Does Amazon Have Stricter A+ Content Guidelines in New Markets?

Puzzle time! What do these words have in common?
New. Guarantee. Eco-friendly. Best. Latest. High.

Did you spot the link? That’s right, these are all terms that, at one time or another, have caused content to be rejected by Amazon.

The amount of trauma you’ve previously suffered at the hands of Vendor Central probably determines how easy you found that quiz. Trying to find ways to stop your A+ content from being rejected is a popular subject around here, one that we’ve talked about before and will again. But we wanted to highlight an underappreciated aspect of the submissions minefield: how new Amazon locales often impose the most rigid and unworkable content restrictions.

We get it. You’re a global retail behemoth interacting with millions of sellers in dozens of languages. You want to protect your customers from unscrupulous sellers willing to say anything to get a sale, but you’re unwilling to employ a small army to manage this process. So, what do you do?

Simple. For most problems, you establish automated rules that instantly reject any terms that fall into specific categories: hyperbole (best), time-sensitive (new), external services (guarantee), etc. For everything else, you prepare scripts for your global editor teams, cutting down the need for expensive training and expertise.

But language is so often dependant on context. Words that can be used excessively to mislead customers can also be a vital element in typical marketing or descriptive writing used by respected brands.

Take another look at the list at the top of this article and focus on the word “high”. Now, look at the marketing description for any recent TV. Or a coffee machine. Imagine having to rewrite your entire copy to remove any reference to “high-resolution”, or “high-pressure”, just to satisfy an automated gatekeeper. And imagine that same copy being accepted in a neighbouring country with no edits needed. Frustrating, right?

What we’ve found time and time again is that when Amazon launches a new locale, the content rules enforced by the automated system and the editors are almost unworkably strict. Brands often find themselves forced to rewrite their A+ content, or to enter lengthy disputes that often result in scripted responses or periods of inaction. We have seen recent examples in both Australia and Singapore and would not be surprised to hear similar things from Sweden and other, new Amazon locations.

So, what can you do? Sadly, the answer seems to be to embrace the pain in the short term to help shape the service for the future. Make sure you are escalating any unreasonable content rejections in both your and Amazon’s retail teams. The best way to influence these decisions is to make it a consideration in the business relationship between you and your account managers. It is also vital, where possible, to point out where the same content has been accepted and loaded by other Amazon locations, and hammer home the point that a lack of international consistency is a potential impediment to sales.

Ultimately, there will be situations where we all may have to accept rejections despite our misgivings. But this makes it even more vital that we do what we can to stop Amazon making their processes easier by making our jobs harder.