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How Amazon Ruined My Life

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BNeumann

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Well, not really. To be honest, I hate them now. But at first I was smitten. The tempting allure of a slightly different version of a short cut. My name is BNeumann, and I am (only currently) an Amazon failure. Man did they make a lot off of me. The Acos based on their ppc is just crazy, and it's a guaranteed win for them. Outrageous to try and launch a brand on their, but I did it. Nearly three years ago now and am currently in fire-sale mode just to get something on the income docket. Full custom designed proprietary product and all the accoutrements: website, social media, influencers on board, social proof, good reviews, photos, custom packaging and branding. It has taken me a while to realize that I have a product problem. And I chose to come out strong in a niche that wasn't as profitable as I had initially forecast. So here I am, learning from my own crap and moving on. Happy to be on this forum learning from like minds. And in spite of my recent "learning experience", I am hungry. And Daddy needs to get fed.
 
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Kak

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I absolutely understand and have experienced the issues Amazon sellers are facing right now, however ruining lives is not necessarily the phrase I would use to describe it.

I saw this coming from 2 years ago. This is exactly what happens when the low hanging fruit is gone. Things like this never stay easy for long.

Consumer products, as a business, is way overdone right now. Have you noticed that 60 percent of the forum has an ”Amazon business”? That's a problem.

Entrepreneurs think outside of the box. Amazon is currently the box.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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BNeumann

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I absolutely understand and have experienced the issues Amazon sellers are facing right now, however ruining lives is not necessarily the phrase I would use to describe it.

I saw this coming from 2 years ago. This is exactly what happens when the low hanging fruit is gone. Things like this never stay easy for long.

Consumer products, as a business, is way overdone right now. Have you noticed that 60 percent of the forum has an ”Amazon business”? That's a problem.

Entrepreneurs think outside of the box. Amazon is currently the box.

Agreed. The "Ruining" was more like self-deprecating humor. Your last quote is what I learned the hard way. Cheers.
 
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I still don't understand how this is Amazon's fault? You said you chose a niche that wasn't as profitable as you initially thought it was... there's your answer?

Also, as long as there is new trends, there will always be opportunities on Amazon. Amazon is not going away for a while. Neither are the countless 6+ figure entrepreneurs it has created and is creating. The hard part now is, finding a niche. Unfortunately, people aren't willing to put in the effort. People nowadays think they can just put up a silicone BBQ glove and start selling 50 units a day profiting $10/unit. That won't happen.

As to Amazon being the "box", I don't entirely agree with this. Of course if all you're thinking about is Amazon and nothing else, then yes, Amazon can be considered the box. But most entrepreneurs are just using Amazon as a launching platform. I wouldn't launch a new brand anywhere else. Hundreds of millions of buyers waiting to buy with 1 click. Think about it, when you want to buy something online, where's the first place you search? For 90% of people, that's amazon.com/amazon.ca/amazon.co.uk/amazon.de/amazon.co.jp.

As with anything, the amount of effort you're willing to put in, is what you'll get out of it. Amazon is no exception.
 
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fastbo

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Ebay used to be the same way. Margins were HUGE on ebay back in the 2000's. Amazon was the same way 5 years ago. Now its too easy for anyone to do exactly what everyone else is doing, therefore margins will drop. As Warren Buffet says you need a business with a moat, else you essentially sell a commodity. And selling commodities doesn't make you rich unless you own all the market share. Why do you think you'll get rich selling spatulas from China when a million other people can buy it at the same price you're buying it for (or within a nickel) and undercut you?

And for your specific instance, it seems like you've gone with the old "if you build it they will come" method to choose your product. It doesn't matter what the distribution channel is and how much social proof you build, if the market doesn't want it, you won't sell it.
 

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Ebay used to be the same way. Margins were HUGE on ebay back in the 2000's. Amazon was the same way 5 years ago. Now its too easy for anyone to do exactly what everyone else is doing, therefore margins will drop. As Warren Buffet says you need a business with a moat, else you essentially sell a commodity. And selling commodities doesn't make you rich unless you own all the market share. Why do you think you'll get rich selling spatulas from China when a million other people can buy it at the same price you're buying it for (or within a nickel) and undercut you?

And for your specific instance, it seems like you've gone with the old "if you build it they will come" method to choose your product. It doesn't matter what the distribution channel is and how much social proof you build, if the market doesn't want it, you won't sell it.

Rep+
 
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chimichangatime

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Amazon is the same way right now for erotica authors. Back <2015, it was a gold rush - put anything up and you're raking in cash. Today it's flooded and the gold diggers come and go quickly when they realize it's work.

Tons of authors blame Amazon for their own mistakes. They leave instead of dissecting the failure to learn and improve. "Amazon changed the algorithm! Amazon dungeoned me! Amazon blah blah!" You know what? If your existence depends on Amazon, you're doing it wrong. Your strategy should work no matter what Amazon or CompanyX does.

if the market doesn't want it, you won't sell it.
The guys and gals making it big do the work. That includes finding the right product/niche. There has to be a NEED, right? That means doing some testing and even failing often. I've written in 3 niches and made my share of mistakes. I failed, analyzed, and got back at it. I'll find a niche that I can write well AND the readers like my writing. And I don't care if **I** like the niche, I care if people like my writing in said niche (could be gay, straight, bi, monster, fetish, whatever, I don't care, I'll try any niche if the numbers look promising).

The most profitable romance authors? They aren't gaming the system or copying everyone else, they've systematized being a romance author. There's a guy on a forum (a non-free author forum) who had his first $1M/year in 2017 writing mid-list romance books. He upped the ante by hiring out - he buys some pre-written stuff and does an edit for his "voice," he hires people to flesh out his plot outlines, he hires editors, he runs tens of thousands of dollars in ads... he has a backlist of hundreds of short erotica and also novels. He has a virtual assistant.

Oh, and he doesn't rely on Amazon. He has a basic strategy: write good (but not great) romance that women 30-55 will devour ravenously, and do it at high volume. That strategy doesn't change if Amazon changes.

He used to teach people 1:1 but too many never followed through... sound familiar?

The business still relies on him so it's not entirely Fastlane but he works like 4 hrs a day and his profit is a few hundred thousand a year. Not bad for a self-published fiction writer.

You failed! Great! Own it, learn, try again.
 

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I don't think you should blame Amazon for your failure on their platform. It sounds like you may have gone into an over-saturated niche.

Plenty of people are starting brand new successful companies on Amazon with the PPC and influencer method.

Use this failure as a stepping stone to your next success. Never stop grinding if you want to stay out of the slow lane.
 

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Full custom designed proprietary product and all the accoutrements: website, social media, influencers on board, social proof, good reviews, photos, custom packaging and branding.

So my question is, after you've made this awesome product that's ready for the world... are you not going to put in on Amazon?
 
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Kak

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I don't think you should blame Amazon for your failure on their platform. It sounds like you may have gone into an over-saturated niche.

Plenty of people are starting brand new successful companies on Amazon with the PPC and influencer method.

What is a “successful company”?
 

Mattie

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I still don't understand how this is Amazon's fault? You said you chose a niche that wasn't as profitable as you initially thought it was... there's your answer?
That was my first thought. I was thinking how did Amazon ruin your life? It was a personal choice. With a valuable lesson attached. Just easier to blame someone else for choosing what we choose to participate in and create the experience.
 
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Kak

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That really depends on the person. But a profitable product launch on Amazon is a success in my eyes. At this point in my career, I am looking for at least $100k in revenue targeting at least a 30% profit margin for each type of business I start.

So $30,000 before taxes.

I don’t call that a company brother, I call that a hobby or an investment. You would need 10 companies like that to even equal a good executive salary.
 

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So $30,000 before taxes.

I don’t call that a company brother, I call that a hobby or an investment. You would need 10 companies like that to even equal a good executive salary.

Like I said each new venture I start. I have a couple ventures going on right now that are paying the bills plus some.

An extra $20k per year on top of what I am already making. I am cool with that :)
 

MoneyDoc

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Ebay used to be the same way. Margins were HUGE on ebay back in the 2000's. Amazon was the same way 5 years ago. Now its too easy for anyone to do exactly what everyone else is doing, therefore margins will drop. As Warren Buffet says you need a business with a moat, else you essentially sell a commodity. And selling commodities doesn't make you rich unless you own all the market share. Why do you think you'll get rich selling spatulas from China when a million other people can buy it at the same price you're buying it for (or within a nickel) and undercut you?

And for your specific instance, it seems like you've gone with the old "if you build it they will come" method to choose your product. It doesn't matter what the distribution channel is and how much social proof you build, if the market doesn't want it, you won't sell it.
How are you even comparing eBay and Amazon? I haven't seen one person building a "brand" on eBay.

That's the keyword people are missing out on when following these amazon courses and ecommerce courses. You think ON Gold Whey and Muscletech Whey are different? They're the same protein. The difference is BRANDING.

That's why 90% of the so-called "amazon gurus" and "amazon entrepreneurs" are failing and then they turn and blame the platform. The same platform that has helped REAL entrepreneurs sell 8 figure brands that they solely started on AMAZON. The difference between them and all the new guys? They INVESTED into their brands. They created real BRANDS. They DID NOT put up a generic silicone spatula and call it a day as they went lambo shopping.

I still can't believe how some people are calling amazon and the whole physical product/consumer product industry "dead" or "not sustainable" anymore. That's far from the truth. A physical product brand/business is the FASTEST way to financial freedom and it will ALWAYS be that way. And the BEST way to launch that brand/business is and will be for a long time, AMAZON.
 
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chimichangatime

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I haven't seen one person building a "brand" on eBay.
eBay is a tool, as is Amazon.

I looked at selling on eBay and everyone doing well (lots of completed auctions with a sale) all had their own sites/social media and used eBay as a storefront.

They had a brand and eBay was the outlet. eBay was never the strategy.
 

MoneyDoc

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eBay is a tool, as is Amazon.

I looked at selling on eBay and everyone doing well (lots of completed auctions with a sale) all had their own sites/social media and used eBay as a storefront.

They had a brand and eBay was the outlet. eBay was never the strategy.
Again, they're selling generic or branded goods (not their own brand). eBay is mainly for generics and reselling branded goods.
 
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Kak

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So my question is, after you've made this awesome product that's ready for the world... are you not going to put in on Amazon?

Let me clear this up because everyone thinks I’m anti-amazon.

I would put it on Amazon.... Among MANY MANY other strategies.

Why? Because it’s EASY, out there, and products are expected to be there. That is also the downside. Would I pick apart Amazon’s algorithms, suck off customers for reviews, and try to game some advertising platform daily and call it MY business? No, because I don’t own the ecosystem.
 
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MoneyDoc

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No, not dead. Highly competitive and unoriginal? Yes.
I'm not disagreeing with you @Kak. I always tell people, use amazon simply as one of your channels and don't think you can put up a generic product, slap a name on it, and expect it to sell 100 units a day.

I'm just saying, it's still the best place to start a new brand.
 

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Well, not really. To be honest, I hate them now. But at first I was smitten. The tempting allure of a slightly different version of a short cut. My name is BNeumann, and I am (only currently) an Amazon failure. Man did they make a lot off of me. The Acos based on their ppc is just crazy, and it's a guaranteed win for them. Outrageous to try and launch a brand on their, but I did it. Nearly three years ago now and am currently in fire-sale mode just to get something on the income docket. Full custom designed proprietary product and all the accoutrements: website, social media, influencers on board, social proof, good reviews, photos, custom packaging and branding. It has taken me a while to realize that I have a product problem. And I chose to come out strong in a niche that wasn't as profitable as I had initially forecast. So here I am, learning from my own crap and moving on. Happy to be on this forum learning from like minds. And in spite of my recent "learning experience", I am hungry. And Daddy needs to get fed.


nothing new

this is like any venture anywhere

the pareto principle applies here as well :

---- > 80 % of what people do on amazon will be average at best


only 20 % of people will make decent money on amazon and brag on forums or youtube


if business was easy, there would be millions of MJ Demarco out there

but there is only one MJ Demarco with his philosophy as far as i know

but i might be stupid so sorry in advance


.
 
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DrunkFish

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Amazon is the same way right now for erotica authors. Back <2015, it was a gold rush - put anything up and you're raking in cash. Today it's flooded and the gold diggers come and go quickly when they realize it's work.

Tons of authors blame Amazon for their own mistakes. They leave instead of dissecting the failure to learn and improve. "Amazon changed the algorithm! Amazon dungeoned me! Amazon blah blah!" You know what? If your existence depends on Amazon, you're doing it wrong. Your strategy should work no matter what Amazon or CompanyX does.


The guys and gals making it big do the work. That includes finding the right product/niche. There has to be a NEED, right? That means doing some testing and even failing often. I've written in 3 niches and made my share of mistakes. I failed, analyzed, and got back at it. I'll find a niche that I can write well AND the readers like my writing. And I don't care if **I** like the niche, I care if people like my writing in said niche (could be gay, straight, bi, monster, fetish, whatever, I don't care, I'll try any niche if the numbers look promising).

The most profitable romance authors? They aren't gaming the system or copying everyone else, they've systematized being a romance author. There's a guy on a forum (a non-free author forum) who had his first $1M/year in 2017 writing mid-list romance books. He upped the ante by hiring out - he buys some pre-written stuff and does an edit for his "voice," he hires people to flesh out his plot outlines, he hires editors, he runs tens of thousands of dollars in ads... he has a backlist of hundreds of short erotica and also novels. He has a virtual assistant.

Oh, and he doesn't rely on Amazon. He has a basic strategy: write good (but not great) romance that women 30-55 will devour ravenously, and do it at high volume. That strategy doesn't change if Amazon changes.

He used to teach people 1:1 but too many never followed through... sound familiar?

The business still relies on him so it's not entirely Fastlane but he works like 4 hrs a day and his profit is a few hundred thousand a year. Not bad for a self-published fiction writer.

You failed! Great! Own it, learn, try again.
Something ive learned is if you find something that you can do and make money, but not quite enough money, the solution is usually to systemize. Just do it at a larger scale, let go of some of the control and work on finding good people to do it, and do more.
 
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Real Deal Denver

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When everyone zigs... you zag.

Words to live by. I now am closer to the meaning of life and finding true happiness.

Very similar to this deep thought is the not too popular saying: When life hands you lemons, get some vodka to go with it, and kick back.

I don't know which of these sayings I like more.
 

johnp

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Would I pick apart Amazon’s algorithms, suck off customers for reviews, and try to game some advertising platform daily and call it MY business? No, because I don’t own the ecosystem.

This is exactly how I feel.

My mind is completely blown by how many people aren't building their own email list and customer database. Most email platforms today have amazing CRMs built in. That's where I'd put most of my focus. At least you control way more than you do with Amazon.

And with email you can even download your email list and put it on a floppy disk in a vault somewhere in case the email platform goes under. You really can't take an email list/ customer database away from someone. But with Amazon, you can't even do that. Maybe I'm just crazy though.
 

BNeumann

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That was my first thought. I was thinking how did Amazon ruin your life? It was a personal choice. With a valuable lesson attached. Just easier to blame someone else for choosing what we choose to participate in and create the experience.
Read my post. Sarcasm.
 
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Kak

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---- > 80 % of what people do on amazon will be average at best


only 20 % of people will make decent money on amazon and brag on forums or youtube

Of course you are correct about the numbers... however “making decent money” on someone else’s marketplace and owning an actual business are, in my opinion, two very different things.
 

MakeMoreMoves

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Ehh...don't really think amazon is "the best" place to start a brand. Amazon seems to have a commodiziting effect. It seems big brands were already big when they went on amazon. As in, they distinguished themselves from a commodity by branding off amazon making them resistant to 3rd party marketplace commodization.

I do see tons of brands on amazon and in my eyes most are generics even if they got their own label.

Some industries like high end fashion where their exclusivity is part of their value proposition, I would think get negative impact from amazon. They may increase their sales short term, but the long term brand value will decrease due to reduce exclusivity and ease of obtainment.

The best products in amazon I believe are functional physical products where branding isn't as important like fashion.

Don't know if commodizting or commodization are actually words. But you get the point.

Just my opinion.
 

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