Amazon’s policies are vague because Amazon is smart. With super specific, concrete policies, they would run the risk of backing themselves into a legal corner. In a world filled with so many patent laws, copyrights, and other regulations, Amazon has to make sure they’re protecting their customers and supporting their sellers as best they can. For this reason, Amazon leaves room for interpretation in their policies.
What does this mean for sellers? Do things at your own risk. Assess risk versus reward for every decision you make. Be smart and know when you’ve gone too far.
There are two big questions you need to ask yourself when deciding to toe the lines of Amazon’s policies:
1. Is it moral?
Is what you’re doing wrong? Will your decision hurt someone else? Here’s an example: Once, someone said, “Hey, let’s all go down-vote our competitor’s best reviews.” I wouldn’t do that; I believe it’s morally wrong. It’s intentionally targeting and damaging someone’s business for no good reason, and that’s not how I want to run my own business.
2. What are the risks?
Every risk has two sides: what you can lose versus what you can gain. For example, if you try to solicit reviews outside of Amazon’s Terms of Service, what’s the best possible outcome? What’s the worst possible outcome? Think about the potential risks and rewards of your decision before you make it.
These are the two important questions you need to ask yourself. People’s answers to these questions will vary based on a lot of factors – how they were raised, their religious views, their philosophical beliefs, who they are, and what their personalities are like.
Some people are rule-keepers, always living by the book and following the guidelines. Some people are risk-takers, bending the rules and toeing the line. Keep this in mind: don’t spend your time judging people for being rule-keepers or risk-takers. Do what feels right to you, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. They have their business, and you have yours.
So, when making decisions regarding Amazon’s policies, ask yourself those two questions: is it moral, and what are the risks? And you can use these questions to make decisions in other situations, too, whether you’re selling on Amazon, investing in real estate, or deciding how to promote a new product.
I encourage you to remember this: you get full credit for everything you do. You get credit when you win and credit when you lose; you get credit when things go well and credit when bad things happen. Take ownership of your business and all the responsibilities that come with it, including the hard decisions you might have to make along the way.