Amazon first launched their Brand Registry back in 2015 as a beta test of a program intended to give more control of products sold on Amazon to the sellers who manufacture or are authorized by the manufacturer to sell those branded products. “Control” meant making it more difficult for unscrupulous competitors to sell counterfeits or crude knock-offs and do away with rogue listings and fraudulent accounts camped on to brand owner listings.
The beta period must have shown that, with a couple of tweaks, the program could be more successful. Amazon has now made those adjustments and, in May of this year, announced an open enrollment period in a new Amazon Brand Registry. Here is what you need to know now about what the industry is calling “Brand Registry 2.0”...
Specifically, the new Amazon Brand Registry requires brand owners to substantiate ownership of a brand by proving they hold the government-registered trademark for it. Once the brand owner provides that information, Amazon, in turn, provides the brand owner more control and a more accurate representation of their brand on Amazon via:
- Proprietary text and image search
- Predictive automation
- Increased brand authority over product detail pages
- Dedicated support (so far more responsive, usually within 4 hours), and
- Help in addressing potential intellectual property rights violations
Another change is that the new Brand Registry no longer resides wholly within Seller Central. It is now open to Vendors as well and exists as its own section of Amazon which you can access here if you have an Amazon account.
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What is “Proprietary Text and Image Search”?
The registered brand owner can have Amazon conduct a search on specific registered logo or text regarding their brand, and Amazon will scan their entire platform and report results of anyone using those registered items in their listings.
What is “Predictive Automation” for Identifying Rogue and Counterfeit Listings?
This is an automated system that learns and searches based on user input. As a registered brand owner suspects and reports violations of their registered intellectual property rights on Amazon to the program, the automated program learns how to look for and report on what it regards as usage violations in the eyes of the registered brand owner.
What is “Increased Brand Authority Over Product Detail Pages”?
The manufacturer of a given brand may have a wide network of distributors and may authorize resellers to sell and list its products. This feature in the new Amazon Brand registry allows registered brand owners to submit requests to Amazon for updates or revisions to any misinformation about the brand or item that may be contained in those listings.
What Comprises the New “Dedicated Support”?
Support for the owners of registered brands is now comparatively immediate (for example, Amazon is now responding to requests for the updating of listing content within hours instead of weeks). That’s a refreshing new commitment to owners of registered brands in the new Amazon Brand Registry.
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How Does Amazon Now Help Brand Owners in Addressing Intellectual Property Rights Violations?
The new Amazon Brand Registry’s dedicated support arm is committed to providing customers who seek, specifically, the registered brand a more enjoyable and satisfying shopping experience. Now, when a customer or brand owner flags an item as suspicious or counterfeit (such as through the proprietary text and image search service), the offending listing is quickly investigated and, if found to be fraudulent, taken down with comparative expedience.
When the registered brand owner registers their branded products, the product details they enter become the standard for those products and are considered by Amazon to be the correct titles, images and other detail for that product. Shopper searches done on the text and images contained in the listing for the brand registered product show higher in rankings. For that reason, it is very important for registered brand owners to match the exact verbiage, punctuation, capitalization, etc. in their listings to that which they entered in their brand registry. That’s not to say that an Amazon seller who traditionally does large volume on Amazon won’t surpass the registered brand owner in sales of the the brand owner’s item, but the protections against fraudulent sellers are in place.
To further set the protected brand apart from rogues, counterfeits and knock-offs, a registered brand now enables manufacturers to bypass the standard product identifiers ( UPCs, EANs) in favor of an alternate key attribute. A key attribute is an existing product identifier.
What the New Amazon Brand Registry is NOT
The new Amazon Brand registry is not a way to circle the wagons and build a protective fence around a group of branded products. That is called “brand gating” and, while permissible by Amazon in some situations, usually involves some stringent criteria and complex legal processes.
As well, the new Amazon Brand Registry is not available to sellers of products in the “Books, Music, Videos, and DVDs (BMVD)” category as well as products in the “Entertainment Collectibles and Sports Collectibles” category.
It’s important to make sure, when applying to the new Amazon Brand Registry, that the registration is considered full and complete by Amazon. Brand registrants can do this by accessing the reports provided by Amazon. These include the Inventory Report and the Brand Performance Report.
It is not a given that existing registrations will provide the new benefits, so brand owners that own the registered trademark should reapply into the new Amazon Brand Registry to receive the new benefits.
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