by earthmom

#122, 9 June 2008

Part I: Survival on the River, the Basics

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You've taken the plunge and opened your Amazon seller account. You've seen the "Sell Yours Here" buttons on Amazon's website, and you're thinking to yourself, "How hard can this be?" so you grab a book off your overcrowded bookshelf, turn it over and enter the ISBN number - and a couple of minutes later your Amazon business has officially begun.

Now, how do you manage to survive for the first month, the first 6 months, the first year, without being eaten alive or shut down? Let's talk about some things to consider and some ways to keep your head above water.

Fastest ways to get shut down by Amazon

  • Open more than one Seller Account. This is a huge no-no and Amazon doesn't want to listen to your reasons why. You can have multiple Buyer Accounts, but don't get them mixed up and accidentally list something for sale from your Buyer Account (thus converting it to a Seller Account). You'll get shut down quickly and without prejudice.

  • Buy inventory from a seller who has had their account on Amazon shut down. The inventory itself can get recognized and Amazon will tie you to that bad seller and you'll also be shut down. Remember, Momma told you that birds of a feather flock together. Amazon believes that and acts on it.

  • Break the Participation Agreement by selling banned items. It's important to read up on what is and is not acceptable to be listed for sale. Obvious prohibited items like firearms, explosives and Cuban cigars may not be a big surprise, but ARCs (advance reading copies) of books are also prohibited, along with copies of media (burned CDs or DVDs or photocopies of books), and even solutions manuals can get you in trouble. Be sure to familiarize yourself with what is not acceptable: Follow these breadcrumbs on Amazon's site: Help > Selling at > Policies & Agreements > Community Rules > Marketplace Seller Offenses & Prohibited Content

  • Neglect to fulfill your orders or check your email. (It's been known to happen.) A seller gets all excited and lists a dozen books then goes off and gets busy with life and doesn't check email for a week. During that time the orders roll in, the orders don't get fulfilled, and the inquiries from customers go unanswered. This will result in bad feedback, customers filing A-to-z claims against you and Amazon closing your account. Amazon sellers are required to ship within 2 business days.

  • Divert traffic away from This can be attempted by putting your own URL in the comments section of your books, or by using the email addresses of customers to sell or to send your own advertisements to. Sellers on Amazon are forbidden to contact their buyers except to discuss a transaction that has been made. No other marketing or spamming or selling of names is allowed.

Let's take a closer look at what Amazon measures and what will get noticed and get an account suspended and possibly closed.


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