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Amazon Terminates Merchant Ads That Pull Visitors Offsite

Off-site sellers who enjoyed a steady stream of traffic from Amazon Product Ads will bid farewell to that at the end of October. The big online retailer disclosed over the summer that the service would end on Halloween.

Likewise, what had appeared to be a possible replacement, or even a competitor with Google AdWords, will also cease operation as Amazon also discontinues its Text Ads, sellers learned this month. Both Product Ads and Text Ads took visitors off Amazon’s pages to off-site listings.

Whether or not keeping shoppers within the friendly confines of Amazon.com is the intent here will remain a bit of a mystery. Amazon declined to comment when contacted for this story.

Text Ads enjoyed a very brief existence as an Amazon service. Merkle RKG noted the original announcement for Amazon Text Ads took place August 11. It was further speculated Text Ads could serve as a replacement for ads from Google appearing in some instances on Amazon pages.

Merkle RKG senior director of research Mark Ballard told EcommerceBytes he sees Amazon’s moves as perhaps motivation to nudge sellers to join with Amazon’s Marketplace instead.

“By discontinuing both its text and product ads programs, Amazon is sending a strong signal that if retailers want to generate sales from Amazon traffic, they will need to become an Amazon marketplace seller to do so,” Ballard said. “That’s not a palatable option for many retailers who want to control their customers’ brand experience and avoid giving Amazon additional insights into their business.”

“Instead, we may see budgets flow to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which are both making pushes into ecommerce,” Ballard said.

Over at CPC Strategy, one commenter expressed no interest in shifting to Amazon’s Marketplace. ” I can’t stand companies who hold our money hostage for 7+ days due to how new we are, force us to pay a commission to them, then pay them processing fees, then charge us for any other random fees. No thanks,” commented one merchant.

One reader who relied heavily on Amazon Product Ads told EcommerceBytes she planned to shift her marketing budget towards Google Ads, but didn’t think it would make up for the loss in traffic.

“Amazon connected with more shoppers because they were on Amazon for one reason – to shop for a specific item. And the results gave shoppers a few options from Amazon sellers, but the Product Ads listed on the same page connected my storefront to the buyer resulting in sales conversions. And, if I offer a product that no other Amazon seller is listing, my product was displayed as if it was parked on Amazon.

“Google is so large that it’s more difficult to stand out in a sea of big box retailers with huge marketing budgets.”

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.