We need a modern day Robin Hood to save us from Jeff Bezos.

Amazon shipped 5 billion packages worldwide in 2017.   Overcharging in fees, due to errors in Amazon’s FBA methods of intake may be putting an additional 500 million dollars in Bezos’ pocket each year.   Here’s why.

As a brand seller on Amazon I have uncovered fees incorrectly being increased without notice due to an error that was either done by an intake fulfillment center employee who can’t measure properly, or by unauthorized contributions to listings.

Just imagine if 10% of the 5 billion packages shipped in 2017 where erroneously overcharged in FBA and listing fees.  That’s $500 million dollars of Amazon Seller’s money that they make incredibly difficult to get back.

I liken this tactic to  “Money Back Guarantees” that intentionally make it difficult to get a refund.  We’ve all seen them.  It all sounds great until you try to get your money back and it’s impossible to reach customer service for a return authorization number and address to return the goods.   As a Registered Brand on Amazon we are suppose to be able to control our listings, but that is far from what I experience for the past 4 years.  And when an error is discovered, well Amazon makes it as difficult as possible to recoup those lost fees.

One of the companies I own is EGPRO, LLC.  We have a design patent in 5 countries and do not give authorization for any company to distribute our product, not even Amazon Catalog (retail division).   In order to purchase our items you can shop at our website  or purchase on Amazon.com.  Since 2014 we have paid over $800,000 in fees to Amazon.  (This does not include sponsored terms on the ad platform.)  This doesn’t bother me when the fees are fair and correct.

But, here’s what happens.

Today, Sunday, the day before Labor Day Weekend 2018 I wanted to adjust the price (this is the only thing I can adjust without permission) and I find that once again, one of our listings is being incorrectly charged fees to the tune of $3.00 over.  As you can see by the ad, I drive traffic to Amazon as I know this is where consumer will shop – but my Labor Day campaign in now in the “toilet” because I can not afford to put it on sale due to the error in the fees.

As I pulled up my inventory management tool on Seller Central, I notice my best seller (White) as having a sudden increase in fees to $14.24, where as the other SKUS are $10.44 and $10.82.  As you can see they are the same except for color, thus the fees should be exactly the same, but they never are.easyGopro Go time just got easier Brand.jpg

 

EGPRO, LLC has had Brand Registry for 3.5 years.  As a small business and patent owner with a registered trademark, we are able to request Brand Registry so that we can (so Amazon says) “control” our brand on Amazon.  There are certain benefits that come with this for sure – but we have had nothing but problems with our listings having erroneous  “contributions by others”  which is code for  “Amazon Retail Division is controlling your listings, not you”.

In fact, since July 2018 I have had 2 cases open for incorrect category listings and control by Amazon, only to receive every 2 days an email stating:   “We’re working on it”.  In other words, once I report the measurements as being incorrect it will take weeks to fix, and meanwhile they continue to over charge and will refund only if we submit a list of all the orders that we were overcharged.  Instead of taking the responsibility for the error they put it back on to us.

If this is happening to us, it is happening to hundreds, if not millions of sellers worldwide.  Isn’t it time we banned together and found our Robin Hood to take back what is rightfully ours from Jeff Bezos, the riches man in the world? 

Happy Labor Day!

September 18, 2018

Amazon has since adjusted the fees to be nearly correct, but my listings are still being controlled by “other contributions”.   This seems like a never ending problem so perhaps I’ll just give it rest.  Amazon has not given me a remedy to be reimbursed for the $3.00 a unit sold with the incorrect fees, yet.  Can you imagine how much money Jeff Bezos makes if he just takes .10 cents of each item shipped each day because the fees are applied incorrectly?  Thanks a lot of lunch money Mr. Bezos, perhaps you should put our “fees” into a charity called “Amazon Sellers Foundation”.  Just say’n.

 

 

The Power of Few – Review or Influencer

Malcolm Gladwell’s bible to marketers, The Tipping Point, has been held close to marketer’s hearts since 2000.  In 2000 Gladwell offered remarkable insight into the “the power of few’ and how they influence the masses.

In recent years the term “influencer” is being used over and over again.  So, what does it really mean today?

As a recent guest on TheBeanCast, May 30, 2016, we discussed  the power of few and how it applies to 2016’s digital landscape.   Although, I didn’t really say what I was thinking…because I didn’t realize what it was until now – I offer it here.

As a direct response marketer we have always relied on testimonials to influence a purchase.  Without real, believable, and vetted testimonials a product didn’t have much of a chance.  Since 1990 testimonials have long been the influencing factor of direct response marketing.  Why was Gladwell’s “power of few” such a revelation in 2000?  And how much do Influencers today  affect sales of a product, service, or brand.

As an entrepreneur, a marketer, and the Owner and Manager of a consumer goods company, easyGopro – ergomonic toilet stool,  I find the following to be true.

Launched with a very limited budget and resources in November of 2014 on Amazon.com, to-date we have sold over 40,000 units, yet  have 432 reviews, just over 1%, based on most data, this is typical across Amazon.  You may wonder why that’s so when anyone can leave a review and Amazon encourages it.

 Quality vs. Quantity.

In order to increase the quantity I would need to dedicate resources to send an email, one by one, to each Amazon customer making sure to follow the very strict rules.  Since Amazon is our main revenue generator there is nothing I want more than to NOT SCREW UP A GOOD THING.  As a direct to consumer marketer I know that just one too many touch points with the customer can cause back lash – such as –  “I loved my easyGopro until I was bugged by the Seller to leave a review so here it is.. your product sucks.”  Yes, this review would live forever on Amazon.   It’s human nature – happy customers are not the squeaky wheels.

As an Amazon Seller, we are often bombarded by emails from companies such as   “I love to Review.com”.  This service encourages a Seller to give free product for a guaranteed review.  Okay, so what’s wrong with that picture?  In easyGopro’s case that would cost no less than $18.00+ each review.

Why would I pay $18.00 for a review?  Some please explain that to me.

Plus, there is nothing worse than reading contrived reviews.  Take it from me, the longer the review the more likely it was paid.  If you see a photo attached – beware – attaching photos is a fav of “paid reviewers”.

What if you, as a consumer, found out that 50% of the reviews were given FREE product?  Paid reviews are supposed to “disclose” perhaps the reason for long reviews – no one gets to the end to see the disclosure.   I digress, doesn’t that taint the influence reviews have on your purchase or how you feel about that brand?

That’s why I believe in quality over quantity – or the power of few.  Make no mistake – reviews are Influencers and are powerful.   The 432 reviews easyGopro has may not be many against our sales and  our competition’s 3,000 reviews, but ours are guaranteed REAL. REAL PAYING customers who have posted because they desire to influence others without an agenda.

Next time you see thousands of reviews on a product, or you are influenced by reviews, remember  there are aggregate companies such as Bazaarvoice.com  that gather  reviews across the web and show up as one total on retailer’s sites across the web.  This is misleading at best as Walgreen’s customers may have only bought 5 and commented on none, but you are seeing 1,200 positive reviews (aggregated).   Amazon does not allow this, but it does allow  Ilovetoreview.com through its sacred walls.

Next time you are being influenced to buy  a product or service, ask yourself by whom.

 

Get ready to enter the No Fly Zone!

Daynin Dashefsky, President and founder of The Inventors World Network, Inc., is an accomplished inventor, entrepreneur and one of the most amazing ladies on this planet!  Daynin is packed full of energy, wisdom and experience.  It’s been about 10 years since I first met Daynin as a new inventor with her No Fly Zone at a showcase in Las Vegas.  After mentoring her in 1999 for a short time, Daynin went on to become a successful entrepreneur and inventor advocate.    If you are an inventor or an entrepreneur with a product – like I always say, this is the show you need to listen to!   You can get Daynin’s Inventors World Network DVD series for only $99.00 (usually $399.00) when you mention The C Spot! Just contact her at Daynin@Daynin.com

Listen/download the show here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/get-ready-to-enter-no-fly/id513363396?i=221130580&mt=2

RED is the new color of money!

Saturday mornings on your local stations is filled with infomercials – in fact there are entire stations dedicated to only airing 30 minute infomercials.  Patrick Raymond, Owner, Writer, Executive DR Strategist (I left out the TV as I had that expression) of Raymond Entertainment Direct, {RED} brings 21 years as a creative professional to the table and the microphone.  Today we discuss how direct response creative agencies (now being called branded entertainment) are very different than general market agencies. We’ve been doing performance based marketing for 20 years – so our clients (RED’s and CSRP’s) rely on us for much more than to produce a commercial.  Learn what it involves and how deep the client relationship runs.  Today we dish about using celebrities; what Kathy Ireland is up to; secrets to great testimonials, and much much more.  (You saw that one coming!)  I love when I have one of my close colleagues (and competition) on the show – it’s just so much fun to talk shop and leave some great direct response marketing tips for everyone to enjoy!  The C Spot is unplugged conversation – we just let it flow.  Enjoy the Show!

Listen to the show here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/september-5-2013/id513363396?i=165746713&mt=2

Fritzmania!

On The C Spot last Thursday was Fritz Coleman, Southern California’s “Best Weathercaster” – [NBC] Channel 4 News since 1982; a stand up comedian and  serious humanitarian, Fritz has been honored for his dedication to community service many times.  In 1999 the City of Los Angeles named Fritz Coleman the “Treasure of Los Angeles.” He received the  Humanitarian of the Year Award from the US House of Representatives for his fundraising efforts on behalf of the American Red Cross.  In 2004 Fritz received two Humanitarian Awards, one from the Shelter Partnership and the other from the California Hospital Medical Center.  Fritz’s love for life and family is his nature.   No wonder he also loves to be a stand-up comic.  Fritz has performed at The Improv and The Ice House, and on September 28, 2013 he’ll bring his act,  “Fritz and Friends an Evening of Comedy” to VIC (Valley Interfaith Council) www.vic-la.org, in support of its assistance program for the elderly.  What drives Fritz Coleman?  What’s it like to be on TV for 31 years talking about the weather? How did Fritz inspire me to get closer to the open mic?    You may be thinking, “what has this got to do with marketing?”   It has everything to do with marketing! Whenever I can use my show to bring attention to serious and worthy causes then The C Spot IS the marketing tool.  Internet radio reaches around the world.  Internet radio lives online in podcasts forever.  It’s available to share and download 24/7 365!   What better way to keep a cause alive than to do so through Internet Radio?  It’s the smartest marketing tool today!   It is our responsibility as humans to use our voice to make this world a better place.  Of course, in true Cooper style, I reveal secret Fritz sightings as far back as 1989 on Sunset Blvd., and bring to light 3 degrees of separation that we share on many levels.  Remember, September 28, 2013 at 6PM at VIC 818-880-4842 ext 3002 for donations, tickets and VIP seating and reception – it’s sure to be Fritzmania!  www.Vic-la.org – delivering over 350,000 meals on wheels a year and so much more!  Thanks for listening!

Listen to the podcast of the show here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fritzmania!/id513363396?i=165178133&mt=2

Absolutely Abdo-licious!

I love my colleague and friend  JOHN ABDO!  A former Olympic athlete who is now regarded worldwide as an authority on life motivation, health, fitness and athletic conditioning.  John has been a Professor of Fitness Sciences, Master Fitness Trainer, and was recently inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. How I know John is as the creator of the Award-Winning invention, The AB-DOer®, which has sold over 7 million units in over fifty countries, and he’s the formulator and spokesperson for the #1 Male-Health Formula sold on TV today, Androzene®.

John is a powerful and passionate man in all he does…even my radio show!  I love this guy and you will too!  Www.johnabdo.com.  Like us on Facebook – C Spot Talk page…:)

Listen on iTunes Podcast: http://ow.ly/m5dq4

“I’m All Yours” but don’t make this Ginger Squat!

Singer Songwriter, Rachel London returns to The C Spot!  On April 12, 2012 Rachel was my guest and shared her first single “Toxic Magic Tragic”
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/im-all-yours/id646016892?i=646017645.  Today, her latest single
I’m All Yours”  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/im-all-yours/id646016892?i=646017645, just dropped on June 4, 2013 (2 days ago) and is already getting airplay around the world.  Rachel has come a looooooonnnnnggg way since her last visit, in a very short period of time.  What’s her secret?  What did she do to market herself, her music? How did she get those doors open to work with people like: Jon Secada, Mark Hudson (Ozzy Osborne, AeroSmith) Rudy Perez (Billboard’s Producer of the Decade, and worked with JLO and Christina Aguilera)  Troy Remi (Timbaland, Sean Paul) and Wendy Starland (Hall of Fame SongWriter who discovered Lady Gaga and Gavin Degraw) and Mike Gonsolin (Limp Bitzkit, The Veronicas, Sam Adams).  Damn girl!  She is “Pop Artist of the Year” nominated for the 2014 Music Awards.  What can’t she do!  Thanks for listening…and share!

Listen on iTunes PAodcast: http://ow.ly/lR916

Rise above JCP – Rise Above!

Branding expert David Brier of www.RisingAbovetheNoise.com joins me for an unplugged, unscripted, and never boring LIVE 50-minutes.  If you’ve ever wondered about branding, or get it confused with marketing, or trademarks, or whatever (now I’m confused), then this riff session is brilliant and entertaining.  Plus, I’ve been waiting to discuss the recent nightmare of JCP, I mean JC Penny, and The GAP’s failed attempt a couple of years ago, at rebranding.

Little did I know that my dream would come true today but even better,  David boasted about the blog he penned for Fast Company, or was it Forbes, that sent The Gap [new brand attempt] into a state of total crash and burn!

David is a total ninja; a Fast Company expert blogger; a SlideShare ROCKSTAR and total branding genius.  But wait there’s more!  David received 1st Place in the 2013 Shorty Awards, (Oscar of Social Media).  Enjoy and thanks for listening.

http://ow.ly/lFqCX

DRTV Magic!

Rick McIntosh, owner of McIntosh Productions, (www.drtvmagic.com) is my rock’n guest today! Rick has had 8 DRTV hits in the past couple of years, which in itself is a miracle because only 1 in every 3 DRTV commercials tested makes it out of the gate. There was only one glitch! I couldn’t get Rick on the phone so the first 10 minutes! It’s live radio beamed across the universe and so I knew sooner or later it had to happen to me. Rick simply couldn’t get his IPHONE to slide open when I was calling! We all know that’s the greasy finger syndrome and Apple really work on that.

Today we discuss DRTV late night YELL and SELL commercials and why they make so much damn money. We have a lot of fun because Rick and I go way back, and we are not afraid to reminisce about Billy Mays, Sully, Vince Offer, Bill McAlister, and other great, and not so great, people in DRTV.

You see, in a very small industry that makes a huge amount of money for many, producers are often the last to get the credit. My question to Rick to is is, why? Because unlike any other advertising medium in the world, DRTV producers take on so many hats and then are the ones left in the corner when the marketer doesn’t execute the backend properly and then judged by that failure. This show is rated 5 Stars! Check out Rick’s work at http://www.drtvmagic.com!

Listen on iTunes: http://ow.ly/lFhbb

WTF are they thinking!

This past week a few things happened in my 20 year career in direct response that, well let’s put it this way, sent me over the proverbial “edge”.  Nadia Lessani has joined me in studio to share her discoveries about the closed minded direct response television industry and how closed minded, and uncreative it really is.  Learn  C Spot Run Productions has managed to stay out side of that darn box, and be vibrant with new ideas in the creative approach and how blending for the past 16 years the knowledge of the backend management with the front end creative has been a winning solution.   Today I grew a set of balls and went where no one has gone before.  Call me crazy…but someone has to call it, and that’s what I did today.  Enjoy the rant and then us out at www.cspotrun.com.  For your latest work go to my YouTube channel, Wendi Cooper formerly known as C Spot Run Direct (channel until Youtube changed it).

Listen on iTunes: http://ow.ly/lFgTL