Cole South Profile picture
Jul 21, 2022 28 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
ever wonder why the cheap junk flooding Amazon has keyboard-mashing brand names like MOFFBUZW?

let's dive into an example... the 2nd organic result for "baby moccasins" has:

- 0 reviews
- no Prime offer
- 20 day shipping (lol)
- a brand name that literally looks like Dog Shit Image
the seller behind this offer has a lifetime negative feedback rate of 20%.

small sample size, but that is MASSIVE (ours is 0%).

legit sellers are routinely suspended for a bad run of several negative feedback in a row. yet bad actors run rampant. Image
want to get in touch with DOTTAVR?

did your kid get hurt or sick from something you bought from them?

well, they're on Amazon... surely they are a legit company and Amazon is covering their bases... good luck! Image
here's a great example of why this is important...

someone bought a retractable dog leash from a Chinese seller. they hit the "retract" button on the leash and it whiplashed toward their face at Mach 5 💨

it rendered them permanently blind in one eye.
the Chinese seller of the dog leash was one of tens of thousands hiding behind shell companies, impossible to track down or hold liable.…
what's the root cause of all of this?

Amazon courting overseas manufacturers and sellers at all costs.

this has had a terrible impact on customer safety, and is turning their marketplace turning into a flea market of total junk.
as an American e-commerce store owner, if we lose our Amazon seller account it will be a huge issue for our business.

we're also liable for the products we sell.

this gives us a big incentive to play within Amazon's rules, and to make sure the products we are selling are safe.
black-hat international sellers on the other hand (let's face it, China is 90%+ of the issue here) hide behind shell businesses and fake names.

if they get popped for writing fake reviews or selling a product that kills someone, they just show up next week under a new account.
buying/selling/trading Amazon accounts is big business in China.

it almost feels like the all-caps gibberish names are a troll from these sellers about how easy it is to spin up fake accounts.

page 1 for "spatula" has a row of offers from BANKKY, DESLON, ORIGRACE, and TACGEA 😆 Image
are 100% of Chinese sellers at fault here? absolutely not.

there are plenty of legit, hardworking Chinese entrepreneurs that care about the (mostly American) customers they serve and play fair.

but Amazon has been letting the blackhat ones wreak complete havoc for years.
Amazon is halfheartedly playing whack-a-mole with the occasional wave of suspensions.…

but anyone who has sold much on Amazon knows these are the tip of the iceberg.

here are 5 of the devilishly genius ways black-hat sellers cheat on Amazon...

want all of your competitor's advertising reports, to find their most profitable keywords?

need a customer's email address so you can hound them about a negative review they left?

for a few hundred bucks, this info is easy to get. Image

let's say you're selling a brand new spatula in 2 colors: black and red. you have zero reviews... and that's a problem for sales!

well, all you need to do is find an old discontinued iPhone case with 1000's of reviews.
it took me 2 minutes to find a perfect candidate just by Googling:

"amazon iphone We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock"…
now create a case with amazon support / bribe an employee / DIY in Amazon's backend to:

let them know that actually 😉 this iPhone case is the green version of your new spatula! it (and its 6,078 reviews) should be included on your listing.

very common, instant social proof.

get (or ask someone with) an Amazon Vendor account to sneak fun words into the invisible backend of a listing like:

"cures cancer"

instant suspension 👏🏻

bonus points for doing it on an international listing, making it super hard to track down!

amazon roughly ranks products by keyword, in order of sales velocity.

you can buy your way to the top (temporarily at least) by generating a ton of orders - legitimately or fraudulently. that's expensive though!
well, clever sellers figured out that adding an item to a user's Amazon Wishlist has a similar effect and doesn't cost a thing.

just hire a bunch of bots on different VPNs, or professional wishlisters in Bangladesh, to move your brand new product to the top of search results. Image

simple, effective, and hilarious for all.

best executed on Prime Day or Black Friday. Image
marketplace antics are one thing, but product safety is serious business.

we spend a ton of money on safety testing, compliance, taxes, and insurance to make sure we're offering products that are safe for customers.
black-hat sellers are cutting scary corners on safety.

product testing is sporadically enforced by Amazon. submitting fake or questionable documentation is no problem if you're using a burner account.

there are "ungating" services to help you sell into restricted categories. Image
the bottom line is that most amazon sellers - who know how the sausage is made - wouldn't dare trust an unknown brand's random kitchen or baby product in their house.

i'm always shocked how little attention this gets by the media.
how can you protect yourself as a consumer? i think about my amazon purchases in 2 categories.

1. i just need some commodity cheap and fast, and am not too worried about safety or authenticity. ok MKFFUDU, you have earned my business 🤝
2. safety/quality is a concern. some pointers:

- buy from legit brands, make sure the seller matches the brand name (or is Amazon themselves).

what's legit? you know it when you see it. if the name is PLMMBON and the address is "asdfasdfasdf, Shenzhen" you are rolling the dice.
- place more weight into number of reviews than star rating. if a product has a ton of reviews, it has at least (most likely) moved a lot of units without killing someone or being removed for excessive customer complaints.
- sort reviews by "Most Recent" to see what recent customers think of the product. older reviews are less relevant and can be from totally unrelated products that were merged onto the listing.

even that isn't foolproof. anyone can sell anything on Amazon.
our good friends DOTTAVR can list a "totally 100% authentic" @simplemodern water bottle.

until Amazon shuts them down it will be sold alongside @mikebeckhamsm & @jBryanPorter's legit, safe inventory.

in the meantime hopefully no buyers are slowly poisoned by a heavy metal leak.
despite all of this, i still mostly love Amazon as a customer. it played a big role in getting my e-commerce business off of the ground and i'm grateful for that.

but it's sad to see where their marketplaces is headed, and how little they seem to care.

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More from @ColeSouth

Jul 24, 2022
geez, that thread really blew up! appreciate all the responses, feedback, and stories.

one thing that stuck out to me was how so many ordinary Amazon customers (not sellers, not tech nerds like me) now realize this is an issue from their own personal experience...
a few years ago, i would try to explain this problem to friends and family.

they'd respond with glazed over faces and "amazon is fine for me, i love it."

and i'd constantly be returning or tossing stuff my wife bought for the kids 🤣
now it seems even if many of you didn't fully realize it in the moment, when it's pointed out it clicks:

"wow, wtf, this has totally happened to me. do i need to go back and check the pacifiers i bought last month?"
Read 6 tweets
May 21, 2022
this was a great interview of @cmsholdings by @ericgoldenx…

i loved this ep because Dan told so many stories and used specific numbers for each topic, rather than just talking about things in theory.

some interesting themes they covered...
@cmsholdings @ericgoldenx 1. $USDT - Tether Truthers loves to hound on the idea that billons of USDT is printed out of thin air to pump the crypto markets.

Dan's take is actually the exact opposite (worth a listen @Jason, @coffeebreak_YT, @Bitfinexed).
@cmsholdings @ericgoldenx @Jason @coffeebreak_YT @Bitfinexed USA order flow was pumping Coinbase's prices so much higher than overseas exchanges, so arbitragers/market makers would:

1. buy cheap BTC with USDT on overseas exchanges like Bitfinex
2. sell it at a higher price on Coinbase for USD
3. use the USD proceeds to mint USDT
4. repeat
Read 10 tweets
Apr 27, 2022
here's a CRAZY story about a post on a niche internet subforum that resulted in at least one billionaire (yes with a *B*), and several deca-millionaire degenerates...

Subject: Bitcoins - digital currency
04-02-2011, 02:44 AM
"Any value to this idea or will it never work?" Image
from 2000-2015, the Two Plus Two poker forums were the primary hangout for professional poker players. i made countless friends through 2+2.

it's hard to overstate how busy these forums were. 24/7 there was a ton of activity discussing everything from poker hands to politics. Image
one of my favorite subcategories on 2+2 was "Business Finance and Investing"

BFI had posts about everything from real estate to day trading.

on April 2nd, 2011 the legendary "Bitcoins - digital currency" thread was started...

"Any value to this idea or will it never work?" Image
Read 14 tweets
Apr 25, 2022
i've heard from a lot of poker players asking for advice on moving on to start a business.

this quote always comes to mind:

"i know lots of extremely rich people. plenty of them are solo operators. plenty of them are happy people. but there is no overlap between the two groups"
[badly paraphrased] from this excellent book:…

IMO... you should avoid going it alone, and strongly consider partnering with someone.
do they need to have specific skills? no, not really.

just a general compatibility with you, a similar level of drive/end goal, and a bias toward action.

getting the snowball of a new project rolling is HARD. trying to do it by yourself makes it exponentially so.
Read 11 tweets
Apr 24, 2022
here's the story of how i:

* bought a 6 figure domain name in 2011
* got insanely lucky to get bailed out ten years later
* cemented my number 1 rule of investing: value liquidity above all else...
back in 2011, a friend-of-a-friend was trying to sell a domain name he had owned for a long time.

i can't say the actual URL, but think something like ""

i had ZERO experience buying domain names.
but just two months earlier, all of the top online poker sites had exited the USA market in what's known in the poker world as Black Friday (…)

as a mostly online, American poker pro, i was scrambling trying to figure out what to do.
Read 15 tweets
Dec 13, 2021
Very interesting episode of Uncommon Core today, with @hasufl and @zhusu discussing the future of Ethereum vs competing L1s:…

some key points and my thoughts on a few of them...
1.) Zhu: Ethereum maximalism is much more dangerous for ETH than Bitcoin maximalism is for BTC.

Couldn't agree more. Bitcoin doesn't really need to "do" anything to win as the leading store of value. If Ethereum wants to win as a tech product, maximalism is a weak approach.
I love Ethereum. I use it a lot, along with plenty of other chains too.

The smart contract space is moving so fast, with so much innovation.

Writing off anything non-Ethereum (when new users clearly love L1s like AVAX, SOL, MATIC, LUNA etc) is going to lead to huge blind spots.
Read 16 tweets

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