After a roller coaster of a week last week, Amazon.com is providing some clarification on "brand-gating" and what it means for merchants. As a quick refresh, Amazon implemented new rules last week requiring merchants to supply dozens of invoices and pay up to a $1,500 fee to sell certain popular (and frequently counterfeited) brands, such as Adidas, Hasbro and Nike, on the marketplace. However, this week the Seattle-based retailer is backtracking and saying that current merchants selling on its platform will be grandfathered into the system and the new charges, ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the products, will be waived. The new rules were originally implemented to help merchants on the site fight Amazon's serious counterfeiting problem.
Total Retail's Take: It's great that there's clarification now, but the way Amazon has communicated the new rules, their implementation and details of the plan has been a mess. After last week's short-on-details announcement, a lot of merchants selling on Amazon were left confused and angry. The fact that the majority of sellers found out about the new counterfeit rules by being blocked was outrageous.