The 5 Don’ts
The Amazon bots have really stepped up lately with added vigilance and efficiency. They don’t sleep, they don’t rest and they are not letting any new offending copy through to the live site. Without any warning or communication from Amazon they may replace your product details abruptly with a “SORRY, we couldn’t find that page” message. You will then see the “detailed page removed or suppressed” status for that item waiting for you in your Vendor or Seller inventory. This can greatly impact your sales and rankings, and it requires time and effort to get your products reinstated. To help you avoid this undesirable scenario as much as possible, please follow my list of 5 don’ts when uploading copy for your product listings on Amazon.
Don't include money back guarantees
To start off, any offer to issue a refund or money back guarantee is prohibited so do not mention any sort of money back promise in your copy. As the retailer, Amazon already has its own policies in regards to returns and refunds and mentioning a seller specific policy will only mislead the customer. In addition, copy is visible at product level not at seller level, this means the copy must be product focused and not mention anything related to a service offered by an individual seller.
Don't mention any pesticide, repellent or insect related wording
You are only allowed to sell pesticides and related products if you are based in the US and only if you have applied to be certified by Amazon successfully. You will be surprised by the amount of words that can trigger the Amazon bot to pull your products because of this rule. Trigger words include algae, insect, any insect name, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and the list goes on. You may think that you can use some words in context if what you are selling is clearly not a pesticide or insecticide but unfortunately, as the checking is done by a bot, no context is actually considered and any forbidden keywords found may result in the page being pulled. If your product demands the use of banned keywords in order to effectively promote and sell, you can always submit an appeal after your page has been pulled explaining the situation with proof and pictures of what your product actually is.
Don't mention other brand names
This one is an iron clad rule and the Amazon team is quick to react when this rule is violated. So, unless you are certified to sell products on behalf of or compatible with other branded products, you are not allowed to mention other brand names outside of your own anywhere in your copy. This also applies to the hidden keywords section of your page. If you are certified, you will need to show proof of certification. Whilst the ideal is to be proactive, and share this ahead of the upload, there is no tool that allows you to do this and raising a case can be a hit or miss situation. Amazon has advised to first upload the product, and then show proof of certification after your page is pulled to start selling the item on Amazon.
Don’t make claims you can’t prove or substantiate
This rule is enforced quite a lot and is probably one of those that gets most sellers into trouble even when it’s not always obvious why. The crux of the matter is that you are not allowed to make any promises or claims unless you can prove that it is true. So, you cannot claim that your packaging is 100% recyclable unless you have actual certification to prove as much, it does not matter if the logic is that your packaging is 100% paper and of course as everyone knows, paper can be recycled, you still need to prove this. The more obvious violations that you should avoid include making any medical claims, claims that your product cures any sort of medical condition - cure being a prohibited keyword anyway. Do not claim that this product helps you run faster or regrows lost hair unless you can show proven clinical evidence. In short, don't make promises that you can’t 100% back up.
Don’t mention any prohibited or restricted keywords
There exists an unofficial list of prohibited words banned by Amazon that changes and is updated every year. If you want to see and check against the latest lists, simply google ‘Amazon prohibited words’ followed by the current year and you will have access to many free lists and articles provided by our kind fellow internet users (myself being one of them!). To give you an idea of the types of words on this list, here are a few from different categories: ‘ADHD’, ‘diabetes’, ‘approved’, ‘award winning’, ‘disease, eco-friendly’, ‘fungus’, ‘non-corrosive’, ‘special promo’, ‘world’s best’, ‘restore’ and ‘supplies won’t last’. Amazon does not make it easy for sellers to promote and sell their products but you can sort of see their logic in some situations. Just think to yourself, if in doubt, maybe I should leave it out or word it in a different way.
Below, I have posted a few useful links that come in handy if you want to check out Amazon’s official guidelines for yourself. The guidelines are very text heavy and change constantly so they are no fun to get to grips with. If you would rather have the optimisation and handling of your inventory managed by a team of knowledgeable experts, we will definitely welcome a message from you to see how we can help. You can contact us at any time by clicking this link.