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Amazon Gates Nintendo Products, Leaving Seller in the Lurch

Amazon
Amazon Gates Nintendo Products Leaving Seller in the Lurch

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:

Dear seller,
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.

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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.
Regards,
Amazon Services

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.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

2 thoughts on “Amazon Gates Nintendo Products, Leaving Seller in the Lurch”

  1. Amazon has been doing this for the past several years for products they have an active interest in selling.

    for many years Amazon has been buying back or offering “trade in credit” for movies, games, books etc etc and have warehouses filled with stock they can’t get rid of because they have more money in them than what they can sell them for so to wipe out competition and to drive the prices back up they started gating those categories and limiting how many sellers there are for them.

    The poster who stated this should be illegal is right, it should be. They should be investigated to the fullest extent and made to pay for these actions.

    Their claimed reasons are just a smoke screen for the real reasons they are going after third party sellers and violating the First Sale Doctrine.

    It’s been a joke for many years now and a financial burden for sellers of those products who have spent years building a trade on Amazon.

    You cannot get permission from Nintendo to sell used Nintendo products.. period. The only thing you can do is get a wholesale account somewhere for NEW Nintendo products which is a gateway to be able to sell used products and 90% maybe even 95% of gaming sellers don’t have what it takes to get a wholesale account to do that.

    It’s a bunch of smoke being blown up the A$$es of third party sellers so that Amazon can eliminate it’s competition.

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