Rebate, Coupon, & Marketing Policy Posted to Seller Central Forum


To many sellers’ surprise, on November 2nd, 2021, Amazon provided extreme clarity on Amazon’s rebate, coupons, and other marketing initiatives policies.

This update, provided on the Amazon Services Seller Forum under US Announcements, comes in the wake of the RebateKey shakeup when the popular product giveaway tool had its API privileges suspended.

This post published by a Senior Community Moderator who is authorized to communicate and respond on behalf of Amazon comes as a shock to many because it is the first time we’ve seen direct clarification that confirms offers such as rebates, search-find-buy, 2-step URLs are violations to Amazon’s Terms of Service.


The interest around this update is that typically these significant policy announcements come through a company memorandum email or news article directly to sellers, rather than coming from a forums moderator. However, this is Amazon’s official forum, and reads as it is official, but take that as you may.

Because Amazon’s policies are often rather vague, Sellers have been asking for clarification for years, and well, now we’ve gotten it.

Update to the Seller Code of Conduct

Amazon discretely made updates to their Seller Code of Conduct, specifically within their “Acting Fairly” section.

The Code of Conduct Previously Stated

“Activities that could be perceived as attempting to manipulate Amazon’s search results or sales rankings”.

The Code of Conduct Now States:

“Manipulating sales rank (such as by accepting fake orders or orders that you have paid for) or making claims about sales rank in product titles or descriptions.”


One of our key takeaways from this code of conduct is the statement of acting “fairly and lawfully” with very specific examples of what could potentially be perceived to be deceptive marketing practices – which Amazon has been under scrutiny for in recent months.

What Does This Mean for Brands?

Previously there was a fine line between what’s been coined gray-hat tactics (methods of getting around the “system” without explicitly violating Amazon’s Terms of Service) and black-hat tactics (behaviors or techniques that clearly violate Amazon’s Terms of Service). But with this recent clarification, Amazon is more clearly defining those gray-hat strategies and defining them as black-hat tactics.


  1. If you are violating any of the Amazon Policies identified above, stop immediately.
  2. If you are using a gray-hat tactic, be forewarned, it could very well be next on the list for Amazon to address.

What Does This Mean for Competition?

If competing brands are violating any of these areas (the referenced tactics tend to be especially common for Amazon "Private Label" and D2C challenger brands), then growing a D2C/Amazon-Only brand has instantly become more difficult. By losing some of the tools most frequently used by them to grow, this thereby weakens competition.


Outlook on Amazon Approved Advertising

Now that some tools have been taken away from the marketplace, it forces brands to direct their resources at Amazon "approved" methods, such as on platform coupons and promotions, but most importantly, Amazon Advertising. As more brands/sellers shift their strategies and corresponding budgets from those now explicitly prohibited by amazon to Amazon paid advertising, we would expect cost per click to continue to increase for brands.


Although we’ve seen a lot of Amazon’s efforts going to reducing fake reviews and preventing counterfeit products, there remains a lot to be seen in Amazon’s efforts against search algorithm manipulation. We expect much more to come to light over the next few weeks or months and will continue to monitor Amazon's moves.


Clarification of Amazon’s Policy on Rebates, Coupons, and other Marketing Incentives - US Announcements - Amazon Seller Forums

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About The Author

Lauren Palmisano is the Content Marketing Strategist at Retail Bloom. She began her career in the event industry where she found her passion for content creation and marketing strategy. Be sure to follow her on LinkedIn.


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