Podcast: How to Run a White Hat Business In a Black Hat World
March 10, 2020
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [00:22] Eric Stopper introduces his guest, Chris McCabe
- [01:42] Chris defines the term ‘black hat tactics’ and how people experience this on Amazon
- [07:07] Eric addresses one common underlying assumption people have about Amazon and how sellers can leverage Amazon’s customer service teams and tools to make their business legitimate
- [11:20] Eric shares how he handles customer support and the best way to approach Amazon’s customer support teams
- [13:29] The 3 levels of black hat tactics on Amazon
- [15:59] Chris’ advice to sellers attempting grey hat marketing tactics for their business on Amazon
- [21:01] Chris explains how something being flagged ends up in the Terms of Service
- [22:32] The changes Amazon has made to its management and support teams to address sabotage complaints
- [26:04] How to run a white hat business in a black hat world on Amazon
In this episode…
There are a good number of Amazon sellers who have been flagged for engaging in “black hat” tactics. Many of them do this to beat their competitors and improve their rankings despite these moves being unethical and detrimental to Amazon itself. Why? Because Amazon is customer-focused and works to ensure that customers get the best shopping experience and when things are manipulated by black hat tactics, the experience for their consumers won’t be as amazing as they would want it to be.
The question now is, how can a legitimate brand run it’s affairs in a black hat world on Amazon?
Chris McCabe, a former fraud investigator at Amazon, knows all too well what to watch out for and how to navigate the world of Amazon like the back of his hand. He joins Eric Stopper in this episode of the Buy Box Experts Podcast to help sellers learn how to run a legitimate business on Amazon without falling into the trappings of black hat strategies. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned on this episode
Sponsor for this episode
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of clients’ business fundamentals and an in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity on the marketplace, not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts Podcast with your host, Joseph Hansen. We bring to light the unique opportunities brands face and today’s e-commerce world.
Eric Stopper 0:18
Hey, and welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. This is Eric stopper. I am joined today by Chris McCabe. And Chris and I have recorded in the past, but we wanted to do something a little bit special. We’re going to do another topic here specifically, surrounding this time of year where prosper is happening and a lot of people are, you know, they’re getting their manufacturing finished in China. And so like everybody’s thinking about pushing products really heavily and preparing for q4. So lots of relevancy here. Chris McCabe, he’s a prolific voice in the Amazon space. I’ve said that before. I’ve had several conversations with him. He is amazing. And so we are going to talk about how to run a white business in a blackout world on Amazon Chris, welcome to the show once again.
Chris McCabe 1:06
Thanks This is my favorite topic lately with prosper coming up and defending your brand against black hat attacks actually not just brands it’s for private label and resellers. So you must be hearing about this topic a lot at five access.
Eric Stopper 1:21
Yeah, well, it’s it’s funny man there’s there’s a lot of different ways to to define black hat when it went in regards to Amazon. And so I think it’s probably that’s probably a fair place for us to start is in your mind what is what is black hat in a general sense and then specifically for Amazon?
Chris McCabe 1:42
Yeah, and well, Black Hat tactics where it comes from the definition originally was fraudulent behavior. if left unchecked, whether that was stolen credit cards, or people hacking taking over accounts. We worked on all that stuff when I was a fraud investigator at Amazon which have Course blended into my seller performance, related marketplace seller investigative skills and experiences. But in the Amazon context, Black Hat has kind of become its own thing because Amazon has its own ecosystem, you need your own definition. And the definition is expanded from just leaving a fake negative feedback for somebody or using a service to leave bad feedbacks and then later bad product reviews to really all kinds of nefarious behavior that can result in an attack on your company you know, your competitors attacking you. This is what this is where the workshop came from at prosper. This isn’t the happiest topic to be kicking around at a conference but people had to learn survival skills, if you will, to defend themselves otherwise, Black Hat tactics will rule your world and ruin your day and your month and your year if you don’t stop them. So
Eric Stopper 3:00
So we are right like Buy Box Experts definitionally right then by nature, our name even we were all about channel control channel governance helping you understand how to build a really solid foundation for Amazon because up until this point A lot of people in this space have just said like, oh, like Amazon is another channel that I sell through and 51 or more percent of e commerce transactions were done done on Amazon and and so I think that we can pretty much put that type of thinking to rest, right? If you are not focusing on Amazon as a, as a major channel as a product company. You’re either Nike or you are foolish, right? This is this is a big deal and you should definitely pay attention. So I get people, I get two types of people that come to me. Number one are the folks who are just getting their trash kicked, right. They’ve got lots of resellers. They’ve got some have had Chinese companies have hired they’ve hired Chinese companies to Just like foreign negative reviews for for their competitors, right and they’re really just kind of despairing and they don’t and they don’t know how to recover type of person, or those who are like, hey, so, you know Amazon, right, you know, all the all the the special tips and tricks and like the ways to get ahead, you know, like, what can you share with me? And since I’m representing an agency, right, like, let’s, let’s put the disclaimer on the table right now we’re partners with Amazon, you know, so we have to have a certain level of, of white hat, meaning 100%, white hat and our business, we can’t do any of the, the underhanded stuff. And this concept is mostly relevant. If you remember, like back in the days when the Google algorithm was like, the thing that everybody paid attention to. Right? They released like panda recently, I think it was, and that was specifically to combat some some black hat tactics on the Google side of things. And that’s been an ever evolving thing for And so, when it comes to Amazon, there are still lots of things that you can do that are underhanded. Right, there are ways to get ahead and
Chris McCabe 5:07
get away with a lot without the company finding you right away at least.
Eric Stopper 5:12
Yeah, I mean, I’m talking to the guy that had to go and hunt all of the evil creatures in the forest. And it’s hard when they’re everywhere, you know, you only got one sword, and they’re just coming at you at all angles.
Unknown Speaker 5:23
So that’s how I often feel.
Chris McCabe 5:27
One because we have long term relationships with brands and sellers who have been around for a long time who weren’t getting attacked until it started getting really bad, which again, gets back to what’s the definition of black hat on on Amazon. At this point? It’s almost anything nefarious, that’s anti competitive behavior, misleading, dishonest, abusive, I mean, you could file it under so many different teams. Why is Amazon creating so many different new teams which aren’t so new anymore, but abuse prevention? You know, why is there a seller abuse manager? Why are their entire teams dedicated to product review abuse? Well get What it’s because in the expansion of the entire marketplace, and Amazon’s rapid growth, this has come along with it for the ride, people who are willing to exploit gaps and loopholes, people who are willing to say, I want you to whisper in Amazon’s ear and do something special for me. Like you said, You’re 100% white hat. So am I, and so are legitimate consultants who aren’t out offering tricks and how to game an algorithm or trick a system because that’s a short term strategy. I’m guessing by bugs experts, mostly his clients who are in it for the long haul. And so to why I mean, at least, I mean, there are some people who get their account suspended, we get them reinstated. They don’t necessarily want to be with us for years. But everyone else, all the active sellers that we’re working with, we’re with every month, every day of that month, and those are people who aren’t looking for a cheap quick score looking for a quickie tactic to trick an algorithm or, you know, trip up competitor. I mean, that’s not what a legitimate business does, number one, number two, that’s not a long term Amazon play.
Eric Stopper 7:07
So I have I have a few, I have a few thoughts and I want to unpack a bit of what you what you were saying there. I think one really good place to start is something that I’ve preached for a while now. Let’s be clear. I love Amazon. Amazon has has created my career for me. And I have generated lots of wealth. My team members have generated lots of wealth for our brand partners. And Amazon is great. I’ve got I’ve got family members that are that are employees and executives there. So I’m tied into them pretty closely. I respect Jeff, I’ve read all the books, right like this is my space. But one underlying assumption that everybody needs to understand is that Amazon does not care about the sellers, the way that they care about the the buyers, the customers on Amazon, they’re all focused on the customer experience, low prices, better pictures better Brand X experience. And so if you’re thinking that Amazon is just going to pander to your every need, you’re wrong, assume that they don’t care. So that’s one of the first things that I want to do. But on the flip side of that, you were on a team, that was that was meant to help people, right? Like the customer service team at Amazon, they want to help their metrics are based off of how many, how many of their cases are successfully solved. And so Amazon is trying to combat this because more low priced items on the platform means more customers, which means more transactions, which means more money in their pocket. And so don’t assume that they just like aren’t going to help you. But you need to be able to get them to help you the right way. And I think that that’s kind of where this conversation goes is how do you leverage Amazon and the teams and tools that they’ve already put in place to make your business legitimate and this beautiful, just fountain of wealth for, for your entire enterprise and so Standing the teams and
Chris McCabe 9:02
their internal function, which it’s still even in 2020. So many sellers don’t get this stuff. As soon as you get it, the sooner you’ll have that fountain of wealth is talking about, and the less time you’ll spend fending off competitors, trying to discern what Amazon’s trying to tell you in a message like, for my way of thinking, to defend it to create a brand, launch it be successful, then defend it, then continue to grow. You have to be a realist, you have to be maybe a little bit cynical, like you said, maybe they don’t care. But you can make them care. And you can also do your homework on your side. And be aware of how these teams operate. You don’t have to be me having worked there for six years. You don’t have to be me having consulted for six years since you can actually learn and apply a lot of these skills and report things that are terrible and abusive that are happening to you the right way, instead of a way that’s just spinning your wheels that’s going to waste your time and their time. And like you were saying a moment ago, on understand where they’re coming from and what their interests are, not just what you need, what your interests are. You can also even turn it around sometimes and think about what can I do for them. I’m talking to a category manager today who can maybe help me expand my presence within this really important category. Maybe you saw more than one category. And my only going to go into this conversation which could only last 1520 minutes. First call with a category manager thinking about I want you to tell me what you are going to do for me to help me with my problems. Are you going to present yourself as Hey, I can be a player in this category. I’m going to make you look good. Because I’m, I’m doubling or tripling my revenue this year. And I’m launching three new products next year. Will it be tough given you know, some of the product reviews we’ve had or some of the struggles with seller performance? It might be tough, and I’m hoping you and I can have a conversation about that when it happens. But my focus is on growth, selection, offering good product, good prices, and I’ve got a whole bunch of great positive reviews that we already received on some of our products, so on and so on and so on, you’re helping them solve a problem, quote unquote problem that they have. It’s part of their job. And and that’s something sellers sometimes miss, they’re focused on like, what can you do for me? Well, you’re a small, you’re a small part of a giant company, think about what you could do for them as well.
Eric Stopper 11:20
Well, the way the way that I approach virtually any I mean, anybody that I do business with anybody that’s in a customer service or relationship with me, at least I tried to do this, right. I’m not perfect. But I assume that the person on the other end of the line for me, is just a normal loser like me, right? They go home, they have a totally normal life. They’re totally normal people, right? They, they go on a fight with their spouse at the beginning or the end of the day, right? They’ve got kids that are getting bad grades or good grades, they’ve got extracurriculars that they engage in, and if you speak to that with them, you’re gonna have a much better time. Right? So if you’re trying to solve the issues that come From the fact that other people are doing black hat stuff, it might is it might as well do you the highest order of service to enlist Amazon to your health by treating them like human beings. And I think that that’s one thing that we’ve become particularly good at and I’m sure that your team is good at is when you when you submit an appeal a legitimate appeal. You’re talking to a person, right and and you’re trying to get them to take some sort of action that will benefit both of you. So the way that you talk to them the way that you ask for things, the way that you present your plan of action, when there’s an issue that gets escalated to seller performance is going to absolutely impact the way that that probably Yeah,
Chris McCabe 12:39
If I mean sometimes you have to be a little pushy if they’re not reviewing anything and they’re sending you the same message over and over but you can be positive pushy or you can be pushy, where you’re just bagging on how they do everything. I understand the frustration. I mean people there’s a temptation for people to do that. But it’s not an opportunity to vent. And as you were just saying, you might be venting at the entirely wrong person or wrong team, because you don’t understand what happened in the background, they might understand it. And maybe just a lack of perspective, they want you to understand that even though you don’t work there the way they do, but like you said, they’re not being treated, the way they want to be treated. They’re not being written to or spoken to the way they want to, and they’re not going to read it, they’re just gonna toss it.
Eric Stopper 13:29
In now in, in my mind, they’re kind of, they’re kind of three levels of what I would consider black hat on Amazon. The The first one is what your customers do to you, right? Like, there’s a reason that you put traps where you see where you see footprints right like animals and we as humans as animals, we will always take the path of least resistance, right? So if I can, if I can push and I try not to do this, right, I try to return it legitimately but some people will say that it’s like, damage or the wrong side. Everyone’s going to do that. Right. And so then you have to be really good at customer service in a whole bunch of other things. The second layer is what I would call like, tactics, marketing tactics. And then the third one is, is when they’re actually like targeting your business. It’s like it’s business. I don’t really have a name for it, but it’s when they’re leaving a legitimate reviews or their sabotage. Yeah, sabotage is probably the best way to put it. So let’s try that. Let’s try to hit on all three of those if we can. I think Customer service is probably the the easiest, the best solution to making sure that the black hat at the very bottom of the funnel with your customers is is solved and resolved. But I want to talk about kind of the the marketing tactics for a second. And we’ll and we’ll get to kind of the sabotage piece of it and how you can help with that. But we as an agency, we don’t we Don’t do any gray hat, right? Like we don’t even even try to step close to the line. But I don’t even believe in grey hat. By
Chris McCabe 15:06
the way, I’m living in a black and white world over here. So,
Eric Stopper 15:09
- So you know what this is good because I have a brand and I’m not going to say what it is on this podcast. But I have a brand that I try every tactic possible, just to test, right I tried to test heuristics how people purchase the product. I even tried like putting a little blue like a blue prime.in one of my first pictures to give the illusion of prime to see if that increase my conversion rate. I will launch exactly what that did. But like, that’s my test account. And I and I try all these practices to see what Amazon’s response will be. And they have never shut me down once. Interesting. So I’m wondering what kind of what kind of advice would you give to the sellers who are considering these types of gray hat marketing tactics?
Chris McCabe 15:59
I mean, Consider the risk before you and it might not be great Amazon, that’s one thing you should think about first. They might be, they might believe you’re creating annoyances for them, they might not take your account away right away. But they might send warnings start deleting listings. I can speak to my personal experience when I was investigating accounts when I was in solid performance, and I was assessing merchant risk on a daily basis and I was looking at any attempt to kind of circumvent a ruler or game a system, I might say, you know, this is kind of borderline, I could do nothing, I could just pass this investigation, but this also appears to be creating customer confusion, bad buyer experiences. Some people say items not as described, this isn’t what I hope for whatever it might be, wasn’t what they thought was worth their money. And when you see that enough times again, thinking like an Amazonian for a second. It’s a risky marketing tactic because if you think like an Amazonian you have to consider the hundreds of thousands of times they’ve seen that same thing. Maybe not thousands, maybe they’ve only seen it a dozen times. But it only takes 234 times in a row for me to see something reported, as an investigator to pick up a report, this is abuse, this is a catalog or whatever. And to take action on it to get to the point where I’ve sort of been frustrated with it. This is creating work for me and my team. And the more these come in, if we screw one of them up, one of our heads could be on a platter for missing it, even if it’s just one out of 100. Right. So that’s, it’s actually risky for me as an investigator to miss something. And it’s all because of tactic like that was employed. So what does that gives me the incentive to do? I can tell you again, I’m not going to speak for every investigator I worked with, in my experience, I would get to the point, especially if I saw the same account twice, I would get to the point where I’d start deleting listings and sending warnings for policy violations. I wouldn’t suspend as quickly as they do today. I don’t think anyone anticipated that suspend as easily as they do now. But I would take listings away and that would be an annoyance for For the seller, and if they, you know, some people out of spite would relist that I would delete all of their listings for a secondary violation. And then if they kept doing it, obviously you’re suspended. But to that person, I guess what I’m building up to is to that person. It’s not a gray hat marketing tactic. It is out in the marketing world, like, hey, try this out. This isn’t 100% black against the rules, but for an Amazonian if they’re seeing games being played, or you’re trying to circumvent something, they’ll play them back. to them. It’s just bad behavior. And they’ll play the game back, which is by the way, I have power over you. I can do things to you that you can’t do to me, you can complain about me. And I did. I saw some emails where somebody said, You know, I don’t think you needed to, not to me personally, but to Amazon. Why did you cancel all of my listings? And I was thinking in my head, well, you know, what if my manager ever called me on the carpet and said, Well, this guy has a point you cancelled 1000 listings of his and he only had a few. I would go back into the annotations and say, Well, you know what we warned him a month ago, and we warned him two weeks ago. And even at the point so I can justify it. I’m not saying that half plays out exactly that way today, but I would have been able to defend it and I would have felt good about doing it because that does discourage the person from continuing to do this right.
Eric Stopper 19:15
Right. Yeah. Punishment punishment is a is a pretty good way of getting people to stop doing an action. You usually want to reward good action right? Like he wants you I spend lots of money on advertising and put better pictures in and make more money. Right one question that I left alone
Chris McCabe 19:31
if you’re doing well right, don’t hoard isn’t necessarily a gift box. It’s you don’t hear from me. No scrutiny.
Eric Stopper 19:39
Yeah. If you’re under the micro the microscope of Amazon that’s and that’s not the place you want to be in. Yeah, right there, the sun and you’re an ant.
Chris McCabe 19:47
Right. And you’ve you’re you’re doing a brand, you’ve solicited product reviews and you’ve got messaging for that I’m sure for your buyers. There’s some people who have been worn multiple times for your your your Playing this so called gray hat review request game. And obviously that’s subject you can easily pick out a few tactics, call them gray, and not black. But once you’ve been warned for something like that, it’s you have to make sure you, you have to make sure you reel it in and you’re much more conservative. That’s kind of my main advice for people who get worn don’t start saying, well, but my interpretation of that policy is Oh, and I went to that Facebook group, and I had three or four sellers say that they agreed with me, no one cares.
Eric Stopper 20:31
Right? You’re going you’re going to Moses, and you’re trying to you’re trying to analyze the fifth commandment right and get him to make a slight change there. So one one question that I’ve always had is, if if something gets flagged, right, you take some sort of action based off of the frequency of something coming up. How does it make its way into the terms of service? How does it actually become black and white when it when it was, you know, quote unquote, gray
Chris McCabe 21:01
Um, I mean, people thought something like, oh, we’re going to report these guys for selling a counterfeit version of our product because it’s considered materially different. That didn’t used to show up in the code of conduct violation, suspension notification. They added it later because people were trying to use their own little loopholes for explaining that anything could be reported. justifying that any anything can be reported as counterfeit, simply if I don’t want to sell or selling my stuff on Amazon. Right. So that made the leap because there were thousands and thousands of people trying to exploit that loophole. And then you start seeing rewritten parts of Terms of Service. And going back to product reviews, they’ve rewritten a lot of that content ever since fake reviews became so bad. Because they now consider that manipulating a not just a buyer experience, but a buyer and manipulating algorithm algorithms and sales rank that’ll hurt other sellers. You’re essentially hurting Amazon’s revenue And other sellers and buyer experience all at once. And you’re going to break rules like that. Yeah.
surefire way to get it into to.
Eric Stopper 22:09
Right. Yeah. And and and for those listening, right, like, Amazon is very much like your local government, you know, they don’t care if you didn’t see the speed limit sign, right? You know what I mean? Like, it’s it’s not their responsibility to educate you, you have to go and educate yourself. So make sure that you keep that in mind. I let’s talk about sabotage, because that’s the world that you really plan. And that’s and that’s a big reason that we wanted to have this conversation.
Chris McCabe 22:32
We we had to pay a lot more attention to this, I would say starting in 2018. And that’s when I first started offering services, defending brands against attacks, helping people report abuse to Amazon teams, back in 2018. And then until last year, we saw that a lot of sellers were still complaining that they’re reporting things appropriately and not getting any response at all. We struggle with that. I think a lot of sellers consultants, everybody was having trouble reporting things and seeing meaningful review and action on the Amazon side. The good news and this is something I’ll be talking about in more detail at prosper next month in Vegas. But the good news is a lot of heads have rolled, and teams have changed leadership and management. And there are changes we can evaluate in a couple of months if those changes were as positive as we hope they will be. But at least Amazon’s aware of how bad this is. They’re aware of the need to make changes. They’re aware that they have to either rotate around some managers or in some cases push them out entirely if people weren’t cutting it, and they weren’t taking the problem as seriously as sellers have to and as our clients have to, and the kinds of sabotage the nature of sabotage is changed used to be simple things like leaving negative feedback for a competitor and buying from them. I was lucky maybe when I was in seller performance and using the tools sellers were releasing lobby and basic about this they would use their own buyer account to buy from a competitor.
Unknown Speaker 24:06
Just to complain about how bad the product was,
Eric Stopper 24:07
I mean, this is like these personal accounts from like,
Chris McCabe 24:11
they use like ancient history sloppy, disorganized tactics there. There were entire black hat companies dedicated to doing this for you in those days and now there are but the good news is Amazon has created some of these additional teams there’s PR a product review of us didn’t exist a few years ago. That’s a newer team newish. And there’s a seller abuse, there’s a head of seller abuse, there’s a new head of seller abuse. There’s a new head of product review abuse. I mean, if Amazon knew or thought that they knew this was being taken care of. And the sellers concerns are being addressed, they would not have changed leadership on these teams. But last fall, q4, November, October, December, a lot of heads rolled, a lot of changes were made. And now you can identify at least maybe not on LinkedIn, but you can figure out Who at least the teams are even if not the leaders of those teams. And you can start saying, hey, I need to escalate this, no one’s doing anything about it. I know you have new leadership, I would like a senior investigator or a manager level, team member or just a manager to review my case, because I’ve got this kind of proof and this kind of proof in this kind of proof. If you don’t have anything useful to report, then I’m not recommending the people escalate it like that. If you have specifics, and they’re ignoring them, then you at least have somewhere new to go. If that team doesn’t perform, then yes, you have to go back to executive seller relations and some other escalation pads. But sabotage is well known by Amazon. It’s well known by us, at least the elephant in the room has been acknowledged. And we know it’s being addressed instead of everyone putting their heads in their sand and the sand, right?
Eric Stopper 25:49
Well, we’ve we’ve touched on this over over the length of this episode, in a couple of different ways. But if you had to kind of wrap everything up and summarize everything, how do you run White Hat business and a black hat world on Amazon.
Chris McCabe 26:04
First of all, understand who you’re if you’re hiring a third party consultant, understand if they’re black hat or not understand what they’re doing with their time on your behalf. You’ve paid them, maybe maybe spend some time understanding where some of that fee goes as well, in terms of are they white hat in their dealings with Amazon? Or are they doing shady, bad behavior that, I mean, actually, they’re doing it on your behalf. So even if you claim later that you weren’t aware of it, you’re kind of on the hook for that to at least partially. So understand which consultant you’re hiring and how they’re performing the work on your behalf. Everyone knows there’s lots of black hat companies out there, and a lot of them would not exist unless they either used unauthorized access to company employees or company teams, or sometimes they’re just faking that they have that access, and they’re just out there to kind of spin you in circles. But that’s a seller’s responsibility to at least do some due diligence and figure out which consultant Or expert quote unquote, you’re paying. The second part of that is do some homework and spend some time, whether it’s nights or weekends if you can’t do it during the business day, but learn about how internal teams work, and how investigators think and how they’ll interpret an abuse report if you’re being sabotaged by a competitor, and your images are being swapped out, and there’s some old vendor central loophole that’s being exploited. And catalog abuse is affecting you and your sales. I mean, understand what’s happening on the inside, when you report something, spend time with people like me who have worked there, or at least with somebody expert knowledgeable about how teams assess reports, how they review them, how you can escalate it, if it gets stuck. Every every year, I guess I’m going to a large conference like prosper and I’m talking to sellers that have these major major gaps and problems that are costing them tons of revenue, and they have no idea how it works on the inside. And trust me there are resources and you don’t necessarily have to pay for a lot of those resources. I write a blog on my website. I give interviews all the time. We’re talking about it right now, I’m not being paid by globox experts to talk about this stuff. So there are resources, but you also have to have a bit of a, you know, Bs detector to make sure that you’re listening to the right stuff. Don’t listen to the wrong people have a way of understanding what’s fake knowledge, what’s a fake guru versus a real one. And then beyond that, just have a thick skin. And not just be savvy, but understand and don’t be naive about what selling on Amazon is. Because you might if you’re successful, you might have a good chance of being attacked at some point, at least on the same level, if not your entire account. But understand that it’s not personal, I guess. I mean, I know it feels personal if you put a lot of effort into a company, and a product and you’re getting all these fake reviews for unsafe products or fake products. But understand that this is just how the game is played right now. The smart strategy is to recognize that to put emotion to the side and to start stirring energizing how to troubleshoot it. So you’re attacked by somebody saying you have fake products or counterfeit products. Well guess what, if you have bulletproof infallible supply chain documentation, and you have a pretty good sense of how that can be appealed and handled quickly or escalated and then handled quickly, then you’re going to survive that and you’re not going to be impacted that much by it. It’s much better to put that emotion into the strategy side of things than to vent. Or, you know, complain. I understand the frustration and the complaints. I mean, believe me, I hear him all day. And I think most of them are valid, but that’s not as productive or practical as working on, you know, a battle plan and a solution.
Eric Stopper 29:44
Right? Yeah. And don’t lash out. Don’t try to use the same poison because it’s just gonna, it’s just going to come back and bite you in the butt.
Chris McCabe 29:51
Yeah, I’m crazy. Also, when you when you write to Amazon teams, and you say you guys are all phony, you’re all fake. You’re all crooked traffic. Yeah, there might be something legitimate that you’re complaining about like somebody on a catalog team or Brand Registry or whatever did something that they shouldn’t have done to your listings your account. But again, circling back to our initial point or your your point, it’s not necessarily somebody in seller performance he did that. Even if it was totally shady and you are totally correct, you’re screaming at the wrong person. And just keep that in mind. I know it’s not easy to navigate all these channels. But just remember that it’s counterproductive to scream at the wrong man or woman who’s reading that message.
Eric Stopper 30:37
I couldn’t agree more. And Chris, I will, I will see you at prosper. And hopefully everybody who is watching this on YouTube or listening to this podcast will also come and chat with us and come to the panels. Get involved. We’ve got a we’ve got a great program plan this year. Lots of great speakers. And and we just love to see you Chris, anything else that you want to share with everybody here?
Chris McCabe 30:58
Just Lastly, the words Shop blackhat tactic defense that’s on March 23. That afternoon and then the seller performance panel that I’m sitting on is the next day the 24th Tuesday. So yeah, looking forward to seeing people. It’s it’s an exciting time of year, like you said, and I’m looking forward to getting out to Vegas soon.
Unknown Speaker 31:18
See you soon, Chris. Thanks.