Update 11/1/2019: An Amazon spokesperson provided us with the following statement: “Yesterday’s email was sent in error and all impacted listings were reinstated within hours.”
Amazon notified a seller on October 31st that they need approval to list Nintendo products – by October 31st. This is a practice called product “gating.” The seller published the following notification email on a thread on the Amazon seller discussion board:
Please read this email carefully. The listing information described below may affect your ability to sell certain products.
As part of our ongoing efforts to provide the best possible customer experience, we are implementing approval requirements for Nintendo products.
What does this mean for me?
Effective on 2019-10-31, you will need approval to list the affected products. If you do not obtain approval to sell these products prior to 2019-10-31, your listings for these products will be removed.
Why am I receiving this message?
You are receiving this message because you have sold affected products in the past. There is no penalty associated with this action.
How do I seek approval to sell the affected products?
If you would like to seek approval to sell the affected products, complete the following steps to start the application process:
1) In Seller Central, click the Inventory menu, and then select Add a Product.
2) Search for the ASIN you want to sell.
3) In the search results, click the Listing limitations apply link next to the ASIN.
4) Click the Request Approval button to start the application process.
We appreciate your cooperation in this important matter, and thank you for selling on Amazon.
The original poster noted Amazon was giving him or her “zero time to make arrangements.” Another seller noted in the ensuing discussion that when they sought approval to sell Nintendo products, they received the following message: “You are not approved to list this product and we are not accepting applications at this time.”
“Amazon is doing this with many brands right now to enforce gating and prevent counterfeits/unauthorized sellers,” said one seller.
“They are doing what they did with DVDs and Apple products. Shutting everyone down so they can sell the items for more money. This BS should be illegal,” wrote the original poster.
In a tweet, Larry Pluimer of Amazon advertising and services agency Indigitous pointed to an Ars Technica article about the product gating letter. Pluimer wrote, “Amazon inconsistencies in Seller rules highlighted by Nintendo approval requirement (just do this for all brands already).”
Ars Technica pointed out that the notification email did not reveal which company – Nintendo or Amazon – was responsible for the change, but the author noted that the move followed similar efforts by Amazon to clamp down on other product categories’ “used” sales.
According to the publication, “This affects everything from modern Switch games and consoles to out-of-print cartridges and hardware, but it also leaves third-party makers of Nintendo console games (i.e., Capcom, Ubisoft) unaffected.”
Readers shared their thoughts in the comments section of the Ars Technica article.
It’s not a surprise that Amazon places restrictions on third-party selling of products and categories, but it’s troubling that in this case, it is informing sellers as the holiday shopping season gears up – while providing no advance warning.
Be sure to see the update above, repeated here: An Amazon spokesperson provided us with the following statement: “Yesterday’s email was sent in error and all impacted listings were reinstated within hours.”