Have you noticed Amazon’s recent roll out of their new early incentivized review program? If you didn’t notice it, you aren’t alone! Amazon kind of quietly rolled out this new program that could make a huge impact for non-brand registered Amazon sellers. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott and Chris break down what the new program does, how impacts sellers like you, how you should respond, and they also go over some key information regarding brand registry. If you want to make sure you are up to date on all the latest Amazon news and how it impacts your business, don’t miss this episode!
What is Amazon’s New Review Program?
The first thing that you need to know when getting all the details on Amazon’s new incentivized review program is that for right now, it is only available to brand registered sellers. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott and Chris go through a rundown of all the known details of this new Amazon review program. If you want to get started with this program you just have to pay a one-time fee of $60 per SKU and they will do all the legwork of tracking down your products buyers and incentivise them toward leaving a review on your product listing as long as it has fewer than five reviews. This incentive is anywhere between a $1 and $3 Amazon credits paid to the reviewer by Amazon. To get more details on this program, make sure to listen to this episode!
How does this affect your email list strategy?
An important factor to consider when looking into whether you should participate in the new Amazon review program is how it will impact your email list strategy. Will you still be able to offer discounts and promotions via codes and still utilize this new Amazon program? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Scott and Chris as they cover how your current email list methodology will be impacted by this new program. This is an important factor to consider as you build momentum with your product launch, it may even cause you to hold off on launching your product with the timeline you currently have put together. Scott also makes the point that this could impact your PPC strategy as well. To hear Scott and Chris dive deeper into this topic, don’t miss this episode!
Does it help to FREAK OUT??
One thing that never changes about Amazon is that it never stops changing. You might have to read that a second time… The point is, Amazon is constantly changing and evolving for buyers and sellers. Is this new review program kind of startling and frustrating in light of their recent crack down on paid reviews? Of course, it is! But is it productive to get upset and bothered by it? NO! Don’t let this change or bump in the road knock you off course. Stay focused on what matters and how you can make the most out of this situation to grow and improve your business. To help you gain a better perspective on this new Amazon review program, make sure you listen to what Scott and Chris have to say on this episode of The Amazing Seller!
Amazon’s Brand Registry
Did you know that as of this writing, Amazon has reopened applications for its brand registry program? One of the big changes since the last time they were accepting applications is that this time around, you have to have a registered trademark for your product. This route is more for the individuals who are ready take their products and build a brand for the long term. If you are still in that phase where you just want to launch and test some products, this is not the best option for you to spend your time and resources on. To hear more about how Amazon’s brand registry program works and to find out if it’s a good fit for you to pursue, make sure to catch Scott and Chris on this episode of The Amazing Seller!
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
- [2:30] Chris breaks down Amazon’s new Incentivized Review Review Program.
- [14:00] How will this new program affect efforts with email lists and special offers?
- [16:00] Responding to the roll out of this new program.
- [23:00] Does it help to FREAK OUT?
- [26:30] What you need to know about brand registry.
- [35:30] Scott recaps the new review process and brand registry.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 378
TAS 378: Amazon's NEW Early Incentivized Review Program and What Does This MEAN for Sellers?
[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 378 and today we are going to talk about this new…
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…Amazon’s early review program and what this actually means. What did I just say? I just said that Amazon has its own review program now? Chris, are you there? Did you hear what I just said?
[00:00:25] Chris: I did hear what you just said.
[00:00:28] Scott: Is it true?
[00:00:29] Chris: It is and the thing that makes it even funnier or more funny for those who are grammar fans out there is that looks like they are doing a little bit of an incentive for some people to leave some reviews so it’s going to be interesting.
[00:00:44] Scott: Yeah this is going to be an interesting conversation. We’ve already had it a little bit on our TAS Power Hour. We seen it was rolling out. Our good friend Danny Brewer had posted something in the PLC classroom and brought some attention to it and yeah I thought that we should probably talk about it because some people are like, “I knew it all along. Amazon was going to create their own review program. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that they just did that. They told us that we can’t do it but now they are going to do it.” Chris I want to definitely dig into this, I want to talk about what this actually means from what we understand right now currently and who can use this because not everyone can use it.
They are not going to just let anyone do it or be able to use it so I want to talk about that. I also want to talk about what it means if you maybe don’t meet the criteria here. Are you still going to be able to get reviews? I also want to talk a little bit about some of the buzz out there of people saying they are able to follow up with their customer or your customer, theirs I guess is they classify that as but then also maybe what’s going on here maybe with following up with your customer in general. Are we going to be able to do that anymore or is that going to go away?
Let’s talk about some predictions a little bit, we’ll talk about the Amazon Early Review Program that’s rolling out and I’m not sure that everyone is seeing it yet. I want to talk about that. Before I do though let me remind you guys if you guys want to download the show notes, the transcripts, all of that stuff all the links that we talk about you can head to theamazingseller.com/378 and you can grab all the goodies over there. So Chris, where do you want to start over here on this big announcement? There wasn’t even really announcement. I think we’ve seen it under our tab in the advertisements or they advertised?
[00:02:34] Chris: It just showed up in our accounts and Amazon used to do a really good job of if you log into seller central they had that little news and headlines section. I think this is something they are quietly rolling out or maybe something that they didn’t announce there because it is only available to brand-registered sellers at this point so I don’t know if they are just not going to put it there because they don’t want everybody to see it or what. Let’s give everybody a real quick rundown on exactly how the program works and what the program is. That’s probably the best place to start.
[00:03:08] Scott: Well actually the one place I’d like to start though is and definitely you can start there too. Please start where you want to start I don’t want to not start where you want to start but it’s getting confusing.
[00:03:19] Chris: But I’m going to not start.
[00:03:21] Scott: But I’m not going to start there because if anyone wants to know where you would find this, you click on advertising and then you’ll see in there it’ll say “Early reviewer program” and then usually right below that will be lightning deals, promotions and if you are, enhanced brand content will be there up above that as well. So you’ll have campaign manager, enhanced brand content, early reviewer program, lightning deals promotions. That’s what they are currently the time that we are recording this underneath the advertising tab so go for it Chris.
[00:03:53] Chris: If you are eligible…
[00:03:55] Scott: Right if you are not eligible you won’t even see that. I think enhanced brand content is there but you have to apply. Is that correct?
[00:04:01] Chris: Honestly I do not know. It is only available to brand-registered sellers so all of the accounts that I work in are actually brand-registered at this point.
[00:04:10] Scott: Okay big help you are.
[00:04:14] Chris: Even if that dropdown is there for you, if you are not brand-registered you can’t use either of those features right now and if you can and you are not let us know. The way that it's set up inside of Amazon is they let us know that it's only available for brand-registered sellers and the number one thing on their FAQ for their early reviewer program is, “If I’m US based but not brand-registered can I participate?” And it basically just says, “No.” so you have to be brand-registered which we’ll talk a little bit about that because that’s the other big change that has come down in the last few weeks is that Amazon has rolled out their new brand registry so I’m sure that we’ll talk about that at some point here as well.
But the real kind of breakdown of this early reviewer program is Amazon understands that it’s hard to get those reviews in the beginning. Amazon also understands how important those reviews are and they get that they made it more difficult for us. They also understand Scott and you and I have talked about this at length that those reviews are important for conversion rate and that is something that Amazon really does care about. They want people to have a good understanding of the product before they buy it. It helps more people make an informed decision which means more people are, A, going to buy good products and B, fewer people are going to buy bad products which means Amazon pays less on returns and those kinds of things.
So Amazon does really want those reviews they just had issues with the way that we were going about getting them and legal compliance and all these kinds of things. So what they did last year in October is they got rid of the incentivized reviews which you guys have heard us talk about at length which means you can’t give a product away in exchange for a review or you can’t pay someone in exchange for a review as a seller. What they’ve done with the early reviewer program is they are basically saying, “Anybody that enrolls a SKU in this program can do it as long as you are brand-registered.” It costs $60 one time so basically you download a spreadsheet on Amazon and Scott and I got a kick out of this because it’s a one column spreadsheet.
[00:06:18] Chris: We went, “Oh man, you are going to have to upload all of these fields it’s going to be like the flat file or the inventory file.” and I downloaded it and I was sharing my screen with Scott and we both got a kick out of it because literally all that requires is that you put in the SKUs of products. So you just copy and paste the SKU in, save it and re-upload it and basically what Amazon will do is for any SKUs that you upload that have fewer than five reviews, they’ll charge you the $60 and then what they’ll do is they will actually go out and follow up with people who buy the product more aggressively than they would otherwise and for anyone who chooses to leave a review from the Amazon follow up, up to that fifth review. Does that makes sense Scott?
[00:06:53] Scott: Yeah.
[00:06:54] Chris: Review zero through five Amazon will offer them somewhere between a $1 and $3 Amazon credit in exchange for that review. So you are not giving anything in exchange for the review, you are paying Amazon and then Amazon is saying, “If you leave what we deem to be a legitimate review we’ll pay you $1 to $3.” The thing that makes this interesting is we were giving discounts and we were giving free products in exchange for a review. In this case it appears that they are going to be paying full price for the product and then Amazon is simply just going to follow up and incentivize them for taking action and leaving that review.
One of the requirements of this program is that the product is priced over $15. If you reduce the price under $15 at any point they are going to stop asking for reviews on that product so you do have to be selling it at what we would consider to be full price even if you launch it at $50 and then raise the price you can do that but you can’t drop it below that $15 while you are in the Early reviewer program. The other thing to keep in mind is you are not dealing with these customers, you are not selecting these customers in any way. Amazon is handling that for you.
The other thing that’s cool about this program is they are going to give a badge for any of these reviews that come in, review zero through five or one through five I guess and it’s going to have that little early reviewer flag. Scott you and I have talked in the past about everybody gets all concerned about whether reviews are verified or unverified and I generally say that it doesn’t matter and I think you feel the same way. Most buyers don’t know the difference but I do think that the badges for this are going to draw a customer’s eyes in the same way that the badge for the top five hundred reviewers or the top one hundred reviewer or the vine voice badges draw the eye.
I think Amazon is going to give these types of reviews a little more weight in terms of where they show up in the rank order of reviews like how they have the most helpful review, most helpful positive, most helpful negative, those kinds of things.
[00:08:54] Chris: I think the badges on these are going to have the same effect that the vine voice badge or the top one hundred, five hundred, one thousand reviewer type badges have in that and I also think that similar to the verified, unverified and forgive me if I get too much on the weeds on this, the one difference between the verified and unverified reviews is their weight in the star rank. Does that make sense?
[00:09:19] Scott: Yeah, where they show up.
[00:09:20] Chris: Amazon has that one through five star ranking system and if you get a one star verified review and a five star unverified review it doesn’t go to two and a half. It actually goes to two because Amazon weighs verified reviews more heavily. I believe they do the same thing with the bannered reviews like Fine voice and the Early reviewer and that kind of stuff so this could potentially be really, really good for you long term.
[00:09:47] Scott: Yeah it’s more like they would stick to the top easier because they are weighted differently. Now, the one thing I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong Chris but some people would think, “Well okay this is cool and if I get the approved by Amazon review or badge, they are vetted by them and all that stuff then that will help me rank better.” I don’t think this has anything to do with rank other than you could potentially get more sales because it’s going to convert higher which then in turn would help you rank. Am I wrong in thinking that Chris?
[00:10:26] Chris: I think you are spot on on that and if reviews play any role it’s very, very small. The thing that plays a role the most in ranking and we know this because time and time again we can demonstrate it is sales. Getting these initial reviews is extremely important and that’s why we talk about launching properly and I think this does have the potential to be a really nice tool to help us launch properly because now we can focus a little more on driving those sales. Yeah it’s $60 to get those first five reviews and Amazon seems like they are going to follow up pretty aggressively because obviously they want people to pay that $60 which means they are going to get those five reviews.
We can focus a little more on the sales perspective of that and I think this is going to come in more and more handy and you brought it up at the beginning as the email follow ups become less and less deliverable. If Amazon is the one that’s going out and doing this outreach and they are going to do it on our behalf, it takes one more thing off of our plate at least in the beginning. And you and I talk a lot about focusing on one thing at a time and I think in the beginning people need to focus the most on sales and the reviews will come. If you build it they will come and so if we can focus even more on that by utilizing this program I do actually think it’s a good thing long term.
[00:11:49] Scott: Yeah I agree. My only thing is we have built an email list in this new brand and this is a great way to test out this new review program. We actually have three products right now in that new brand that have over five reviews so we can’t even submit our products to get these five reviews so we are too seasoned already. We are already out there, we’ve proven that we are not new anymore because we’ve gotten over five reviews and we did it without really asking for reviews either other than just our normal follow up after we’ve done some initial launches through our email list.
But we do have a new product that’s going to be landing here actually as we record this, as we speak literary and we did enroll that one. So I think what would be interesting Chris is we are still going to do our traditional launch to that email list. Let them know we have a new product in and if you want to receive a discount we are going to have it up for three days like we’ve done before and then from there we are going to let them see our follow up with them with our follow up sequence that we already have in place but we are still enrolled in this program. Now we are going to discount probably 50% but what you are saying is that should not affect anything within Amazon.
It’s just that any of the sales that we drive that are through our email list that are discounted at fifty percent will not be eligible to leave a review. Is that true?
[00:13:27] Chris: Wait, what was the second half to that question? It sounded very different than the question I thought you were going to ask…
[00:13:35] Scott: Ha ha I tricked you. Okay so Amazon is looking for full price sales. Those are the ones that they’ll go after for a review, technically. Now if we create our own coupon 50% off and we send our email list to that we give 50% discount off, Amazon then will not follow up with those people in regards to soliciting a review. Am I understanding that correctly or maybe this will be a test?
[00:14:06] Chris: That’s probably going to be and that is the question I thought you were going to ask I just want to make sure. The way that it’s phrased and Amazon likes to… They phrase everything very intentionally. So I don’t know and that’s the answer so we will have to test it but the way that this phrase is, if the offer price falls below $15. As long as the offer price is over $15 which is our standard price that you guys set it should still be eligible even at the 50% off.
[00:14:36] Scott: Okay, again that’s going to be a good test because we can see that and then we can see if we get some of those Amazon badge reviewers. We can actually see that from an early reviewer program standpoint and see. I think that will be interesting because here is the deal. What if I pay that $60…?
[00:14:56] Chris: Then you happen to get five reviews before.
[00:14:58 Scott: Yeah and I happen to drive my own reviews because that’s what I’m doing on a regular basis. Then I wouldn’t probably want to do the early review program or I’d have to hold off on launching my product and then I’d have to push pay-per-click a little bit more aggressively than just launching. I want to launch, I want to get sales velocity as soon as possible so I can start ranking. And I think also it’s going to depend too what… I guess the competition level is also going to play into this because if you are launching products that need very little reviews to get sales and you are not really competing on reviews in a sense then I’m not really sure that it matters.
But if you are going to be doing it anyway and not really going after reviews and you want to just get a handful of reviews from Amazon themselves then I would say enroll in it. But again if you guys are not brand registered you are not even going to have this feature as of right now. If you are not brand registered, I’m sorry you are going to have to go out there and do it the way that we are doing it anyway which is building an email list and then launching to that list and then asking those people in their follow up sequences as far as to give us some feedback on their recent purchase.
I know there are some people that have… and even people listening are going to be like, “I knew it all along Amazon took the review groups from us and now they are doing their own review group. How dare they?” What do you think of that Chris and how do you respond to that?
[00:16:31] Chris: Good.
[00:16:36] Scott: You sound like you took a… You had to think about that you weren’t sure what to say. Now you’ve copied your thoughts…
[00:16:42] Chris: It’s one of those things where one, it’s Amazon’s playground so you have to play by Amazon’s rules. That’s just how it is. Now the opposite side of that and the side that that I think you fall on as well is look, the reason that Amazon did what they did is twofold. One, they were running into an FTC compliance issue in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission issued some guidelines and I believe it was five years ago at this point that it came out that affected a lot of people around the internet and Amazon was the behemoth in the room. They were the last place to fall and that’s where that disclaimer if you guys have been around long enough to remember the disclaimers that reviewers had to write. “I received this product in exchange for my honest review,” that kind of a disclaimer that was being used over the internet for several years because of this FTC guideline and Amazon was the last place to implement that.
What happened as a result of Amazon implementing that was that consumers stopped trusting the reviews. They were getting emails and phone calls and blog posts and people like Wall Street Journal were writing negative articles about Amazon. So Amazon has to do something to combat that so they immediately shut it down because it’s hurting their sales it’s going to hurt them long term. That makes perfect sense to me and we knew that was coming. Like we have a little bit of an idea of what Amazon is going to do in the future with some of the feedback follow up type emails because they were getting complaints about it from customers.
And so as a result of that they shut it down. Now we all ran for the hills with our heads on fire for a day or two after that happened until we realized that we could just launch products the old way which is the new way which is how we used to do it right, which is coming out and building those lists and doing those kinds of things which is actually better for our businesses long term.
[00:18:40] Chris: Now Amazon has turned around and said, “Look, we know it’s harder to get that initial set of reviews and we also understand… This is just my interpretation but it makes sense. We also understand how important those reviews are to selling the product and the conversion rate and all of the things that I said earlier selling more of good products and fewer of bad products.” That’s what Amazon wants to do. They want happy customers and they also need products in their catalog and so they are launching this as a result of that.
We haven’t tested this yet. We are literally about to, the product is arriving at the warehouse right now. It is enrolled in this program and we’ll be sure to let you guys know what happens as a result of that. But for people who don’t have a list I think this is huge upfront because Amazon is basically saying they are going to go do the work for you. They are going to reach out to some people a little more aggressively than we tend to and try to secure you that initial base of reviews. I also think that it’s cool because since it’s a “Amazon approved review” if that makes sense Scott, that they are going to stick around longer.
We’ve always had the mindset that that initial set of reviews like when we were doing giveaways we always said he initial set of reviews is there as the initial set of reviews. It’s going to go away at some point. Just bank on it going away and then we’ll get those longer term stick around type of reviews from the follow up sequence. This flips that on its head unless you say, “Okay I’m going to start with a base of five Amazon verified “reviews” and go from there.” Did that answer your question or was that just a long rant?
[00:20:10] Scott: No, no it totally did and again to me it’s going back to the Google days. It’s like if you are going to play in Google’s playground you are going to have to play by the rules. It’s like anything and I still see it as a huge advantage and opportunity for us to use the platform but does that mean that you should be banking and building your business on this platform alone? No, we’ve said that over and over and over again and we are going to continue to because that’s just the way it is but it just means that you are not going to go out there and manipulate the system.
They are doing it because marketers and people in this space have done that. They’ve found little loopholes, they found little ways to game the system and now Amazon their customers were seeing this as a negative thing and that looks bad to Amazon. So now Amazon has to fix that. So for them to come back and go, “Okay we do know how important the reviews are so we are going to allow to do this up to five we think that’s a good number.”
Who knows, maybe they’ll increase that to ten who knows? Don’t know but we all seen this coming we actually seen it with the lightning deals. Then that was the big thing, “Oh Amazon is doing their own deals now. Now you can do it through the lightning deals.” So they took away the review thing they then talked about doing this lightning deal thin then it was rolled out for free at first now they charge for it. I don’t know if they are going to charge for this service. They might do that in the future too who knows Chris?
No one really knows but my point is this, it’s always going to be changing but the bottom line is there is traffic there of people that have credit cards on file, of people that are searching for product, period, end of story. Do you want to play or do you not want to? I hear people say, “Well Amazon they just do whatever they want and they control everything so I’m just not going to do it. I’d rather go do something else.”
[00:22:12] Scott: What else? What are you going to do? Are you going to open up a brick and mortar store and then three blocks down someone opens up a barber shop that’s exactly like yours? Then what are you going to do? You are going to go to another town? Then you get someone else that can do it. There are so many things that can happen through this thing if you build a business or if you go and select the right products with the criteria that we talked about, low competition, low number of reviews, you are not competing for reviews your chances are going to increase to be successful in that business model or just build out a full brand and then you don’t have to worry about any changes or anything like this.
There’s things that are going to happen within the business and then we are going to have to adjust whether you are on Amazon or not so if you are not up for that you probably do not want to create your own business in general, period.
[00:23:04] Chris: Scott have you seen the movie Bridge of Spies?
[00:23:07] Scott: I have not.
[00:23:09] Chris: I watched that this weekend. I wanted to see it for a while. It’s a pretty good movie but the kind of the premise is Tom Hank plays this lawyer and he gets drafted by the state bar of New York to defend this Russian spy. Everything is going poorly and every time something bad happens he looks at this guy that’s this accused Russian spy and says, “Why aren’t you freaking out? You could go to the electric chair.” “Would it help?” is his response every time. There is no point in getting frustrated about it. It doesn’t help and that’s the mindset I think that we need to have in any business and especially on Amazon because things change all the time, Google changes all the time.
Amazon changes all the time and so my gut reaction any time something like this happens is everybody is freaking, “Does it help to freak out?” And the answer is, “No.” In this case whether it’s getting rid of the review groups or maybe moving down the road here a few months to say, “What happens if they get rid of seller feedback? Does freaking out about it help?” The answer is no, spend that time and effort figuring out a solution rather than focusing on the problem. And Amazon in this case has given us a decent solution to a problem that they helped to create but we also helped to create by abusing the system that existed.
The early reviewer program I think is actually a good solution for a lot of people and yeah it's $60 and you end up paying what’s that $15, $12 a review. $12 a review. Is that worth it to me? It probably is just to see at the very least to test it and see what happens as a result of that and to see what happens three months from now. Are those still the reviews that are at the top of the page and are those good reviews and are they solid reviews? If the answer to that is yes, if those are still those highly rated reviews in the eyes of Amazon, in the eyes of consumers then to me it’s totally worthwhile bucks.
[00:25:09] Chris: So I’ll offset the one review that I’m going to get that’s two stars that says I haven’t used the product yet right to push that one down the page. Is that worth $60 to me? Absolutely because it’s two sales. If I can increase two sales over what I was going to get at any point in the length of time that I’m selling this product assuming I’m selling it at $30, you guys can do that math for yourselves. If it’s $20 its three sales. If this program helps me get three sales over the time that I’m selling the product it’s worth it to me and I think that’s what’s going to fall out of that.
[00:25:43] Scott: Yeah so again people that are not brand registered number one this is not going to affect you one way or the other because you can’t even use this new feature and some of them that are brand registered might not be seeing it depending on your account. I’ve had that happen in the past where everyone else is saying that they are seeing it and I’m not seeing it and all of a sudden one day I see it so it will depend. Maybe before we jump off here today why don’t we talk a little bit about brand registry, what we know as of right now for getting yourself brand registered because as of right now it seems like it’s all about a trademark in order to make that happen.
Again going back six months ago that was not the case so again it’s something else that Amazon changed. Maybe we can just touch on that really quickly Chris and then we can wrap this up.
[00:36:36] Chris: Yeah let’s do that before we do that one other thing I wanted to touch on the earlier reviewer program Scott is parent child listings and this is something that Amazon actually finally seems to be acknowledging that it’s a thing. If you have a listing that has variations, you guys know that one of the things that Scott and I love about variation listing is that all those reviews are bundled together. Amazon only wants the parent SKU. So if you have that parent child type of a listing and you do want to take advantage of that early reviewer program it’s across all of the variations that you have that five review limit. So, you just attach the parent SKU, Amazon will go out to anybody who has bought any of those variations and will reach out to them for enrollment in this program. But once you reach five reviews on any of those they’ll stop the program. Does that make sense?
[00:27:25] Scott: Yep.
[00:27:28] Chris: Alright so let’s dive in a little into brand-registry and you guys may or may not know that brand registry was closed for quite a while, about two months. Does that sound right to you Scott?
[00:27:38] Scott: Yeah.
[00:27:39] Chris: And again everybody was freaking out about it because its change and any time anything changes that’s our gut go to reaction because we just don’t know but they have reopened the program and if you guys are interested you can join right now and I believe it’s just brandregistry.amazon.com. Now the kind of big change that they made upfront is that they do now require a trademark. Scott, do you have any resources for where people can go to get a trademark or to process some of that paperwork?
[00:28:10] Scott: Actually the one that we’ve been playing around with is, do you remember the name of that one Chris? We were talking about that one there.
[00:28:20] Chris: I do not but we can make sure to link it up on the show notes.
[00:28:24] Scott: Yeah let’s do that before I give out a link that it might not work. Go to the show notes page I’ll have a resource there for you for trademarks. We are actually playing around with one right now. So I’ll drop that link in the show notes but yeah I mean you can always go to trademark attorney, you can do it that way it’s expensive when you do it that. I think the last time I ran a trademark or did a trademark was upwards of $800 to $1000. This new one that we are looking at though which hopefully fingers crossed the process is good I think it is under $300. Anyway let’s link that up in the show notes we’ll do that for sure but yeah go ahead.
[00:29:03] Chris: Yeah it starts at $99 plus the filing fees which is not bad so basically all totals a few hundred bucks. If you guys want to build a “real brand” and secure that stuff long term that’s when I would go this route. If you just want to launch and test some products do not file for a trademark. Don’t spend that money on it until you are sure that it’s something that you want for the long term. One because it’s like a six month process and two because it is a couple of hundred bucks. But if you are going to sell that brand long term Scott’s Awesome Kitchen Supplies whatever that is, then make sure that you do that.
The other thing Scott before we dive into this is you don’t need brand registry upfront. You can brand-register at any point so what I would do if I were you is start selling and then go through the brand registry process specifically especially because you have to wait three or six months to get that trademark so you might as well be selling in that three or six months rather than just sitting on it. In addition to that trademark requirement Amazon has rolled out a few different things. One, right in the brand registry form they have a little checkbox that says, “Would you like to enroll ten or more brands in brand registry?”
And they’ve actually set up a brand registry report team that if you want to do that they are going to walk you through that process so you don’t have to do it manually. Obviously none of us, well maybe some of us are going to do that but the hidden thing behind that is they brought in a whole bunch of people, I believe it was a couple hundred people to help with the new brand-registry and do a couple things. One is to help those people with ten or more brands register and two hits to help with the enforcement and compliance.
So if you do put in a brand registry infringement claim or any of those kinds of things, they are going to actually help you as a person. They’ve also launched some new things that will help you with searching for people in Amazon who are infringing on your trademarks like logos and images and those kinds of things.
[00:31:08] Chris: The other thing that seems to be a part of this program and I haven’t seen it on my side yet but it was in their bullet point when they rolled this out is the ability to either whitelist or disallow. I’ll just call it whitelisting and blacklisting individual sellers who want to list your product. So one of the things that… Again the results of this change came from something who was that, Birkenstock. Amazon had a massive issue with Birkenstock because Birkenstock said, “We don’t want to sell on Amazon anymore there is too many people listing counterfeit, too many people just listing on our listings.” So Amazon came out and said, “Here is a way of dealing with this, you now can be Brand Gated.”
And so they are rolling out or appear to be rolling out Brand Gating to anyone who is involved in the new brand registry which means if you are brand-registered hijacking should be a thing of the past.
[00:32:06] Scott: It sounds great, I was going to say it sounds great but whether that’s the case or not don’t know yet. Amazon is doing this to really protect their platform. It’s their platform, they are allowing us and I know sometimes it doesn’t seem so but they are allowing us to use the channel and again what better way to get yourself or your business or your products and services in front of buyers? This is a search engine for buyers. People go there to buy stuff so it’s pretty important that you understand that and understand that they are going to try to make that the best platform for their customers and then you are a seller so obviously you have to stick to these rules and abide by all these things.
Having hijackers again that’s a problem that they have recognized, don’t think they haven’t. They are recognizing it. It doesn’t seem so sometimes but now a part of that will be this Brand Gating in a sense or brand registering so you then can Gate you brand and then only allow people that you are accepting to do that because then you will get a request that says, “Hey so and so wants to sell your product. Do you want to allow them to?” And then you would say yes or no. That’s in a perfect world, that would be amazing.
I believe that’s coming, I believe the first step here is to get brand registered and I think part of that is the trademark and then from the trademark I think once that happens then you are brand registered. Now anyone that’s already been brand registered as of right now you are good. You’re good. You are brand registered and you should be fine. They are not requiring you to go back and then show us a trademark it’s like you are grandfathered in. So if you are not brand registered yet and you don’t have a trademark the first step is trademark and then the second part of that is if you do have a trademark and the next step is to apply and that’s really it and then go through that whole process which isn’t a huge process to do. We did it without having the trademark thing it was pretty simple process.
[00:34:10] Chris: Yeah literary it’s a three step form within Amazon, even in the new one. The first step is to let them know that you do have a trademark they ask you for the registration or serial number and then the country of that and then they just have you answer a simple questions. “Do your products and packaging have a brand name and logo on them yes or no? What’s the brand name that you want to register?” And then they ask you how you are identifying your brand on those products and then what some of the characteristics of the brand are so that if you ever have a counterfeit claim they can evaluate it against that.
It’s very simple. It takes like ten minutes to fill out the entire thing. If you have a trademark I would definitely go do it now. It doesn’t cost anything at least as of the last time that I looked so it’s worth doing just to see some of the features that comes as a result of that.
[00:35:08] Scott: Yeah and probably as we learn more as we go through this process ourselves or have other people that take that information or go through the process and bring it back to us we’ll go ahead and we’ll probably do an update and we’ll do a whole episode on the brand registry process and trademark and all of that fun stuff so definitely be doing that in the future. This particular episode I really wanted just to talk about the Amazon’s new early reviewer program and what does it mean for us and to recap really quickly. What it means is, if we are brand registered we have an advantage to be able to get five reviews that are incentivized by Amazon.
Amazon can go ahead and they can solicit them however they want we just have to make sure that our product us retailing for $15 or more and then from there they are going to go ahead and take care of that for us. Really that’s as simple as it is what it means is we can have a little bit of an advantage again having been brand registered we have an advantage anyway but then we also have an advantage of getting these weighted… They are just more seasoned or I guess more authoritative reviews so this way here maybe they can convert better for us and maybe they are going to rank better inside of the reviews not your listing but your reviews as what’s being seen.
Chris is there anything you want to wrap up with before we do finish this episode and let everyone get on with their day?
[00:36:34] Chris: No I think you summed that up pretty well. I think the early reviewer program is worth a test if you have access to it and I’m curious and I would say let us know in the Facebook group at theamazingseller.com/fb what your experiences of that program are and how it turned out for you. Scott I know you and I have a product that should be going live any day now that’s enrolled in that program so obviously we’ll be letting you guys know how that works out for us and then if you guys have any questions on brand registry or anything like that tag us on the Facebook group with those as well.
[00:37:06] Scott: Awesome. Alright guys that is going to wrap up this episode. The show notes can be found at theamazingseller.com/378; show notes, transcripts and the links that we mentioned will be there as well. Alright guys that’s it, that’s going to officially wrap up this episode. Remember as always I’m here for you, I believe in you and I am rooting for you but you have to, you have to, come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, Chris is going to say it with us today on the count of three are you ready Chris?
[00:37:36] Chris: I am.
[00:37:37] Scott: Alright, are you sure?
[00:37:38] Chris: I am.
[00:37:39] Scott: One, two, three, “Take Action!” Have an awesome amazing day guys and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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