Amazon community staff have posted more information to "clarify" to new community policy, providing existing forum members with options as to whether or not previous posts will be associated with their new identity using their business name.
We want to provide clarity around the display of your business name on your profile in the New Seller Forums Experience. The business name that is currently found in your seller central account (under the global accounts tab) will be displayed on your profile page in the new forums experience. All new forums members will be able to see the name of your business on your forums profile page in the new forums experience.
To provide the most choice and flexibility to you, when you migrate to the New Seller Forums Experience, you have the option of whether or not to tie your old posts to your display name. You can either:
A. Start fresh. Create a new forums display name. Your previous posts will remain associated to your previous display name and not associated with your business name in your new forums profile, and your old display name cannot be used by any other forums member. You will start the new forums without any post history.
B. Roll everything over. Keep your current display name and all previous posts. Your forums history and statistics will be associated with your display name in the new Seller Forums experience.
One seller pointed out it is welcome news on some concerns, but still fails to address the bigger implications going forward for those who would prefer not to have their business names revealed.
This is at least some attempt to deal with the existing privacy concerns of posters.
However, this does nothing to address the issue going forward. Sellers will still be unable to use the forum in any way without linking back to their seller accounts. This means that a seller cannot ask any questions (for example about sourcing) without revealing themselves to their competitors, customers…
The larger decision is still a mistake, regardless of the fact that this news, at least, is welcome.
As it stands, it appears many sellers may choose not to move forward with participation in the "new" forums and some feel that may be exactly what Amazon wants - less participation from sellers who may have been more vocal about issues in the past.
The Amazon Seller forums are getting a massive overhaul and sellers are up in arms over on particular point - having their business name displayed as part of their profile thus removing the ability to post in the forums anonymously.
An Amazon staff member gave the following reasoning behind the change:
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.
Sellers raised immediate privacy concerns, even pointing out that the change would seem to violate the forum's policies that prohibit the posting of certain personal information.
NOPE. Just gives angry people a new way to destroy someones account with fake buys and feedback abuse.
It’s also a major privacy violation. How can we opt out? Will you respect a users right to be forgotten and follow the law and delete our posts?
Nope. Not gonna happen. FORUMS ARE DEAD IF YOU CONTINUE
If it’s mandatory, who’s going to be held accountable when nefarious entities start mining business information from Amazon profiles for profit? The list of business names can easily be resold for profit and used by black hat companies for extortions with threats of bad reviews, product or account level attacks, and a slew of actions that can easily torpedo any Amazon business.
A separate thread about this topic has almost 350 replies so far, and none that I saw were particularly positive. There is much concern that this will have a chilling effect on forum participation as sellers may be interference and retaliation from other users or from Amazon themselves.
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.
My guess is that Amazon is doing this to stop the free exchange of comments from members as the majority of the comments are negative towards Amazon and some of the ways Amazon handles situations. If this happens, NO ONE will use these forums anymore----which, I suppose is what Amazon wants. Sad.
NONE of the sellers asked for this and NONE of the sellers want this. Here is how Amazon is going to spin this:
“Great News! You asked for it…”
The only thing we asked is NOT to do this, but they are going to do it anyway.
One user even referenced the eBay cyberstalking scandal as good reason for sellers to be concerned about their business identities being exposed.
Worth reminding ourselves of the VERY recent eBay convictions… attacking bloggers & it was also forum comments involved, something about a comment 1x user posting stuff that they would only know if in the room with Wenig (what a loser). TBH exposing real business names is just something to further intensify the dog-eat-dog world AKA turning sellers into figures of fun to be derided and knocked about… started in 2019 right through to now with the dropshipping nightmare currently attacking so many sellers.
The heated discussions in the Amazon seller forum underscore the sometimes tenuous and fractious relationship marketplaces have with their seller base.
What do you think of Amazon's move to remove anonymity from their seller forums? Will it have a chilling effect on user speech and participation? Let us know in the comments below!