Monthly Archives: February 2016

FBA Buzz: Is The Amazon Marketing App Meant To Fend Off Walmart?

Amazon marketing app
Will the new Amazon marketing app keep sellers from jumping to Walmart?

Right now, Amazon.com is a Wall Street darling. Despite a recent stock dip, its numbers bewitch investors; the offerings delight disposable-income-America; and, in semi-Shaolin fashion, Amazon has studiously molded itself into a Jedi master (if not the Kylo Ren) of supply chain logistics. The profitable cherry on top? Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) – a program for third-party sellers – has grown 65% over the past 12 months.

But successes aside, cautionary chatter still circulates (“Can Amazon keep an iron grip on its ecommerce dominance?”). Plus, Walmart is starting to woo third-party sellers, which has some people wondering: “Are we on the precipice of an ecommerce cage fight?”

So, what is one way that Bezos & co. can stay on top? Boost FBA seller stickiness.

A New Tool For Amazon Marketing

In its latest attempt to attract and keep marketing entrepreneurs, Amazon developed a “selling coach” app that allows FBA users to:

  • Track inventory;
  • Monitor sales; and
  • Get up-to-the-minute advice and pricing suggestions based on site activity.

Beyond the “selling coach” app, Amazon is also helping FBA users with:

  • Translation services (to help folks enter the international market); and
  • Advice on how to improve listings.

Amazon’s Developing Programs to Attract and Retain Marketers

Amazon is openly courting marketers. Which makes sense; forty-five percent of Amazon merchants are “outside” sellers. In the past year, the FBA roster alone has exploded by sixty-five percent. The numbers communicate the story: Fulfillment by Amazon is a wildly successful venture; and the more money FBA marketers make, the more money Amazon makes.

Merchant Fulfilled Prime Eligible

In addition to the new app, the Amazon marketing team is testing out a new concept – “merchant fulfilled prime eligible.” The program baits warehouse-equipped companies with Amazon’s favorable shipping rates. A win-win: Amazon expands its brand, but saves money on warehousing costs and participating companies save on shipping costs.

Hook Up With An Fulfillment By Amazon Lawyer

Kelly Warner Law is a friend to many online sellers and FBA marketers. Our private label attorneys have the knowledge you need to profit. Over the years, we’ve guided countless clients with FTC issues, marketing compliance and other ecommerce initiatives. The best part: we’re not just lawyers; several of our team members are serious product marketers in their own rights.

Get in touch today. We’ll chat about your Amazon marketing questions and guide you towards the most profitable (and protected) path.

*Prices adjusted for FBA marketers and sellers – even folks just starting out.

COPPA Lawyers Explains 2016 Imaging Technology Update

COPPA Lawyer update
In this article, a COPPA lawyer explains the latest changes to the law involving facial imaging technology.

Beep! Beep! Make way for a caravan of “COPPA Cassandras.”

The Federal Trade Commission approved a new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) verification process. And you know what that means: children’s advocacy groups are sounding alarms. What’s the latest COPPA complaint? In short: “Tricky kids are tricky – tricky enough to weasel their way around this photo verification process!”

A 30-Second COPPA Summary

First, let’s quickly review COPPA. Here are the main points:

  • At the time of this writing, COPPA is one of the few federal online privacy laws in the United States.
  • Its goal is to protect kids aged 12 and under from the evils of the Internet.
  • The crux of COPPA is the verification requirement. Parents and guardians must consent before a digital platform or app is allowed to collect information from minors or let them participate on certain websites.

Click here to read more about COPPA rules »

The New COPPA Verification Method: Facial Recognition

Previously, guardians could satisfy the COPPA verification requirement via:

  • Credit card authorization;
  • Mail in consent;
  • Fax in consent;
  • Calling an 800 number; or
  • Sending an electronic scan.

Now, parents have the option of using the Face Match Verified Photo Identification (FMVPI) method – or in the colloquial parlance of our time, “selfie verification.”

How does it work?

  • First, the parent or guardian submits a government issued identification picture (i.e., driver’s license or passport pic).
  • Second, the parent or guardian takes a selfie with either a smartphone or webcam and submits it.
  • If the two images match, then verification is complete and the biometric data is erased within five minutes.

Naysayers: “COPPA Facial Recognition Method Unsafe Because Today’s Tots Are Tricky.”

COPPA is frequently amended. And every time officials update it, someone voices concern about the change. The Facial recognition verification amendment is no exception; concerned parties have taken to the Internet, flash mobbing a cacophony of caution.

So, what’s the main gripe about the new COPPA verification method? In a phrase: high trickery potential. The anti-FMVPI camp insists that sneaky kids will cajole “willing adults” (i.e., sketchy adults) into posing as their parents or guardians. Other folks opposed to imaging technology verification also argue that today’s wee-ones are more than savvy enough to:

  1. lift mom’s or dad’s license without mom or dad noticing;
  2. take a picture of mom or dad with a smartphone or webcam; and
  3. submit both with neither mom or dad the wiser.

After considering the potential for deceit, regulators felt the concerns were overblown because the system incorporates appropriate safeguards. A proponent of the imaging technology explained that measures are in place to “reasonably [calculate], in light of available technology, to ensure that the person providing consent is the child’s parent.”

Who Needs To Follow COPPA Rules?

Since COPPA’s ascendance into U.S. federal law books, there’s been confusion as to who must follow the rules and who is exempt. And, to be fair, the confusion was understandable; language in the early iterations of the bill was, shall we say, vague.

Yes, I want to speak with a COPPA Lawyer »

But these days, edits have been made, and clarifications added. Here’s the COPPA bottom line:

  • If your website or app, in any way whatsoever, caters to children aged 12 and under, adhere to COPPA rules – even if you don’t target kids; even if you buried a clause, in the terms, forbidding minors from using the site. If a website or app could be attractive to the kidlings – due to animations or color schemes or topic matter – follow COPPA.
  • If you operate or develop an advertising distribution app – or any other type of plugin – you, too, are responsible for following COPPA protocol.

Want to make sure you’re on the right side of the legal COPPA fence? Chat with an attorney who focuses on Internet law. It’ll only cost you a couple of hundred dollars, give you peace of mind, and maybe save you millions of dollars in sanctions.

Consult With A COPPA Lawyer

Are you ready to speak with an experienced COPPA law attorney? If so, get in touch with Aaron Kelly. A top-rated lawyer, Aaron maintains high ratings on AVVO, in addition to a preeminent AV rating. Want to know more about the guy? Click here for his bio.

COPPA violations are expensive. Avoid them. Partner with an experienced COPPA lawyer – one who will work to keep you on FTC’s good side.