Amazon Buyers Can Find Your Home Address In 30 Seconds? How to Keep Your Personal Information Safe
Ok, I hope I have your attention on this.
It’s super important for any Amazon seller to know what’s going on. Before I get into how buyers can do that, and how you can protect your private information, let’s talk about an announcement Amazon made just this morning.
In their news section of seller central, many sellers saw the following title; “Advance notice: Business name and address to be displayed on the seller profile page starting September 1, 2020”
That obviously got my attention. Let’s break down the announcement piece by piece.
“Beginning on September 1, 2020, we will display a seller’s business name and address on their Amazon.com Seller Profile page. For individuals, we will display the individual name and address.”
Ok, for those who don’t know, the seller profile page is what buyers see if they click on the Sold By Store name:
That brings you to this page:
Now, as you can see, there is no private information listed here. However, this is the page that Amazon is going to start putting your seller’s business name and address on. Actually, if you were someone who WANTED your business name and address on here, you can CHOOSE to display it now. In seller central, you go to Settings, Info & Policies, then select profile. At the bottom of that page you’ll see a toggle for “business address.”
I assume this toggle will go away on September 1, and you will not have the ability to hide or unhide it. Anyway, let’s continue dissecting this letter from Amazon. THIS is where it gets crazy.
“This is consistent with Seller Profile pages across Amazon stores in Europe, Japan, and Mexico.”
Say Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? They are saying that AT THIS MOMENT, addresses are showing up for Mexico, Europe and Japan? Maybe that’s old news to you, but I think the majority of us did not know that this was happening. In addition, this is NOT something you can hide. If you go into the “Your Info & Policies” in your Amazon Mexico seller central account, there is no toggle to turn off the address.
Now, maybe you are saying, that doesn’t concern you because you don’t sell in Amazon Mexico. Doesn’t matter! If you sell in the USA, this information shows up. Let’s go back to that Forest Heal seller profile page, and let me show you what ANY buyer can do right now.
All I did from that US profile page, is add a .mx after the .com and pressed enter. It took me directly to the Forest Heal Mexico profile page, even though they are not selling on Amazon Mexico. Why does this matter? Well watch what ELSE shows up on this Mexico profile page!
Yup. Right there for all the world to see is the company name and address. Now, this is one of Sean Chang’s companies. He’s the one who was on the Serious Sellers Podcast recently and helps Korean companies sell in the USA. He did not put his personal name on the account, he put the business name. He also has the business address here for his 3PL service. So he’s ok with his information being here publicly, he even makes that public on his own website.
However, what about the rest of you? Do you have your Amazon account listed in your own name? Do you have your home address registered with Amazon? If so, the whole world can see where you live. More on this later. Let’s continue on with Amazon’s letter.
“Why are we making this change?”
“Over the years, we have developed many ways for sellers to share more about their business, including through features like the Seller Profile page, Store pages for brand owners, and Handmade Maker Profile pages.”
“These features help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products that they are selling. We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.”
Ok, well, I guess that is understandable to a point. However, I know many sellers I have talked to who don’t understand why the business name and address are vital for customers to know in order to make shopping decisions.
Now, here’s more from the letter.
“Can I share more information to help customers beyond my business name and address? Yes, you are welcome to add additional information about your business and products that you think would be helpful to customers.”
“However, remember that you should not include an email address in order to prevent spam and abuse. We ask customers and sellers to use our Buyer-Seller Messaging system to communicate electronically.”
Now at first this confused me. I had previously asked Amazon in a case, “where is this additional information supposed to go if you are only showing the address? Can I put this additional information in place of the address?” I’m not sure they understood my question. They said that, no, I HAVE to put the company address there. Later, I figured it out on my own. I had completely forgotten about another section that we have available to us.
Do you guys remember the screenshot above of the profile for Forest Heal? Here it is again zoomed into the top
Now, does that marketing text sound familiar to you? It’s actually the default for every seller profile page. However, you can change this information and add up to 10,000 characters of your own copy to put here!
To do that, in Amazon Seller Central, go to Settings, then “Your Info & Policies,” and select Profile. At the very top, you will have a big text area to type your business/marketing copy into.
It updates quickly. I just updated the Project X account, and within 1 minute it was live on the website:
So what are the takeaways from this?
Well, if you are someone who has your personal name and info attached to your Amazon account, you probably should take action IMMEDIATELY to change that if you do not want buyers to be able to see where you live.
You could create an LLC or business if you want to take your personal name off of your account. Once you have the new name, you can change that by going to Settings in Seller Central, then select Account Info, then find the “Legal Entity.” You will probably have to go through the tax interview process again.
If you do not want your home address listed, you should get a mail box that you can use as your business mailing address such as mbe.it.
It’s not suggested to just put a random address as your business address. Although I was not asked by Amazon for any verification when I changed the “business address” (which will instantly change the displayed address on the seller profile), I made sure to choose an address that was tied to the business.
99.9% of Amazon buyers probably do not know how to find your address with this Amazon Mexico method, but remember, as of September 1, it’s going to be visible across the board so you might as well get a jump on this now.
As a side note, if there is a seller who has hijacked your listing, or you want to see if a competitor is based out of China, USA, Europe, etc, this is just another way you can see some information on the competition. Sellers cannot just hide behind a storefront name anymore that can be changed any time. So, in that sense, maybe this is a net positive move by Amazon.
Anyway, let me know in the comments below if you knew about this or not, and what you are doing about it or have possibly already done about it. If you think that this will help sellers in your community please share this using one of the buttons below.
Stay safe guys!