Wondering how Amazon treats it’s loyal sellers? By deleting all of their listings.

January 17, 2009

Along with thousands of others, I operate an Amazon Seller account and provide hundreds of toys for sale on their web store.  Dozens of the items we sell are exclusive and serve to expand the item catalog in the Amazon web store, not to mention delivering a hefty commission to Amazon for each sale.  This year, however, Amazon delivered us and many others  a lump of coal for the holidays.

In their indisputable wisdom Amazon decided to, with barely a weeks notice before the holiday selling season, wipe an entire swath of their toy sellers off their web store.  At the busiest time of year, the e-commerce giant made thousands of listings disappear with the flick of their wand, with the promise of reinstatement in the new year.  Did they do this to protect their customers?  Did they do it to cut down on their competition?  It may just be that their “most successful season ever” was born on the backs of their own loyal sellers.  But, regardless of the reason, the result is the same – two months of income erased at the whim of the behemoth.

So, after a dismal holiday spent licking our wounds, is was with great relief that we all awaited the re-activation of our stores.  Then came the most horrifying news of all.  Not content with simply yanking our livelihood out from under us, it turns out that Amazon had decided to rub a little salt in those fresh-licked wounds:

“As you know, at the start of the holiday season, we restricted selling in the Toys & Games category to pre-approved sellers only. We are pleased to announce that effective immediately, all sellers may once again sell in the Toys & Games category. We invite you to relist your Toys & Games products that may have been removed during our holiday pre-approval process. Be sure to adjust prices and quantities when you relist.”

Relist?  What do they mean relist?  They couldn’t have…

But they did.  In what may go down in history as the laziest programming decision ever, Amazon apparently enacted their will by simply removing the listings or inventory from every one of the items listed by every one of these sellers.

Hey Amazon, it’s no big deal.  Thank you for inviting me to re-enter my items one by one through your slow web interface.  All 900 of them.  I’m just happy that you’re happy.