So on this same page, I just click the WM UPC Finder icon and it pulls this up automtically ( along with an actual bar code)
That is a lot less work!
Using The UPC For Sourcing
I made a video on how to use this for sourcing but first here are the tool I use in the video
When searching the UPC code I am using an extension called OA Highlight for this but you can use Google search for this.
I am also using RA Seek to be able to highlight the UPC and shortcut to the Brickseek page to see local Walmart stock levels. You can manually do this by copy/paste the UPC code on the Brickseek website
I am also using the Android Walton app to do the same thing as Brickseek with my phone
The video below will show you how to make all of this work
How many times have you sourced product via OA ( online arbitrage) for Amazon FBA and when you sent them in, you found out you were restricted or that they were hazmat?
If your answer is anything other than “never”, then you know the sting of eating the cost on those products.
In this post I am going to show how to do this manually and show you my simple work around to make it even easier.
The Hard Way
Most people are going to tell you to try to list it and see if you are allowed to sell it.
This in essence is the right answer, but it is a pain in the butt to do this if you have a lot of 1’s or 2’s of a products.
Since I do mostly RA ( retail arbitrage) I am using the Amazon seller app and it simply tells you (***most of the time) if a product is restricted or hazmat.
This works great if you have the product in hand like you do with RA but when you are doing OA, you don’t have a product to scan.
The process is simple.
You go to seller central and try to list the product.
Then this should pop up.
Now you would enter the UPC or asin ( or do a title search)
In this case, if I try to list Nike socks, it show that it is restricted for me
So pretty simple but time consuming. The AZ seller app would have just put a big red RESTRICTED across the screen.
So now I will tell what I know about determining if a product is Hazmat:
I don’t know! Truthful.
Either I see it with the AZ Seller app warning or when I try to ship it in and Amazon says I can’t.
Here is a Reddit about it
Yeah that sort of sucks.
The East Way
So here is the easy way. I actually built a Chrome extension for seeing if a product was restricted and after people started using it, they were like “Hey you can find out if a product is Hazmat with this”.
Simple dumb luck that I made it but if it works, let’s go with it.
So with this extension you highlight UPC codes and it turns them into barcodes. Then you can scan the bar code with the Amazon seller app which tells you if it is restricted and if it is hazmat.
The Chrome extension I am using is call UPC Detective and you can get it here:
When you highlight a UPC, the barcode pops up and you can scan it with your AZ seller app
This works great if there is a UPC code on the page. Sometimes there isn’t a UPC code and you need to grab the ASIN and take it to a ASIN to UPC converter website
As a person that has had a #1 selling tee shirt design on the Merch By Amazon platform, I can attest to the fact of people stealing designs via the pixel for pixel method. It can be very frustrating and the simple fact is that you don’t always know how Amazon will handle this from day to day or case to case.
Sure there is copyright law but having a copyright and enforcing a copyright are two different things. It gets really muddy when Amazon is involved. It is more about how Amazon enforces copyright and in this post I want to show a simple, 1 minute or less technique that probably 99.9% of the people are not using that might just sway Amazon to rule in your favor when and if one of your tee shirt designs are hijacked.
Before we begin, I want to cover some basics on copyright ( and I need to fill some space in this post)
You can download a copy of the copyright basics from the official government copyright site here:
“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S.Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works”
So your original tee shirt design would fall under artistic works.
Again straight from the government:
“Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work”
So if you are sitting at your laptop at 2AM and create a tee shirt design, it is automatically copyrighted to you.
“Publication is no longer the key to obtaining federal copyright as it was under the Copyright Act of 1909.”
When you create a design, you don’t have to do anything to get it copyright like people had to do in the past.
Copyright is what we are going to use to help prove to Amazon that we were the creator of a design and legal copyright holder in the event that we have people stealing our designs.
Using Copyright Symbol In Our Designs
“The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is often beneficial.”
This is what we are going to do because as it said, it is beneficial.
“Form of Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies
The notice for visually perceptible copies should contain all the following three elements:
2 The year of first publication of the work. In the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful article; and
3 The name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.
Do you have a copyright notice on any of your stolen designs? I am guessing 99.9% of the people reading this don’t.
Adding Copyright Notices
We are going to add copyright notices to all our designs. This will not take away anything from the design because outside of the Merch world it is common practice for all companies to place copyright and trademark symbols on their products.
Image if I have someone steal my design pixel for pixel, it will also contain my copyright notice. When I contact Amazon, it is a slam dunk case when the image of the other Merch seller says
Copyright Jason Wilkey 2017
The common practice is to place the notice at the bottom of the image. I simply have this notice saved on my desktop and drag it to the template just prior to saving the image to be uploaded. This might require changing the text color or resizing it slightly, but this should take less than 30 seconds.
Now I would guess that some of the design thieves might get wise to this, so to have a little fun, we can actually move this into the body of the design and use it to delete out some areas of color ( this is easier to see on the video) Basically you can have “hidden messages” with your designs. ( this is also fun to do with other text messages if you are immature and sophomoric like me)
This video show what I am talking about
While we don’t know for sure what Amazon will do in every case, by adding the copyright notice to every image we create ( which we are legally entitled to do) , this is almost absolute proof that you own the image design and i would believe that Amazon would be hard pressed to deny this.
This is a very simple technique that most people overlook because it is not something we are use to doing as opposed to traditional businesses. Take the extra minute or so to include this and add some protection to your designs.