…I was lost…now I understand. Still learning the advertising piece in the Amazon Universe…a LOT of moving parts. :slight_smile:


#20

Amazon should tell this to their Chinese sellers that love to manipulate the marketplace - apparently without recourse.

Also when one seller threatens another seller regarding a shared listing Amazon, if the threat went through the Amazon messaging system and is verified the violator should be removed and banned permanently from Amazon.

If a seller deliberately manipulates a shared listing by changing the pictures, title or description knowing that the changes are false and done to deliberately affect competitors and is verified the violator should be removed and banned permanently from Amazon.

THIS WAS FLAGGED - WHY - ITS THE TRUTH