Forum Policy Change? No Longer allowed to share Uline Free Shipping Codes?


#1

I’ve been told by a 3rd party that they were “Officially Warned” (Red Envelope) for sharing a Uline Free Shipping Promo Code Via PM to other sellers.

This disturbs me in a few ways:

  1. Amazon mods, are you reading Inter forum Private Messages?
  2. Is it true we are no longer allowed to share, Via Public Thread or Private Message, Uline Free Shipping Promo Codes?

The 3rd party that told me about this is BEYOND upset and feels they have not violated any posted public policy, and I have to agree.

Can we get an official update on this policy @SEAmod @James_Amazon @Abraham_Amazon @Pax_Amazon @Ale_Amazon


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#2

I guess I have to say, WOW.
Not allowed to share info that is helpful?
I would also like some direction before I run into this issue.


#3

Hi @M_L_H – Access to private messages is restricted and unmonitored by default; however, if the recipient flags the message it may be accessed and reviewed by a Moderator. We have a data handling policy where sensitive information requires authenticated users and is on a strict need to know basis. Our posting guidelines within private messages are only enforced when they are brought to our attention, but our forums are not intended to be used to post commercial content, such as a promotion code.

Amazon Business provides numerous benefits to organizations, including business pricing and quantity discounts of packaging & shipping supplies.

Reference:
Forum Guidelines
Amazon Privacy Notice
Amazon Business
Packaging & Shipping Supplies


#4

So what you are saying is despite there being many threads, and sellers trying to help other sellers out (the core principal of the forums), Uline Promo codes are no longer allowed to be posted on the forums or shared with other sellers via PM?

We are seeking guidance here with a simple Yes they are allowed or No they are a violation Please.


#5

I take this as a fairly clear no.

I can’t say I agree in this case, or better yet I should say I don’t agree in this case. but at least I can understand the basis.

I feel like a friendly PM explaining the position would do much better than a warning PM though. Then after further issues a warning would be next.

JMO


#6

I feel Thor’s Hammer was used when a simple note would have worked, I completely agree, hence why I am asking for clarification, as the way it is posted above may not translate well for those forum users who do not speak English as a first language.


#7

Will all due respect @Oneida_Books, I would like to see an Official word from an authority higher up in the food chain than a forum mod. James is applying his interpretation of what “commercial content” is, which differs from the way others of us would interpret it.

I would like to have a response from someone involved in designing the forum guidelines, who could explain - either to us, or to the mod team - what the goal of having the wording “commercial content” was designed to prohibit. It’s utter foolishness, IMO, to claim the goal was to prevent people from sharing a ULine free shipping code.

I’ve already had a fruitless, hour long phone conversation trying to explain this seemingly (to me) obvious concept, but it fell on deaf ears. And as long as the Mods have the powers to censor posts that meet their personal interpretations of what terms like “commercial content” mean, and dole out punishment to users who disagree with them, we’re stuck with the current censored environment.

I don’t begrudge James (too much), he’s trying to do his job as he understands it and he clearly believes that sharing a ULine code should be categorized as “posting commercial content” rather than the exact reason these forums exist - to discuss our selling on Amazon businesses and the things that affect them.

The majority of the forum users, I venture, would disagree with his assessment. But since he controls the power, we’re stuck with what we view as censorship, but that he calls removing inappropriate posts.

I’m with @M_L_H, I would like a definitive answer - and an explanation that makes sense from someone in a position of higher authority than the board mods, as to why the sharing of a ULine code is treated as prohibited content by some of the mods. If there is a reasonable explanation for it, I’ll get on board, but that has been lacking thus far.


#8

Wow, I am a little disappointed in the sudden enforcement. (even though the code follows a simple pattern and is really easy to guess) Not hard to imagine that Amazon isn’t happy about direct competitors promo codes in the open forum.

The way I read it, Amazon doesn’t care what you do in PM’s if no one complains. If someone complains (by flagging it) then a mod will read it. Perhaps someone tried to PM you a flagged post?


#9

Wow reminds me about how youtube, facebook, and big tech our trying to control what info they believe is right and blocking the rest.


#10

It hasn’t been all that “sudden”. It seems the whole fiasco over ULine coupons started with an argument I was part of many months back. Someone posted the ULine code - which had never been a problem before - and then the thread deteriorated into two parties bickering over an unrelated issue and the mods removed it, presumably I thought, over the childish fighting.

I noticed it had been deleted so posted a new thread with the ULine code which had been lost in the deleted thread. That got me a Mod notice and led me into a big argument with the Mod who acted like ULine’s innocent little code was the worst of all evils.

We PM’d back and forth and even had an hour-long phone conversation about why sharing a ULine code would violate any forum policies. I didn’t receive any explanation that seemed to be grounded in any sort of logic, and came away feeling like the Mod, for reasons I couldn’t understand, had a personal vendetta against either me, ULine, or both of us.

This all happened sometime last year. There have been posts about ULine since then that weren’t censored, and this one may have escaped attention too, if not for the issue of it being quoted, and then flagged by somebody inside a PM.

But certain parties at Amazon seem to be extra sensitive to anything involving ULine, and I may be partly responsible for that for speaking up loudly and persistently the first time they blocked mention of one of their coupons. This all happened last year, so it hasn’t been suddenly at all, but it sure is aggravating as h#ll. :angry:

It’s just ULine. A supplier many of us here use. Sharing their free shipping coupons is not about promoting them or trying to drive business away from Amazon. It’s JUST about sellers helping others who we know use them. Cardboard shipping boxes are heavy and cost a lot to ship, and free shipping offers save people money.

Not hard to imagine that Amazon isn’t happy about direct competitors promo codes in the open forum.

Do you really see ULine as a direct competitor to Amazon? ULine sells shipping supplies, Amazon sells everything. This isn’t like posting (at least, IMO) a Staples coupon on an Office Depot discussion board. Shipping supplies are things that we all (online merchants) need and there are multiple sources for them - Amazon, EBay, ULine, ValueMailers… all of which are mentioned multiple time on these forums in the context of discussions about how to best support our businesses.

I do not see how sharing simple info that you can save a lot of money IF you need to order heavy cardboard boxes and IF you were going to buy them from a well-known non-Amazon supplier anyway… I don’t see how that is anticompetitive to Amazon in anyway.

I for one, have used ULine for years and am a huge fan. I do NOT buy shipping supplies from Amazon. I ordered bubble wrap and bubble envelopes from Amazon once and they were both cr&p. The only time I would buy from Amazon is if I were so desperate money-wise that cr&p was all I could afford. Otherwise, I buy elsewhere. Not just ULine.

I recently ordered bubble wrap from Office Depot, will I get flagged for saying that too? Am I making a “commercial post” for Office Depot? I don’t think I am, I think I’m just sharing my experience with other sellers who may be interested in buying bubble wrap for their Amazon businesses. The same goes for ULine and I can’t understand how they/Amazon can not see it that way.


#11

The ONE time I posted a code (Sept '19), I was slapped with a warning.
Had seen them posted many times before & was trying to be helpful.

Prob shouldn’t reply when someone asks ‘what are the best printers for item labels’ or ‘what are the best kind of shipping labels’, ‘where do you buy your shipping supplies’ etc.

Impossible to learn all the rules, especially with constantly moving targets. I thought ‘solicitations’ were attempts to direct people to one’s own product line, website, etc.


#12

We suspect that Amazon does not see it that way.

It is hard to imagine that Amazon does not since it sells shipping supplies too.

We do think that Amazon sees Uline as a competitor who’s quality products and lightening fast shipping pose a threat to their shipping supply sales when promoted to other sellers on the Amazon platform.

We also agree with you on many levels.

We have commented before that the quality of many shipping supplies stocked and sold by Amazon is lacking and that the shipping is extremely slow when compared to regular consumer products.

While ULine products are far superior the (sometimes unrealistic) shipping costs are the largest deterrent.

Sometimes depending on promotions or order volume we receive free shipping from ULine.
If we had access to free shipping codes all of the time we would never order the inferior shipping products that Amazon offers.

Thus… it is in Amazon’s best interest to suppress these codes on their platform.


#13

Nail, meet sledgehammer.


#14

So would this mean I could not post a reminder next February that Friday is national bubble wrap day?
(although Fastpak changed how they price bubble wrap now)
I disagree if there is a policy to not allow us to help each other with this type of information. This particular information has saved me quite a bill of money and, more important time over the past 17 yrs.
What about giving people tips on getting free shipping materials, is that a violation also?


#15

Anything that directs customers to a retail site outside of Amazon is forbidden, and this includes Uline free shipping codes.


#16

You would think that Amazon would be thrilled that sellers are actually the unpaid CSRs that they seem to imply the Seller Forum is and that we can actually help each other.

If they want this forum to be a big Amazon commercial than I expect a class action lawsuit about posters who help not being paid for our time by Amazon. You can’t have it both ways Amazon.


#17

We don’t know.
You would have to ask Amazon although the answer already seems fairly clear.

This is likely an accurate assumption.

We all participate willingly without expected or implied compensation.

Even though the premise is flawed, Billions of dollars, ownership of the corporation as well as participants signed user agreements… suggest they can.


#18

Anything that directs customers to a retail site outside of Amazon is forbidden, and this includes Uline free shipping codes.

Sharing a promo does not constitute “directing” customers off site, at least not IMO. If so, Amazon would have to suppress every single mention of ANY site where sellers can buy supplies, products, and inventory for their business. That means EVERY post mentioning EBay, ValueMailers, Fastpak, Office Depot, Staples, Walmart and who know where else would have to be flagged as an attempt to direct sales off Amazon.

That’s ridiculous, and as one would expect, it’s not what happens. But there does seem to be an attack against ULine specifically, which to my way of thinking is little short of censorship.


#19

So. What’s the c.o.d.e. fellas? Really need that one now!


#20

It’s certainly hard for ME to imagine that. We all buy things like tape, bubble wrap, poly mailers, cardboard boxes and some of us buy those from Amazon (which has been discussed without censorship), some buy from EBay (which has been discussed without censorship), some buy from numerous third party suppliers located all across the country (which has been discussed without censorship) and NONE of those are censored EXCEPT for ULine.

If we’re going to take the position that revealing any source OTHER than Amazon for people to buy the products they need is a violation, then the mods need to censor every single mention of these other companies too.

I just think the whole argument’s ridiculous. People need shipping supplies to support their selling on Amazon business. Amazon already makes big commissions from the fact that we all sell here. Is it reasonable for them to say ‘we demand that you only buy your shipping supplies from us too?’ That would be pretty ridiculous, and personally, I think it’s a stretch to think that Amazon is worried about where we buy our boxes.

They want us to keep selling here, and keep paying them commissions, and if we can find a good deal on supplies to help our businesses thrive, I don’t think they care. It’s only the forum police that seem to care, which is why I’d like to have a real authority from higher up at Amazon tell us if the mod’s interpretation of this is correct. Because I don’t think the big wigs at Amazon give two hoots about where we buy our boxes or whether we save money on our orders.

I thought ‘solicitations’ were attempts to direct people to one’s own product line, website, etc.

I think this ^^^ is exactly the reason why the no commercial solicitation rule exists, and sharing a ULine code does not violate the spirit of that rule. Not that I can convince a mod of it, though. :roll_eyes: