Eighty-three percent of Amazon sellers believe linking back to their product detail and storefront pages in buyer-seller emails is acceptable within Amazon’s Terms of Service.
Buried inside the bowels of Amazon’s all-encompassing seller Terms of Service exists a section with guidelines for contacting buyers using the Buyer-Seller Messaging service. Here you’ll find five bullet points that outline the different kinds of links you can’t include in an email. The most interesting point is the one that prohibits linking to an Amazon detail page or storefront page. Like all things ToS, there’s a lot of confusion about what is acceptable and why.
We conducted a survey to our customer base and discovered that 83% of Amazon sellers believe they can add a link to the product detail page or storefront page of the product the buyer purchased. This seems like a reasonable and rational thing to do—give your buyer a way to link back to the product they purchased—but it isn’t.
Amazon is clear in its wording about what sellers can and can’t do, which came as a surprise to the sellers who took our survey.
What does Amazon’s Terms of Service say?
To view the Terms of Service, you must be logged in to Seller Central. Alternatively, you can locate this section of the ToS via the breadcrumb menu at the top of Seller Central: Help / Manage orders / Reference / Communicate with buyers using the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service / Buyer-Seller Messaging Service overview. In the second paragraph on the page entitled Guidelines for contacting buyers, it states:
If you send a permitted email to an Amazon customer, your message cannot include:
– Links to any websites
– Links to Amazon detail pages or storefronts
– Seller logos if they contain or display a link to the seller’s website
– Any marketing messages or promotions
– Any promotions for additional products or referrals to third-party products or promotions
Simply put, if you link to anything other than a seller feedback or product review link, you’re in violation of Amazon’s ToS.
With that being said…
83% of Amazon sellers believe it’s OK to link to a product detail page in an email
We conducted a survey in October 2018, where we polled 326 random Amazon sellers. The survey was designed to represent an assumed number of Amazon sellers totaling 500,000 or more.
We needed a mandatory confidence interval of 95% with a 5% margin of error in order to be statistically significant. With that being said, we needed a sample size of at least 269 Amazon sellers to give as an accurate representation of the selling population. With 328 survey respondents, we’re confident that our data represents the selling population.
Here’s one of the seven questions we asked:
When a seller emails a buyer about a purchase, it is okay to reference the product by including a link to the Amazon product detail page.
Of the 326 sellers who responded, 273 (83.74%) answered true, meaning they believe it is OK to link back to a product detail page or storefront in a buyer-seller email; 53 (16.26%) answered false, meaning they believe it is not OK to link back to a product detail page or storefront in a buyer-seller email.
The results of this question are especially alarming because we don’t know how many of the 83% of sellers who answered true are actively linking back to their detail pages. But this question illustrates how misunderstood Amazon’s Terms of Service is.
So what are we doing about it?
We are continually monitoring the Amazon Terms of Service for any and every slight change. We do this because we, too, have to adhere to the ToS in order to provide our customers with a compliant tool.
We understand that Amazon’s Terms of Service is confusing. The ToS is not a static document. Instead, it is a living document, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to understand and abide by it.
But we are not Terms of Service police, nor can we enforce sanctions against violators. Feedback Genius and Ignite will change features and options based around ToS updates, and we will notify our customer of such changes.
We can only comply with Amazon through continued education and updating our software tools whenever a change affects us.
Actions you can take to remain compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service
First, we encourage every seller to review Amazon’s Terms of Service at least quarterly. This link is a great place to start. Remember, it’s your responsibility as a seller to understand and follow the ToS.
Second, review all of your buyer-seller messages immediately to ensure that you’re not violating the ToS. Remove any link that goes to a product detail page, storefront page, or off Amazon. You need to be proactive while you still can. At the top of Amazon’s October 2018 Seller Newsletter, there was a reminder for sellers to review the customer product review policies. This is especially important because Amazon has a zero-tolerance policy toward ToS violators.
Just because you can’t link to your on-Amazon and off-Amazon pages doesn’t mean you can’t use Buyer-Seller Messaging to improve your buyers’ experience on Amazon and grow your business.
Thousands of Feedback Genius customers are using the program to improve their seller reputation and growing product reviews. Buyer-Seller Messaging isn’t just for new sellers—it’s a necessary tool for all sellers. That’s because email is still the best way to communicate with customers in order to resolve negative experiences or to build brand awareness.
Stay tuned for updates on Amazon’s Terms of Service. Visit our ToS page where we have a replay of a recent webinar we did on this topic. You can also download a ToS checklist to determine whether or not your Buyer-Seller Messaging is up to par.