Amazon has seen a a huge influx of sellers over the past 18 months as more people want to jump on the bandwagon and make money online. There are a lot of sellers jumping in and listing items that don't follow Amazon's guidelines. Experienced sellers are becoming frustrated by what is happening to the Amazon product catalog. New sellers often create their own listings and bundles which do not follow the Amazon guidelines. Here are some words of wisdom for new sellers from an experienced Amazon seller - one who has been selling on the site for 7 years and does things by the book. (This seller wished to remain anonymous to protect their identity and account.)
Some sellers are using a workaround by adding articles, poems, or other written materials to physical product bundles trying to "outsmart" the product catalog. Regarding creating bundles for the sake of working around competitors:
"Customers are going to Amazon looking for products. By adding an items to a bundle that don't make sense, you're forcing anyone else that wants to sell the item to create a new listing. This confuses customers. It infuriates those of us that want Amazon to be an easy place for customers to shop. In the beginning, each item had one page where everyone could go to buy their product. No hassle for sellers, no hassle for buyers. Find what you want and buy it. Now the catalog is a big, snarled, ugly mess of listings for the same exact item over and over again because John Doe Seller can't cope with the fact that the pond isn't big enough for everyone. If you want to sell articles, write an eBook. Start a blog. Staple it to your packing slip. Stop trashing Amazon's catalog and making this place a nightmare for all of us."
Adding articles, poems, or other materials to add value to a product bundle:
"You aren't adding any value. You might think you are, but customers are not on Amazon to buy blog posts with their toilet paper. AZ is the home of 1-click shopping and 2nd day delivery. They're growing into same-day delivery. They are all about convenience. It is NOT their desire to have 30 listings for the same sponge with different 'accessories' like articles and pencils. They want customers to search for a product, click the first thing that pops up, and buy it. They don't want their customers to sift through hours of listings to figure out which 'accessory' is worth more to them. Bundling three flavors of drink mix? Sure. That makes sense. Lots of people want to buy the variety. That makes things easier sometimes. Bundling drink mix with poems or an article? Not appropriate. Nobody says, 'I could really use some more lemonade, I just wish I could buy an article with it.' "
The proper way to add written materials with a product, when it makes sense:
"Those of you including articles that you've written with products you've purchased are violating at least one bundling policy: 'Do not bundle branded products with generic products. This may mislead customers into thinking that the generic product belongs to the same brand.' See the Amazon Product Bundling policy here."
A final word:
"There's just so much misinformation and policy-breaking information and technique floating around on the internet. I've been at this for almost 7 years and have watched Amazon go from a simple yet comprehensive place for both buyers and sellers to having uglier listings than my local Facebook garage sale pages. It's quite sad."
If you are a new seller, respect the marketplace and follow policy. Remember, once you are suspended from Amazon for violating a policy, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to be reinstated. Make sure you are following all the rules on Amazon to keep your account healthy.