Amazon Product Photography | Upgrade Your Listing & Sales

Originally Posted: 8/1/2016

“67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online” -BigCommerce.

Searching through products on Amazon is a highly visual experience. Try shopping with your eyes closed…kinda difficult. That is a little extreme, but imagine if there were no images, just text. Would you feel comfortable making a purchase without knowing what the item looks like?  When scrolling through search results, customers are looking at your product images quickly judging whether or not the product is exactly what they are looking for. They are paying attention to how the product makes them feel, and depending on the item, what others will think about the product.

Here is an example:

How does this product’s images make you feel? When looking at the photos are you convinced this product is going to make your home more “homey”? Is it going to add to the ambience you are searching for?

What if you were scrolling and then saw this product? Based solely on these photos which product would you buy? At the very least, which are you more likely to click on to find out more about?

You are losing out on serious sales if a competitor’s product appears to:

  • Be more attractive
  • Better satisfy the customer’s need(s).
  • Be of a higher quality

These are all obtainable simply through high quality product photography.

Why We HAD To Begin Offering Product Photography

The reason we HAD to begin offering product photography is because we are seeing so many of our customers hit page 1 for their main keywords, but they were being devoured by their competitors because they didn’t have a listing that was ready to convert. Their photos and aesthetics were sub-par and could not compete against the well converting products that already had an established footing. The days of throwing up mediocre photos and being able to generate tons of sales are over. Why? Because competition has pushed the market to demand better design, aesthetics, listings, etc.

Once we noticed the dramatic increase in sales our clients achieved by improving their photos, offering product photography became one of our top suggestions. The problem was, sellers would find “professional photographers” to shoot their products and come back to us with photos that were of the same poor inconsistent quality. This happened over and over. So we knew we had to take matters into our own hands to help our clients overcome their competition and see true success in the market. We have spent countless hours researching and developing our photography services to help you drive more clicks and sales, while improving your customer’s experience. The results have been incredible.

We are hyper-focused on helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Breathtaking Amazon product photography is one tool you MUST  have in order to reach new heights of success now and in the future. 

To help you improve sales and upgrade your product’s photos, we have a 55% off discount lasting only 24 hours!

Coupon: LAUNCHMYPHOTOS

Link: HERE!

Please take advantage of this deal. Not for our sake, but for yours. At this price, it’s not a money maker for us. Images are so important, and we really want to help you move your sales forward with an upgrade to your listing!

We will be back tomorrow with another great deal!

Wishing you the best in your entrepreneurial endeavors!

 

The New Viral Launch Has Landed

Originally Posted: 7/28/2016

 

“If everyone is moving forward together; then success takes care of itself.” –Henry Ford

In order to compete in the expanding market that is today’s Amazon, there is no magic bullet for success. In this market you don’t need a bullet, you need an arsenal.

Today is the Day! As promised we have a huge announcement for everyone regarding the future of the Amazon Private Label World and what I believe to be the future of building a successful business within this space!

Launch Day Is Here!

On behalf of the entire Viral Launch Team, I’m super excited to announce that starting today The New Viral Launch Has Landed (note: you may have to refresh the page once to clear browser cache 🙂 ). I’m proud to introduce the world’s first comprehensive Amazon marketing and promotion platform designed specifically to meet every aspect of your businesses and listing needs. We have developed a true end-to-end platform designed to partner with you along every step of the Amazon sales process. Starting today you have full access to this huge scope of world class services.

The New Viral Launch | Your Launchpad For Success.

As of this moment, in addition to our industry leading product launches, we have dramatically expanded our services to become your customized solution for every aspect of your product and listing needs.

Introducing the new Viral Launch suite of creative services and data driven solutions.

Breathtaking Commercial Quality Product Photography. Successful sellers know that DIY product photography is no longer cutting it. Now you can easily get stunning professional product photography for all of your products in one convenient location.

Professional Graphic, Label, And Package Design. As Steve Jobs was fond of saying, “design is marketing.” Cheap graphic design and bad use of typeface is an Amazon epidemic. We are now offering exclusive packaging and label design that will make your products boldly stand out from the competition. As more and more shoppers make the switch to e-commerce, their expectations for design are increasing to rival those of box store brands. Now you can meet and exceed those expectations taking your brand to a whole new level of success.

Keyword and Conversion Driven Listing Content. Customized keyword research and listing content that is optimized for your product and category’s unique needs. Listing content optimized for both elegance and effectiveness is the key factor in boosting conversion and improving keyword ranking.

Data Driven Email Follow Ups. Email follow ups are an overwhelmingly wasted opportunity for sellers. One of the largest competitive advantages on Amazon is reviews; a calculated email follow up campaign is a highly effective way of driving new reviews and curbing negative reviews.

Viral Launch Flight Crew. A revolutionary new profit sharing model that will give your business unlimited access to all these features at no upfront cost to you. Flight crew members will enjoy exclusive access to new features as well as front row access to powerful new software tools that are currently in development.

Over the last two years I’ve had the privilege of developing Viral Launch into the premier Amazon promotional platform that it is today. Along the way I have learned countless lessons from sellers, insiders, and yes, even competitors. With all the lessons learned and over a billion data points acquired, I am convinced more and more each day that there is no single secret to Amazon sales success, rather there is a precise and diversified plan of attack and excellence.

Truly successful sellers are not merely checking off boxes on their to-do list but investing time, creativity, and passion into every element of their brand, listing, and product presentation. This process can sound overwhelming to some which is why we are so thrilled to be able to announce that help and partnership has arrived. Not a magic bullet or one time sales gimmick that promises overnight success, rather a true partnership.  A full creative and data driven arsenal that addresses every angle of your branding, marketing, and customer experience.

The new Viral Launch is obsessed with creating the most outstanding photography, the most eye catching designs, and the most keyword driven and sales inducing content available. We believe that excellence in all these areas is the key to dividends beyond your wildest dreams.

As the Amazon market continues to evolve, truly competitive sellers are going to have to evolve with it. That is why I’m so thrilled to unveil what I believe is your jumpstart to a long-standing successful business on Amazon!

Related Posts:

What a Billion Data Points Has Shown Us About Amazon

Originally Posted: 7/26/2016
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Working with thousands of brands across Amazon has been an incredibly insightful journey. We’ve generated over 1,000,000,000 data points and garnered an incredible amount of experience. We’ve worked with thousands of sellers in a wide variety of capacities. Sellers ranging from $100’s/month in revenue to $100m/year in revenue and capacities ranging from simply running promotional giveaways to managing entire accounts. It’s this data and experience we leverage to build insights into the Amazon market and make decisions for our clients and Viral Launch as a company.

How Amazon is Shifting

(I want to first preface with the fact that these insights are largely regarding private label merchants and product manufactures as they comprise approximately 97% of our customer base.)

A few years ago selling on Amazon was easy. If you sourced it, they would come. Meaning, if you threw a product up on Amazon, with little to no work, you could capture a healthy portion of the market. Standing out in the spacewas easy.

Fast-forward to present day and now everyone and their mother is in on the gold rush called Amazon PL. With some search terms having thousands even millions of results (please save yourself a mistake and thousands of dollars and do not get into the cell phone case market), standing out above the competition can be insanely difficult.

Go back to 2014 when simply having your product ranking on page 1, meant you were selling well. Back then what was the trick to ranking page 1 for your keywords? Keyword stuffing your product title, running some decent PPC campaigns and getting a couple of friends and family to buy and review your product. Depending on your market, it could take anywhere from a week to a couple of months to get a product up and selling well.

In late 2014, Viral Launch and other promotional giveaway services came into the market and started to expedite the ranking process by driving high volume sales. At this time landing your product on page 1 almost always meant a major increase in sales. We were literally helping people get rich overnight!

At present day, landing your product on page 1 no longer guarantees a major increase in sales. Has Viral Launch become worse at doing our job? Not at all, we’re actually really good at this and have become more effective as you can read here.

How Viral Launch Fits In

Viral Launch’s job has always been to increase the keyword ranking of your product, which can still do quite easily. By improving ranking, we increase exposure to potential customers and give your product more opportunity to sell. Driving the actual sale depends on a multitude of factors, only you as the seller can control.

We’ve seen it time and again, and more frequently, where a product lands on page 1, but the product does not take off in sales.

We’ve also seen older products and brands watch their sales start to slip and new competition moves in and quickly dominates the market.

Standing out becomes even more difficult when you realize that the majority of your competitor’s products are relatively the same. If you search on Amazon for fish oil, you’ll see 100,000+ search results. Most of those results are relatively the same offering at approximately the same price.

Amazon’s Magic Bullet

So what is the secret magic bullet to getting your product to stand out and sell insane amounts of units? Why were you never able to turn your existing products into successful big earners? Why is competition passing you by? How can I streamline my product launches?

We have the data and experience to tell us exactly what that magic bullet it is.

We’ll give you all the answers tomorrow…(and hint: there is no secret magic bullet..)

Talk again soon!

Related Posts:

Houston, We Have An Announcement

Originally Posted: 7/25/2016

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” – Unknown (not Albert Einstein)

For nearly two years we’ve been helping business owners achieve their dreams by launching their products, brands, and businesses to Amazon’s coveted page one.

It has been an absolutely incredible experience to listen to elated client feedback and see the results of our hard work impact thousands of business owners. We love it. We thrive off of it.

To date we’ve:

  • Performed over 9,000 product launches
  • Worked with over 4,000 various products
  • Built a user base of over 200,000
  • Aggregated over 1 billion data points on the Amazon marketplace
  • Helped thousands of business owners reach page one of Amazon search
  • Been featured on industry leading webinars and podcasts
  • Have been asked to speak at industry leading events/conferences
  • Helped a single company reach the $100,000,000/year mark on Amazon!
  • Learned a ton about Amazon and our clients
  • Never been more hungry and well equipped to help Amazon sellers take their businesses to the next level!

The figures are great, but we’ve never been completely satisfied.

 Why? 

Because we aren’t able to help our clients enough!

Of course landing a product on page 1 of the world’s largest e-commerce platform is nothing shy of amazing, but selling well and being successful requires so much more than just ranking for particular search terms. And that is where we want to come alongside our clients to help them achieve new levels of sales and success.

With the incredible amount of data and experience we’ve garnered over the last two years, as well as the team we have assembled, no one is better positioned to help you dramatically increase your sales.

Tomorrow we will talk more about the changes we are seeing in the Amazon market and what steps we believe successful sellers will need to take to stay ahead of the curve.

Talk soon!

Amazon Product Launches More Effective Than Ever

Amazon’s Latest Algorithm Change And How You Can Get Ahead

Originally Posted 5/12/2016

 

“War is 90% information” – Napoleon Bonaparte

As the secrets of the A9 ranking algorithm remain locked deep within the Amazon vault, we rely on data to reveal its inner workings and logical constructs. Without documentation and notification of algorithmic updates, staying ahead can be difficult. Even for sellers launching ten or so products, being sure of an algorithm update and its new principles can be extremely difficult. There is simply not enough data.

In today’s era of hyper competition and rapid technological change, data, and our ability to harness it, is our greatest ally. We pride ourselves on understanding the in’s and out’s of ranking products within Amazon’s organic search and we leverage data to develop that understanding. Over the past two years we have run nearly 8,000 product launches for 3,500+ products,  and worked with sellers doing $100m+ /year on Amazon. This is not to boast, but rather to help illustrate the incredible volume of data we have been able to aggregate. We programmatically track the keyword ranking of each launch that runs through our platform, allowing us to know what parameters make for a successful product launch.

Approximately 60 days ago, we noticed a change in the results being produced from our promotional giveaways all else equal. We’ve seen plenty of times over the span of a week or so, odd behavior in terms of launches. This odd behavior typically lasts for around 7-10 days but then all returns to normal. Initially we believed the odd behavior was just another one of those weeks, but ~60 days later and this seemingly “odd behavior” seems to have stuck. We have been anticipating a ranking algorithm update for promotional giveaways for some time, but we had never anticipated that the update would have such positive effects.

Change Is Good (At Least This Time)

In order to explain the change in Amazon’s ranking algorithm properly, I feel it’s important to provide a brief backstory on how the algorithm allotted keyword ranking prior to the change. This will provide the context with which to understand the contrast.

The largest contributing factor to keyword ranking was sales (there are about 1,000,000 other things that contribute to a product’s ranking, but this is the largest and the one we will focus on here). Prior to the algorithmic change, what drove ranking for a particular word was largely the keyword which that sale was driven through. For example, if a customer searches “garcinia cambogia”, selects the product, and completes a purchase, Amazon would attribute keyword ranking boost for the product for the keyword “garcinia cambogia”. There would be little attribution for any other keyword associated with the product (ex. Fat burner, weight loss, etc.). Logically, it makes sense right? The more customers who purchase your product after searching a given set of keywords, the higher it will appear in organic search for that particular key term.

Fast forward to present day and we are seeing somewhat different results. Initially it may not sound like anything worth noting, but hear us out. Making adjustments according to the algorithm’s new rules can be a game changer, and we’ve seen it hundreds of times already.

We’ve always been told and known that the keywords in your product’s title is the most important and controllable field to place your product’s keywords. This is Amazon Private Label 101. Post algorithm change and that basic fundamental has become 100X more important. In the past Amazon boosted the keyword ranking for almost exclusively the keyword which drove the sale (Example, buying after searching the keyword “garcinia cambogia” provides a boost in ranking for only “garcinia cambogia”).

With the latest algorithm update, EVERY keyword in your product’s title AT THE TIME OF SALE is fair game to receive a MAJOR boost in keyword ranking!  This means that when running a promotional launch, granted you have a product title that is optimized for keyword maximization, you could find yourself ranking page one for 10+ high to mid-competition keywords relative to your product.  That means the ROI on promotional giveaways has skyrocketed! In the past, a targeted launch would allow a product to rank for a single keyword (up to 4 targeted keywords), whereas now we’ve run launches in mid-volume markets that walk away ranking page 1 for over 30 keywords!

Data To Prove Our Hypothesis

The team has been working hard to compile a massive amount of data to understand precisely how the new algorithm update is attributing keyword ranking. Running 200+ launches a day allows us to see exactly what is and is not working. We are breaking titles and bullet points down word by word to understand how Amazon is parsing the content and adjusting keyword ranking post-sale accordingly. I want to provide as much information as possible to help illustrate exactly how you can take advantage of the update, but one of our greatest assets is our massive aggregated data, so we don’t want to give away the farm. 🙂

Illustration 1: Product Title: “Fish Oil Pills, 180 Capsules by Healthy Brand”

This is not a particularly good title as I’m sure you can tell. In case you are unaware, the word “omega 3” is a very relevant keyword to the product. Let’s say we ran a healthy promotion to this product with a focus on the keyword “omega 3”. Prior to the algorithm shift, the product would have landed on page 1 for the search term “omega 3” just a few days after the promotion kicked off. Post-update, approximately 80% of the time, we see NO movement at all for the keyword because it was not in the product’s title or top few bullet points. We’ve tried using every URL on the market  the Heatseeker, Dynamic, Organic, etc., but no movement. We saw this many times. Their launch was not all for naught as the launch did produce page 1 rankings for other keyword variations found in their product’s title, such as “fish oil pills” and “fish oil capsules”.

Illustration 2: Product Title: “Best Gym Jump Rope with Bag For Men by Fitness Brand”

This is a great example of the degree to which rankings are being affected by the algorithm change. If we were to run a small promotion to a product with the above title targeting the keyword “jump rope”, we would expect to find the product ranking for the search term “Gym Bag for Men” (among 10+ other keywords). Yes, even though we targeted the “jump rope” keyword, because the title contains the keywords “Gym”, “Bag”, and “For Men” Amazon would push it to top of the ranks for that keyword phrase. Granted “gym bag for men” is not a high volume keyword. Finding your product page one for 10+ similar keywords, is great for collectively increasing your per day sales.

(The examples are both hypothetical but based on real data)

Crafting The Perfect Title

Now more than ever your product’s title, bullet points, and backend keyword submission need to be perfect; down to the character. Literally. Not including a single word in your title could cause you to miss out on rankings for a variety of keywords, which means missed sales. And those sales add up. Amazon has begun cracking down on listing character count limits, making things all the more difficult.

Analyzing hundreds of titles and thousands of keywords over the last two months, we have compiled a vast array of data which has allowed us to break down the perfect title composition to a science. Determining word placement and priority is crucial to maximizing your product’s keyword spread.

Let us put together the perfect title to maximize the keywords and keyword variations your product can rank for in Amazon search. We have the data, experience and creatives to craft a product title that will allow you to rank for the optimum number of keywords allowing you to dramatically increase sales!

Sign up for our Keyword Optimized Product Title Curation service now!

And for the first 50 signups we have a $50 off coupon for you.
Use the coupon: MAXKEYWORDS to take $50 off.

This Is Only Temporary | Get It While It’s Hot

I am quite surprised that the algorithm has been updated as so. Logically, it does not seem to make much sense to weight the characters of a product’s title so heavily in determining ranking attribution. This has led to some odd search results post-promotion. In my opinion there is nothing better in determining a product’s relevance than the keywords that drive a sale. Organically, a customer is not going to buy a jump rope if it shows up in their search for “gym bag for men”. They will buy when they search “jump rope” or “jump rope for men”, because they are relevant search terms for the product. Simple as that.

Because this seems like such an odd move and a miss of the mark, I imagine this algorithm shift will not last for very long. I don’t see how it can. As always, we will be meticulously tracking and analyzing every launch that passes through our system. If/when we see an algorithm shift, we will be sure to report our findings. We are successful when you are successful, and knowledge is more than half the battle.

With that said, the ability to rank for a large volume of keywords in a single promotion is here now, so take advantage of it! With the increased ROI due to increased volume of keywords being ranked from a single promotion, why would you allow this opportunity pass you by? Launches are more effective now than ever!

To help with the cost of running promotions using Viral Launch during this opportune time we removed our monthly subscription minimums and are offering a $50 coupon off for your next month of launches whether it be your first product or not! In addition to the coupon, we are providing free access to our account managers. In order to get the optimal results from a Viral launch, we highly recommend working with one of our account managers normally reserved for our largest sellers. They will work with you personally to develop the ideal launch strategy for your brand or product and help you execute with authority.

Get Launching Now!

Take $50 off your next month of launches.
Use the coupon: UPDATE2016.

To work with one of our account managers for free, simply shoot an email to launches@viral-launch.com to get started!

Warning Against Misuse

Although we have found products for less than relevant search terms inadvertently, make sure the keywords you place in your title abide by Amazon’s standards.

Take care not to violate Amazon’s Search and Browse Policy:

Misuse of Search and Browse: When customers use Amazon’s search engine and browse structure, they expect to find relevant and accurate results. To protect the customer experience, all product-related information, including keywords and search terms, must comply with the guidelines provided under Optimize Listings for Search and Browse. Any attempt to manipulate the search and browse experience is prohibited.

As we diligently track algorithm updates we will be sure to keep you updated, so you can continue to make intelligent and informed decisions!

We are constantly working to provide our clients and the community the best tools and opportunities to be successful in their Amazon businesses. We have a ton of fantastic tools and services in the pipeline that will allow us to help you grow and optimize your business in new ways. As Amazon becomes more competitive, sophistication and a focus to be the best is the only way to walk away on top and with profits in hand. We want to help you to do just that!

Wishing you the best!

Houston, We Have No Problem – Amazon TOS Update 2015

If you are looking for the Amazon TOS Update of 2016 that can be found on our in-depth post here!

 

 

 

 

Our Position on Amazon’s Update to their Terms of Service and the Chaos that has Ensued

Originally Posted: 8/30/2015

Amazon is constantly changing and transforming. We were reminded of that this weekend as they discreetly updated their Selling Policies, specifically their “Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions” page.

If you have not read for yourself here are the excerpts from the updated page:

Reviews:

“Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace, providing a forum for feedback about product and service details and reviewers’ experiences with products and services — positive or negative. You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review other than a free copy of the product. If you offer a free product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free product must be provided in advance. No refunds are permitted after the review is written. You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review. Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited. You may not ask buyers to remove negative reviews.”

Misuse of Sales Rank:

“The best seller rank feature allows buyers to evaluate the popularity of a product. You may not solicit or knowingly accept fake or fraudulent orders. This includes placing orders for your own products. You may not provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers for the purpose of inflating sales rank. In addition, you may not make claims regarding a product’s best seller rank in the product detail page information, including the title and description. “

So what does this mean for you as a seller? What does it mean for your future with Viral Launch? There have been more than enough rumors and opinions posed as facts, so we would like to break things down as best as possible for you. We’ve launched over 2,000 products, consulted $50m/year Amazon businesses, and tracked 10′s of millions of data points all in the last 10 months. This is not to brag (hyperbole marketing and telling others how great I think I am is not my style 😉 ), but to illustrate the interesting perspective we have obtained, and while we have no absolutes, here are our thoughts.

Our Position

For those with limited attention spans, or simply want the short version, I want to pose Viral Launch’s official position here at the beginning. I will elaborate and explain in greater depth our position throughout the rest of this post.

Our goal is to provide our clients a long-term solution to promoting their products, gaining exposure and building their businesses. If that means taking calculated precautions so as to ensure we are 100% ToS compliant and without possibility of being accused of manipulative or fraudulent behaviors, then we will take the appropriate actions to do so.We would never want our actions to negatively affect our customer’s good standing in the eyes of Amazon.

Although we do not believe that Amazon will be cracking down on sellers for running promotions through targeted URLs or begin penalizing sellers for running promotions giving more than 50, 100, 300, etc. in a day, the fact of the matter is the language of the new policies deems these actions strictly in violation of policy. For that reason Viral Launch is repositioning itself as a promotional marketing platform designed to increase market exposure capable of driving buy-ready traffic to your product in a powerful yet controlled manner. We have an audience that wants to buy your product. Simple as that. Under the hood, everything will remain essentially the same. However, we have updated our landing page to remove all language that could be interpreted as rank & review manipulating practices. No more talk of boosting keyword ranking and beating the algorithm. You can checkout our new page at https://viral-launch.com.

No One Knows Anything

The thing is, in the Amazon marketplace Amazon creates the law, enforces the law and answers to no one.They write their policies to be broad and vague so that they may interpret as they wish and enforce them as they please. There is no knowing for certain their intentions when crafting these policies. Even if one did know the intent of a rule, the language is so loosely written that they can turn around and penalize sellers on completely different grounds.

-Will Amazon penalize, remove, or suspend you for running promotions through a SuperURL or any other type of targeted URL? The short answer is probably not. However, they can very easily see that you are sending traffic through an unnatural URL, the customer has a new session, and by tracking the referrer tag from the referring URL.  I will say that our OrganicURL satisfies these three issues, but then the question comes down to whether or not Amazon perceives this as an attempt at ranking manipulation, which in my opinion I can very easily see Amazon interpreting this an attempt at ranking manipulation. My opinion does not matter, it is how Amazon decides to interpret and even more importantly how/if they choose to enforce it.

I will say that one leading service in their position announcement made a point trying to “geek-out” and use programming language (the sample code they used was definitely not written by a programmer as it had some major issues and is nothing like what Amazon uses but that is besides the point) to illustrate that Amazon could very easily disallow keyword ranking boosts from launches using the SuperURL. I would like to disagree. I am a developer myself. I hand coded the entire Viral Launch platform, and have experience working with advanced machine learning (AI) algorithms similar to those employed by Amazon. This gives me a unique perspective on the A9 ranking algorithm. The ranking algorithm is not a simple script that allots keyword ranking to products after a sale through a specific keyword like the previously mentioned service believes. We are talking about a brilliantly complex algorithm architected to take into account a myriad of data points with logic constructs that are not easily adjusted. I believe Amazon has intentionally decreased the ranking effects of SuperURLs because they are well aware of launching services using them and Amazon does not like it. So why has Amazon not done away with the ranking effects of the SuperURL altogether? Frankly because at this point, they simply cannot. Think of an intricately designed spider web. It may be easy to remove just a couple of supporting threads, but if too many are removed or adjusted the spider web will collapse in on itself. The A9 Algorithm is just such a spider web, a very complex construction which services millions. It is not easy to completely change how it operates (allotting ranking) while continuing to service such a high volume effectively.  But I digress.

-What is “excessive” in Amazon’s eyes? Who knows, but my assumption is A TON. I am referring to numbers in the thousands. You will see why we believe this in the next section. That being said, Amazon could very well interpret giving 100+/units in a single day as excessive. Do I think you should be concerned with giving more than 100 units in a day? No, but I think it is important to  simply be aware. We have sellers who have been giving 200+/day since the updated terms have launched and thus far nothing has changed. Amazon tells us the term “excessive” is referring to giving an “excessive” number of discounts of the same product to one individual.

-Does running promotions constitute as attempting to inflate sales rank? I think the keyword here is “inflate”. There is a difference between improve and inflate. Inflate, according to Merriam Dictionary refers to excess, which is again a very subjective term. From speaking with Amazon we are led to believe that when the policy refers to “sales rank” it is in direct reference to Best Seller Ranking. Again, we do not think you should be concerned with Amazon accusing you of inflating sales rank, but we want you to be completely informed.

What We Know of Amazon

Amazon prides itself on its review system. The quality and legitimacy of reviews are vital. If consumer confidence plummets in its review system then sales will suffer. From some of the largest brands on Amazon as well as Amazon themselves we are being told that Amazon is far more concerned with review manipulation than they are sellers sending promotions through unnatural targeted links.

Amazon does not care who is at the top of the keyword rankings, no matter who it is, they are making their money all the same. However, as soon as the consumer base loses faith in the integrity of the reviews posted on Amazon, their bottom line will take a hit. That is not acceptable.

That is not just our view, but the shared beliefs of some of our largest allies who have been on Amazon for 10+ years and are each hitting in the ten’s of millions every year.

I think it goes without saying, but you must be uber careful when it comes to reviews. Be wary of promotional services that require their users to leave reviews. They incentivize their users to leave reviews by telling them they can get more deals after they leave their review. I cannot help but view this as manipulating reviews, that is why we have never employed such methods ourselves. Although the methods were more black hat, Amazon recently took legal action against review manipulating companies and I imagine there will be more to come. Amazon is cracking down.

What Amazon is Telling Us

As you know talking with seller support and the info received from them is not exactly the most reliable. Despite this being the case, there were a few points that were offered almost uniformly.  We also have some inside connections with Amazon along with powerful friends with inside connections. Even so, after speaking with many Amazon representatives in various departments, we have no definitive answer and very little clarification on the language used and exact intention of the updated policy.

Here is what we have been told:

  • Incentivizing or manipulating reviews is against policy (duh).
  • Those that abuse or infringe upon this policy will first be warned before action is taken.
  • Amazon does not want you sending multiple units of the same product to the same customer.

We have been told almost uniformly that these new statements are simply an extension of an existing rule working to thwart black hat rank boosting efforts. We have friends of friends who will have a “customer” make hundreds of purchases on a single product at a discount to boost their keyword ranking. There are sellers sending thousands of products to fake accounts and fake addresses. There are ways sellers are working to manipulate the systems, and it is these instances we feel Amazon is largely targeting. Don’t do that.

This is Not the Death of Promotions!

Amazon relies on merchant run promotions as an avenue for driving new customers to the Amazon marketplace. Without promotions, how would one get started in this space. It would be incredibly difficult, and would take a toll on the marketplace’s overall performance.

If Amazon did not want you to give products away at a discount (or free) in exchange for reviews they would not state, “If you offer a free product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review.” The ability to create these promotional codes would be no more. So all the rumors you have heard telling you that you cannot promote your product or else your account will be suspended are absolutely false!

Repositioning

Viral Launch has always prided ourselves on being an honest company and being 100% compliant in our approach. We really care about the success of our users (if you have ever reached out for advice or help you know this first hand). In order to ensure compliance we have to make changes in how we operate and how we advise you with promotions.

1.) First, we are changing our positioning as a company. We no longer want to be lumped into the category as those “blast” sites. In the past we prided ourselves on our ability to raise products from no sales to $10k, $25k, $35k/month after just a couple of launches with only our standard packages. We have been able to boost keyword ranking at will, however, so as to avoid jeopardizing the accounts of sellers we work with, we will now be positioning ourselves as a promotional marketing platform designed to increase market exposure to your products and services. While most things under the hood will remain the same, and you will continue to see the same effects, we believe that it is important to change our positioning so that there is no doubt that we are running a completely compliant service. We feel this is imperative to offering a long-term solution to promoting and growing your products and business.

2.) Second, we offer ways to spread or stagger your launch promotions through multi-day launches in a very controlled manner. We have always found that this receives better results and is much more likely to help you feel compliant in terms of not being “excessive.” We will continue to offer this and educate sellers on the best launch strategies for them.

3.) Thirdly, you will now have the choice as to whether or not you wish to use our OrganicURL for your launches.  As stated previously, we do not believe any seller will be penalized for using targeted URLs, however, for your sake we wish to give you the choice.

4.) We have updated our pricing model to better reflect our intentions going forward. As you are familiar with Pay Per Click models on other promotional platform such Google and Amazon, we want to emulate just that. You can view our new pricing on our landing page.

5.) Finally, we have updated our landing page to remove all language that could be interpreted as rank & review manipulating practices. No more talk of boosting keyword ranking and beating the algorithm. We would never want the opportunity for our actions to negatively affect our customer’s good standing in the eyes of Amazon.

Our Warning to the Wise (and everyone else)

We are in a space of super marketers. They know the exact language needed to make anything sound appealing or appropriate. They will brag about themselves and self-impose superficial titles to sound more authoritative just to get your money. They have no problem claiming you NEED something that just so happens to require you to pay them more money in order to be successful. When they fail to deliver, they blame you. To some services, all you are is money, and they will stop at no expense to get as much of it as they can. They do not care about your success they care about their bottom dollar.

Now more than ever, be skeptical. Only work with the people, services, and companies you trust. It is very easy to be swept up in pretty talk and superlatives. Only do what you are absolutely comfortable with. It is not worth losing the business you have worked so hard to build. Viral Launch is no exception. If you are not 100% comfortable with what we are doing ask us questions. If even then we do not ease your concerns, then I encourage you to find a company which better satisfies your needs and aligns with your perspectives. 🙂

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Do not pay for reviews. Even if they are video reviews.
  • Do not require or incentivize reviews. Using services which require their users leave reviews on the products they get is included in this. Telling users that they will have access to more deals if they leave a review is incentivizing them to leave their review. This is strictly against Amazon’s policy. There are many many services out there that do this. Please be skeptical and use caution.
  • Be weary of services that allow you to pick and choose which users will be reviewing your product. This is a lot like manipulation.

Ultimately, we will continue to work towards providing the best long-term solution to building and growing your business. We are continually building out new features and services that allow you to effectively and efficiently grow while ensuring the probability of your long-term success.

Wishing you the best,
Casey Gauss
CEO/ Co-Founder