Amazon.com have begun cracking down on product identifiers, with only those provided by GS1, the global authority for issuing Global Trade Item Numbers being considered valid. It appears that Amazon is intent on coming down heavy on any sellers using fake or incorrect UPC codes. Amazon’s aim is to have a clean product database with all items listed just once. It appears this will only affect Amazon.com for the time being with no announcement yet about Amazon UK or EU sites.

Here’s the announcement which can also be viewed on Amazon Seller Central.

“Product selection and buyer satisfaction are instrumental to Amazon’s success. By providing industry-standard product identifiers for their listings, sellers improve the quality of the Amazon.com catalogue as a whole. Promoting confidence in the range of products depicted in the Amazon.com catalogue – from Books to Jewellery to Tools – helps to ensure a high-quality experience for customers.

Most categories require sellers to use a product identifier to create new product pages and listings. The specific GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) required for product page creation and matching varies by category, although UPCs are most commonly used. The requirements of each category, including exceptions and exemptions where available, are summarized in the table on the Overview of Category UPC Requirements page.

When listing on Amazon.com, it’s important to take into account the type of products you want to sell, the quality of your product data, and the specific requirements for selling in that product category. For instance:

  • Many categories have specific UPC and GTIN Guidelines that sellers are required to follow when creating product pages. These include requirements for products sold as bundles and requirements for products sold as packs.
  • UPC requirements may vary across categories or for different types of products in the same category. Certain categories may allow sellers to request UPC exemptions.
  • Sellers must use the correct product identifier for the item they are listing. The use of false product identification information, including UPC codes, is prohibited. For more information, see Product Detail Page Rules.

We verify the authenticity of product UPCs by checking the GS1 database. UPCs that do not match the information provided by GS1 will be considered invalid. We recommend obtaining your UPCs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling UPC licenses) to ensure the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database.

Important: All invalid product UPC listings will be removed and may result in your ASIN creation or selling privileges being temporarily or permanently removed. For more information on licensing UPCs from GS1, see the GSI standard website.”

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