Amazon sellers are in a frenzy to delete past posts on the discussion boards after learning Amazon will display their business names when migrating them to a new "reimagined" seller forum. They fear that people who disagree with their posts will be able to retaliate against them online and in real life.
Unless Amazon reverts back to keeping their business names private on their forum posts, many said they expected participation on the seller discussion boards to plummet.
Some excerpts from sellers commenting about the new practice include the following:
- "It seems Amazon is determined to reduce the number of knowledgeable posters in the forums. What better way than to publish their business name. We've had almost no luck getting answers from Seller Support on the infrequent occasions we've opened cases, while the forums have been a gold mine of useful information. This is disheartening, to say the least."
- "This is about the WORST OF THE WORST IDEAS AMAZON HAS HAD. My opinion - 90% of Forum top 100 contributors will opt-out or never again be seen."
- "I want my account, my posts, and my likes deleted. No trace. Some very specific Forum users be crazy. They have doxxed on social media and will dox again. THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE."
- "Can't wait to see what my competitors are posting in the forums!"
People hadn't paid much attention when Amazon announced last week it would migrate sellers to new Seller Forums, which it said it built based on seller feedback. The October 18th announcement, "Introducing the new Seller Forums," touted "new voting features, simplified navigation, personalized experiences, and more."
"Starting in October, Amazon began rolling out the new Seller Forums, making it easier for you to connect with other sellers, find answers to your business questions, and engage with Amazon community managers.
"The new forums simplify navigation, highlight trustworthy information, and provide you the opportunity to personalize your experience. Crafted from seller feedback, these new features can help you learn more about growing your business. We will migrate all US sellers to the new forums by the end of 2022."
Amazon emphasized it had asked sellers what they wanted when creating the new Seller Forums:
"Seller feedback played a direct role in helping our product teams determine which features are most relevant to you. We surveyed sellers, conducting hundreds of virtual interviews to better understand how to improve Seller Forums. Sellers also took part in research studies and worked with forums prototypes, providing real-time feedback that played a key role in developing a more intuitive experience. In addition, Amazon community managers engaged with sellers in the forums directly to ask their opinions."
Some sellers said they use their selling name as their forum handle with no issues, but they were in the minority of those weighing in on the issue.
When an Amazon moderator deleted the email address of an Amazon employee on the thread and was asked why, the moderator responded by citing policy with no apparent sense of irony:
"Do not post or share any personal information for about yourself or others. Personal information includes but, is not limited to, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, license numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit or debit card numbers, any financial information, or IP address."
One seller responded:
"Oh of course! But YOU (i.e. Amazon) will gladly post our personal info, including our addresses. That is EXACTLY what you'll be doing if you follow through with this incredibly stupid move. Connect our forum posts with our store name… and guess what? Right there on our storefront page is (for most of us) our PERSONAL NAME and ADDRESS! Which of course is ANOTHER unbelievably messed up Amazon policy in the first place.
"Do you people have ANY idea how dangerous and IMMORAL what you're trying to do? Do you realize there are plenty of "buyers" and "rival sellers" out there who are capable of literally anything? Do you CARE?"
Some sellers have written thousands of posts but said because the new policy is retroactive, they would have to manually delete their past posts - and some reported they were only able to delete four posts in a 24-hour period. And one seller said posts older than 60 days cannot be deleted.
"As the selling community grows, we believe that showing business names will help increase trust and mutual respect amongst sellers. It's also another great way to network and learn more about the other sellers you engage with in the forums. Let me share the feedback about the profile experience you described and see if I can gather additional details."