We learned on Tuesday, June 13, that Amazon suddenly restricted various ASINs for Nike branded products. Dozens of sellers received emails from Seller Support with the subject line Important information about your Nike listings. The result has left many sellers with lingering questions about Amazon’s Nike restrictions and no answers.
Update: June 21, 2017
At this time, Amazon is only accepting brands into the new Amazon Brand Registry who have a government-registered trademark for their brand name. This will provide brands with access to new features to help better protect their brand on Amazon.
More details about the new Amazon Brand Registry can be found here: brandservices.amazon.com. Here are some requirements for eligibility:
- A trademark must be a “standard character mark” and it needs to match the brand name printed on the products and its packaging.
Required information to enroll in Brand Registry 2.0
A brand needs to provide the following information to be accepted into Brand Registry 2.0:
- A live or active registered trademark
- A Government Registered Principal Trademark Registration or Serial Number
- Brand logo images
- Images of the product and packaging with trademark shown
- A list of the product categories the brand should be listed on Amazon
- A list of countries where the brand’s product are manufactured and distributed
Amazon Brand Registry and Nike Restrictions
From what we’ve heard, some of the sellers who were suddenly restricted are part of Amazon’s pay to play program. Many of these sellers were grandfathered into selling Nike products, while other sellers paid a premium to sell Nike-branded products on Amazon. This update—known as the brand gating policy—happened around the end of August 2016. Amazon changed its reselling policy then, which meant sellers had to pay a non-refundable, one-time application fee of $1,000 to $5,000 in order to sell popular brands on its site—like Nike. And even after sellers paid the application fee, they still weren’t guaranteed access without the necessary documentation proving permission to sell from respective brands.
This sudden brand-gating blitz by Amazon has left many sellers with unanswered questions, but it may be a sign of things to come. Which makes us wonder: how is this event related to the new Brand Registry 2.0 program?
For the past several weeks, the Amazon selling community has been abuzz with the new Brand Registry 2.0 program. The rollout has been rocky, to say the least. Many merchants are still confused with what they can and can’t do with the new program. We received an update earlier this week from a former Amazon employee who has been in communication with the Brand Registry team. We were updated on a number of issues as well as the program roll out that happened a couple of weeks ago.
Please be aware that the Brand Registry 2.0 rollout is still ongoing, and is very much fluid at the moment. We’re expecting more changes to come.
What we know about Amazon’s Brand Registry 2.0 program
- When a brand completes Brand Registry 2.0, as of this week, they can now add a registered agent (e.g., a delegate reseller).
- If the brand has not signed up for Brand Registry 2.0, as of this week, they can now use their Seller Central primary email address instead of a secondary email address just for Brand Registry 2.0.
- If the brand was part of the Brand Registry 2.0 private beta, they need to invite their primary Seller Central email account to become a registered agent of Brand Registry 2.0.
- Currently, a brand needs to set up separate email credentials for each country in which they sign up for Brand Registry 2.0, e.g., US, UK, DE. By Q3, merchants should expect to have a unified Brand Registry 2.0 registration process with one single Brand Registry 2.0 email address for the brand.
- A registered agent should not be hit with a Code of Conduct violation for submitting infringement tickets against other sellers. If this happens, then merchants need to escalate to the Marketplace Abuse team and Brand Registry 2.0 team. They are part of the same organization and are trying to work together.
- If a brand is going to set up Brand Registry 2.0 and sell on Seller Central, it’s best to start a Seller Central account first then use that email address to register for Brand Registry 2.0. It’s much easier to do it this way than to do it in reverse. This is more than likely a programming bug that still needs to be addressed.
There are still many unknown variables concerning Brand Registry 2.0. But as of today, brands can sign up for the program. They just need to be aware that the program is not perfect. Keep in mind that the original Brand Registry program is still available and should be utilized, too. As for the Nike restriction on Amazon, there still remains much to be seen. But we suspect the recent ASIN bans are related to the Brand Registry 2.0 rollout.