Global from Asia black hat tactics East versus West. I had the chance to meet up with Howard Thai, the professor of Amazon. The show will give you some perspective of the hot topic of black hat white hat, talking about the whole idea of black hat, what things actually happen how you can maybe prevent or notice or what categories and trends.
Topics Covered in this Episode
How did you get into ecommerce?
Why did you come to China?
East Vs West Black Hat
Is it all Chinese who do the black hat?
Examples of Black Hat Tactics
This is a popular situation of black hat tactics that can you share
Competing on Amazon today
What is required to win?
If you can’t beat them, join them?
IS white hat dead? Will everyone need to be black hat
What to do if you are attacked by black hat tactics
Fight fire with fire?
Learning from Chinese sellers
As you know – we have the Cross Border Summit – which I’m excited to hear your talk – and many Chinese sellers feel they don’t need to learn from foreigners – they know more now in the Chinese community – do you agree?
Tools of the trade
What tools would you recommend sellers use today?
The future of Amazon
Will black hat always exist? Will Amazon be able to stop it?
Sharing at the Cross Border Summit in Oct 22-23, 2019
Look forward to your mastermind and the speech you have prepared on ranking in Amazon in 2019
How can people connect with you, Howard?
Thanks for sharing
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
√ Howard’s GFA VIP profile
√ Endicia.com – Shipping label app
√ Buy.com (now Rakutuken)
√ Global Sources and Alibaba
√ Top Alibaba Competitors
√ Softening the market – a war tactic of breaking down the marketplace so it is easier to enter
√ Getting an Amazon account manager
√ Forum post discussing Seller Growth program here
√ GFA’s top blog post of East vs West Culture differences
√ Cross Border Summit 2019
√ Howard’s Mastermind at the Summit
Episode Length 49:18
Thanks for coming on the show Howard and giving us insights.
- Direct Download: Right-click here and click “Save As” for a direct download
- iTunes: Listen and subscribe on iTunes for free!
- Android: Check out Android Options or Listen via Stitcher Internet Radio streaming
- If you enjoyed this episode, leave a positive review on iTunes, & more (directions here)!
Listen in Youtube
Episode 268 of Global From Asia. Black hat tactics. East versus West, keep things interesting here in the show Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight-up actionable advice and now your host Michael Michelini.
[00:00:26] Greeting everyone from Shenzhen China. My old home feels like coming back to home. Don’t know if you all feel the same. You’ve lived in your home town where you grew up and I didn’t really move too much until I was about 18. I went to college in Jersey and then I worked in New York City, but you know, I little bit of time in San Diego but most like 10 years of my adult professional or at least entrepreneur or at least.
[00:00:56] On the ground fighting of business was in Shenzhen China and I’m coming back here every one or two months. Of course. We got a lot of work for The Cross Border Summit in October. It’s good reason to come, some business deals. And of course podcast like today’s I had the chance to meet up with Howard Thai the professor of Amazon.
[00:01:17] I’ve been meaning to get him on the show for a while. We have a lot of different feelings about black hat tactics in Amazon and the way things have been going over the years with, with some of the policies in Amazon and the way they Amazon might notice or not notice things that are happening in their own platform and I was just feeling. Like lately
[00:01:41] I’ve been doing a lot more controversial topics and actually already next week show will also be something to get Some blood boiling, you know, we have my uncle last week talking about the gutting of blue-collar American jobs, and we had we talked about the protest we’ve been talking about a lot of different controversial things.
[00:01:59] If you’re on our email newsletter, which I do recommend if you want to get a update on what’s happening. And, also some first tips, maybe hit that subscribe on the globalfromasia.com / subscribe. I’ve been a little bit more bold and, and Raw on what I put in a Weekly Newsletter, which has got some interesting replies been talking to Bloomberg quite often following our case and trying to voice everybody’s opinion here.
[00:02:24] But what is right, what is wrong? You know, I think the Art of War is a good book. You should read if you want to do business in China. The funny thing is, China business sometimes is happening around the world, as the world is flat, as borders come down, or maybe they come back up. We have to deal with cultures and businesses all around the world. Actually, one of our top blog posts on Global From Asia is East versus West Cultural Differences, gets tons of traffic and huge comments about people saying what’s better Eastern culture Western culture Etc seems like what we do here.
[00:03:00] Of course, we try to talk about business, but we talk about cross border which means International which means businesses dealing across countries and that means cultures. So today’s show. I hope you enjoy. It gives you some perspective. Howard that I met in person in Shenzhen, have Beef hot pot he treated. It was really great.
[00:03:19] A lot of beef and afterwards we sat down in a cafe and right in the middle of Shenzhen, China and did a recording. I bring all my heavy gear. He was laughing. Everybody’s laughing. I’m carrying around podcast gear and cameras. It’s only audio. I don’t know video just seems to change this feeling if people are on camera.
[00:03:40] So he’s, him and I are sitting in there. Talking about the whole idea of black hat, what things actually happen, how you can maybe prevent or notice or what categories and Trends. And, and we give some insights. So he’ll also be a speaker and a part of the Mastermind we’re having at the Cross Border Summit here in Guangzhou.
[00:04:01] Well here near here in Guangzhou, China. Hope you can make it out during a trade show season. It’s a great way to support the show, as well as meet some of these amazing speakers that have really insightful knowledge and experience. And, I always try my best to convince them to share some things they might not normally share.
[00:04:19] And I hope to see you there. But let’s tune into the show, episode 268. You can get the show notes. We have our amazing team that you know, it’s not just MP3. I will put in iTunes. This is a full show. We do full transcription for links, images of our guests such as Howard. You can check that all out Global from Asia.com / episode 268.
[00:04:40] As you may have recently heard, I recently joined Alpha Rock Capital. It is an Acquisitions firm for Amazon and other online businesses. If this show is interesting to you and maybe you want to join forces with your business and get involved, we’d love to hear from you at Alpha Rock Capital.com.
[00:04:57] It’s a US based Acquisitions firm with offices of course here in Asia where I am and many of the partners are and it’s a very new thing. And, we’re actively looking for businesses to buy as well, as other ways, you can collaborate. We can’t initia-, officially online say that but if you want to check out the site or stay tuned www.alpharockcapital.com. Making deals. Making things happen.
[00:05:23] Thank you everybody for tuning in to our Global From Asia podcast. We are here in the heart of E-commerce. I’m back here in Shenzhen China and I’m with my friend Howard Thai, the professor of Amazon, right? Yes. Great, man. So I’m so glad we got to catch up. We, he treated me to an amazing hot pot beef hot pot here.
[00:05:44] And we’re we’re just doing a podcast I’ve been meaning to do for many, many years. And, kind of an overview of how you got back into China, and how you got in e-commerce. What you’re seeing the differences between the Chinese sellers and international sellers. And, of course of the hot topic of black hat, white hat. Things like that.
[00:06:04] So without further ado maybe you can give us a little bit more background about yourself Howard. Okay, so let me go back where, I’m actually more, I graduated in US, in UC San Diego as a computer science major. After a while, after the graduation, I actually started selling on eBay. That’s actually, what in like 2003.
[00:06:31] That’s when I started an eCommerce. So from there on, actually I started it was weird because we I started selling it out of my own car, the back trunk of my car. I would go like you lay up like those Chinese tea station or those, those Tea places to start working and print out labels from there and it’s through like those Endicia with Dazzle.
[00:06:58] Yeah, and those label. The labelmakers. Print, like those Zebra printers out of the back of my car. I had like inventory. After I print it out, I got it goes. I got to the back of the car and start packing it up packing the products and shipping them out the next day after I pack it. Really interesting
[00:07:19] How from there we’re how I started actually. Sure, yeah 2003 is definitely early. I I was little bit behind you in 2004 and in the New York side and the other side, so, how about China? How did you how did you get over to China? So I actually started in 2003. So we did a lot of e-commerce Global like other platforms as well back in the days.
[00:07:46] So it was like more like buy.com. It was now, it’s Rakkuten, but buy.com they had, We had like overstock, we had eBay, of course we had in other countries too. Other countries’ eBays. So I was doing global global e-commerce back in the days before I even started Amazon. So we actually in 2008, or 9.
[00:08:12] I kind of saw a trend where Amazon sellers are, I mean, I’m gonna sell, overall wholesale wise. People were actually buying a lot of wholesale goods from me in general. I was doing a lot of iPod accessories and ebook accessory, netbook accessories. So then I moved over to China to try to do, to try to be the one that actually support selling these accessories over to the over, using like Global source and Alibaba as a wholesaler instead of being a wholesaler in only in US.
[00:08:49] In California actually. So that’s why I moved over and when I moved over I actually started the Amazon in 2009 in China, Shenzhen. I was one of the first people or companies that was actually doing Amazon in Shenzhen back in 2009. And it’s really early. I think as far as I know you probably use a US company to do that.
[00:09:14] Right? I think it wasn’t yet open for Chinese. No, first. Yeah, it was actually, we foreign, foreigner California company actually could sell back in and be a, set up a company back in the day. So in 2009, that’s what we did actually. Okay. Okay. Okay. And so I think you’re kind of in the market now is you know East versus West you have some pretty high level masterminds we can talk about in the show.
[00:09:46] So, you know, you’re not afraid really talking about these black hat strategies and tactics that people you know that you know have been using what would you say is like, you know, what you’ve noticed on the both sides the East and West with in this kind of industry. Well between East and West I believe like the West is actually really good at marketing through their different platforms like social media.
[00:10:15] Going through like influencers and every like SEO, Google SEOs and everything else that you know normal marketing for Branding is what is used for. But for the East they have like the only mainly do marketing on Amazon because of some of the barriers such as like the internet. Or, they can’t even go on Google or Facebook or YouTube and also it’s a lot of stuff that they can’t do.
[00:10:44] So that’s why that’s why they actually can’t can’t get out of this Amazon box. So they can’t really start like advertising outside of Amazon, but they’re getting better and better nowadays. So that’s that’s what it is. That’s a whole big picture of how, where the East and West is that true? It’s a good point you bring up that is blocked.
[00:11:09] All Amazon not blocked yet. At least I don’t think they will block it. But yeah, most of the other channels of the West are not accessible freely in China. So it is true. I think also the req- requirements on English and branding skills is much more advanced, out outside of Amazon. I’m not saying it’s easier on Amazon, but it’s kind of little bit more
[00:11:31] Direct, right, you have the photo you have your bullets you have your description. Whereas I think a lot of these other channels you have to have more open creative kind of navigation. So, you know a lot of people think it’s the Chinese sellers that are doing all the black hat stuff. Is that is that what you would you would say or? Well, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t say.
[00:11:57] Chinese is the only one that are doing the black hat stuff. Actually in China, there’s not a lot of people that are really using black hat like to the, they’re like kind of dominating. It’s actually only a very few percentage of the bigger companies that are actually using black hat that are actually dominating. You might you might think that oh shoot.
[00:12:20] I see all these all these Black hat coming, coming into the market and looks like it’s all from Chinese. But it’s actually, one company actually has like maybe three thousand or two thousand accounts, you know. And there’s like only a handful like maybe 200 of these companies or that are really big, you know that are selling. They’re all come,
[00:12:41] They’re actually the same company, you know. So there’s like each company of the 200, has like a couple thousand accounts and stuff like that dominating the market. And so like that. So it’s not really just all of China. I would say most of Chinese people are, that are selling on Amazon are not very good at it.
[00:13:01] But it’s just those that are very good at it, they just make sure they dominate over that market and category. That makes, that makes sense too. But I think maybe the other problem, other westerners, of course were English language. Oh and most are foreigners course Chinese listen and welcome to listen, but I think.
[00:13:19] The other difference is Chinese are much lower on price, right? They can really compete on price. I think black hat’s one part. I think of the complaint of maybe westerners, but I think the others the price dropping is that something you think is more common with Chinese sellers. There are more willing to do to price-cutting.
[00:13:39] Yeah. Well Chinese sellers are able to run at a lower margin or profit than most your you know, actually foreigners. I’m sorry going back to when you’re saying that black hat if it’s only for Chinese. Yeah Chinese actually, Chinese is one of the people who are using black hat. A lot of other countries are actually doing black hat as well.
[00:14:06] It’s not just for Chinese side of it. People just think black hat is coming from China. But but there’s, you have, you have like Russia, you have like Ukraine. Yeah. And like Romania you have like other part of Europe that are actually. There’s a lot of different places that, like Israel that is actually doing a lot black hat and different style black hat.
[00:14:30] They’re like, they’re like martial arts different from different countries, you know. So it’s not just from China so and especially back in even right now and they supplements industry, there’s like a lot of black hat going on. There’s like a lot of, there’s Hemp Wars and there’s this like Keto Wars, you know that goes on in there, you know. So it’s not just so it’s not just only in other countries. In, in US
[00:14:57] You could even see that you see some black hat as well. True. I like how you said category. I think that’s something you know, the listeners know I’m new and Alpha Rock and we I think maybe it’s there’s more black hat for sure and certain categories like you mentioned supplements and other like dietary, maybe like is there certain sectors that you would say are black hat more than others?
[00:15:24] Probably I would say supplements has a lot of black hat but these are more mainly with in US. The black hat people because supplements are mainly like people trust FDA-approved stuff where made in US. Or made in, so many those supplements are made from Canada or the US are actually American sellers. Actually a lot of them are. So yeah, so that’s supplement side.
[00:15:52] But you’re talking about other black hat categories. Probably you’ll see like a lot in like Electronics, especially Wireless accessories. That’s like the killers. You can see like a lot of people are really ruthless and they don’t. Electronics is probably one of the biggest category where you see a lot of
[00:16:10] Black hat anything like low-margin, the low price point stuff. I would say is where you see a lot of black hat easy easy entry point. Okay, that makes that makes sense and electronics of course is pretty popular in South China. So there’s higher volume of of Chinese sellers in that category, too.
[00:16:35] So then supplements, Electronics, so. We feel a beauty, do you think that’s one or I mean my makeup or is that. A beauty not as much not as much. Because the beauty is usually like non-China on not, it’s mainly in the US. A lot of the beauty stuff that is like that people are selling besides big Brands, you know out of the country kind of Brands, but mainly if you booty is mainly locally sold by the US side.
[00:17:07] So because no one really wants it by China made beauty products at this point. It’s an Emerging Market in in US and China, is actually called Emerging Market where people in China is actually pushing or Amazon’s pushing those kind of marketplaces category. So that’s something that is lacking in China. Okay.
[00:17:30] Hope it’s okay I go off topic a little bit. But like IP, I mean, I’ve heard of some big Chinese sellers having a lot of trademarks and patents themselves. I think some, some listeners are foreigners, might think Chinese don’t build Brands. But I think you, I don’t know if you would notice. There’s more like IP being filed in China for for sellers.
[00:17:50] I believe in the US, in the US is probably pretty big and IP. But actually China is the biggest in IPS. The files IP trademarks and things like that. So they’re actually one of the biggest probably trademark IP country that does a lot of filing more than others actually. With a Chinese Mark.
[00:18:14] IP or US IP. Even China IP. China IP is the first I got it. So. Okay and. We have a couple options we can talk about. I don’t know if some kind of case studies examples either either of blackhat strategies, or maybe we can talk about stuff that you’ve you’ve been involved with or you’ve seen. I mean, I think people would learn from examples of the ways that they could.
[00:18:43] you know understand the marketplace of of what’s happening. Sure we could, we could first go on to like anything black hat if they want to know. So what would be some common ways. I mean, of course everybody talked about reviews is that like a common way like fake reviews stuff like that? Well, we’ve used is of course is a big thing in Amazon. Fake reviews are always always happening, you know, it’s probably been happening ever since the beginning of time.
[00:19:18] So, you know, if people need to to get some kind of reviews in order to sell so fake reviews are happening in the marketplace more and more. But Amazon’s doing good good job in trying to slow that down. I’ve seen a lot of progress where reviews are getting like held or were some listings aren’t being able to create any more reviews.
[00:19:50] So Amazon is pushing on that. Okay. As well as in the future, I’m I see I see a lot more and more harder and harder for people to get more reviews under listings. Okay. So. It makes sense. But then the other side is even scarier to me is negative to competitors. So rather than trying to boost yourself up you try to make me push somebody else down.[00:20:15] That’s, that’s something I’ve been he seeing a little bit in hearing about. That, that’s kind of scarier to me. Yeah. So right now, before you just need to make sure you had inventory and you post it up and it sells. That’s like maybe pre 2015. It’s really easy to sell on Amazon. Now, you got more of a variable that you need to to make sure you have. First you have to have money.
[00:20:42] It’s not like before 2014-15 where you can just put anything up and you can sell. You need to do more like somewhat like giveaways, you know or rebates where you have to have some kind of like more of a capital. And, you have more competitors are doing the same thing as you. So there’s a lot of people, are doing educational classes and stuff like that.
[00:21:05] So more and more people are understanding what to do. So before like 2015, no one really knows what to do. They just put it up and it sells. So, right now there’s now of course more competition and stuff. So and now now now it’s still different. Now, you have to have more money. Now you have to have have more Graphics you need to have videos.
[00:21:29] You have the EBC, all the enhanced brand content. You have to make sure you have good keywords in there. So all that you, is like everyone is actually doing. But in reality, even though you have a lot of money and you have a lot of inventory and you have a lot of content and and and videos and like content in this place.
[00:21:54] You still have one more thing now you have to watch out for competitors. Well actually attacking you, giving you negative reviews, trying to push you down. So what is, right now like a lot of things that people are doing is they’re softing, the mark-, softening the market before the entry. They go in and they see hey, I see these top five sellers.
[00:22:17] These top five sellers is really doing really good. I’m going to go and give them negative reviews. I’m gonna go soften in the market. I’m going to go and get them suspended with keywords in the back end. They get where, so that when they, when they get automatically suspend the ASIN through through Amazon and it becomes a dog page or something like that.
[00:22:35] They go in and they make sure that those top sellers are actually getting suspended first or being able not being able to compete before they even get into the market. So you might think it’s kind of competitor that’s like hurting you like like but actually not even on your on listings yet or even in the search results yet.
[00:22:56] They’re just softening the market so that they can get entry point and then they can come in and they could dominate so you can’t really suspend them because they’re not even selling. Yeah, where it is. This is like a stealth mode, you know. yeah, that’s that’s something I just learned. That’s pretty it seems to capture, people listening or just scared.
[00:23:17] I mean, you know, why are we doing this? Why are they doing this like? Because it’s like a lot cheaper to PPC, you know. So it’s a lot cheaper than give aways. Now, just softening the market. We will suspend. It is actually a lot cheaper as an advertising cost than than doing their traditional giveaways and stuff.
[00:23:39] That’s why you see all these attacks. Yeah. I think the worst part is, you know, people can’t get Amazon to help them if it happens to them, right? I mean, is there any way to defend against, especially if you just a normal seller, you know, just a normal, you know? Earning a living, you know working at home, you know, it’s something you can do.
[00:24:02] So honestly Amazon is being really, is getting harder and harder. You can’t be just a normal seller in order to survive. You really have to know more things that you need. So like again, you really do need more capital than before you really do need more support from Amazon, you know. There’s this program where Amazon where you can actually
[00:24:24] request a account manager to help you with your with like any needs that you have. So I recommend you have like an account manager even though they don’t do much but when they do do something it does it does it’s worth that extra cost. I think it’s like 1500 plus like point I think point three percent or I forgot up to 5,000 a month.
[00:24:51] So that I could share the link. Will leave. sure. Well, I’m taking some notes and we can we can add it to the show notes. So it seems like what is is if you can’t beat them join them kind of thing. No, I would say you would have to really be able to do stuff that would hurt their bottom line as well for them to stop. You’ve seen like images that people are saying sending out a changing and saying hey stop.
[00:25:18] Stop changing my picture or else I’ll change yours. Or, first emailing the competitor and saying hey don’t stop stop this or else I will retaliate that. Things like you need to like, it’s a war zone out there now in on Amazon, especially Amazon is not really doing much to to change much of it. True, true.
[00:25:39] So I think one way maybe is to stay out of the try to just not go into those competitive sectors. Is that one way to maybe defend like stay within a certain category and hope that this kind of tactic doesn’t enter that into your market. So I in general I do believe to try to if you want to grow faster and be less of a Target.
[00:26:04] You should do some kind of Niche. Try to find your own niche. Try to create your own product line. Something that someone can’t just come in and dominate or like you know with using black hat. Because things like anything over $100 value products, I would always suggest people do because that really gives it another second thought, thought for other big competitors that wants to get in there because it cost too much. They have, they might.
[00:26:33] They don’t see it being and there’s not a lot of sales for them maybe. It’s not like a lot of volume. So things like high volume less less quantity sold, but you do a lot of those kind of products would actually help your your Survival on Amazon. That’s good tips. It’s been really good. Is there any certain tools that you would use or recommend?
[00:27:01] For of course, there’s so many Amazon tools. But it’s been be specifically into like monitoring black hat or protecting yourself. For blackhat monitoring, I’m sure there’s tools that are out there for hijackers guys. Got to make sure when you see any hijackers on your listing get them off really quick or else they will get you suspended.
[00:27:22] There’s a lot of ways that people get themselves suspended. So if you they are on your listing you get them off or else it could cause you to lose your listings, especially when they’re sitting there just to analyze your data. They can they can feel your search volume. They could search your click-through rates.
[00:27:39] They could see all that on their business business reports, you know. So that’s the reason why they’re sitting there at a high price getting ready to attacking you and just analyzing their competitors on it by sitting there. That’s true. So even if they’re a high price, they’re just learning and getting data.
[00:27:57] they’re just getting data. Mmm. So I think one thing I want to be clear is sometimes especially if Western sellers they take it personally China’s trying to hurt them. You know, I know no one likes to get attacked but I think it’s Chinese are battling Chinese sellers. I’ve heard a story. So I think it’s you know, it’s not like they’re targeting certain people right certain demographic.
[00:28:21] It’s just kind of like, like you say, it’s war and it’s I think it’s just China business tactics going on to Amazon, right? I mean a lot of people say China like Taobao is very cutthroat, right? Like a lot of top sellers moved into Amazon and use these kind of these kind of tactics and strategies. Overall
[00:28:45] I don’t think that Taobao and a lot of them are from taobao. Mostly most of the Chinese sellers are from traditional B2, B2B platform like Ali Baba or Global Source where they’re seeing it being harder and harder to find customers because they would have to pay PPC costs. Or like Ali Baba or something but global storage at the pay high advertising costs to get any any of the clienteles so.
[00:29:17] And then especially when Amazon is moving into animal China to try to recruit a lot of these cells are gonna jump on and and being, being in China itself, you actually get a lot of a lot of advantages such as you know prices of goods are always like 15% lower than any foreigners. Shipping prices are always a lot more lower than than foreigners by at least 15%.
[00:29:46] At least you know, so there’s a lot of things that because they know how to network with the Chinese. Chinese know how to network with Chinese Chinese know what to say and how to influence prices. So there’s that in the market. So. Make sense and. Oh, yeah, I’m sorry. Also, you’re saying Chinese against Chinese?
[00:30:09] Yes. Yeah, it is. There’s a lot of big articles in Chinese, in China and in the community where this guy goes out and we finance or borrow money over from his, their house that they sold, or they borrowed money from the house mortgage or equity whatever. And then they go in and they try to buy inventory with this while.
[00:30:34] While people attack them lost their listing lost or seller account. Now, there are like broke. They have all this, you know, like debt and you got to remember that like these people have families. Yes scary. It’s scary where you know, like your kind of destroying their they’re like their families, you know, Livelihood. Livelihood and food on the table and so I like that so there’s like.
[00:31:00] This is, it’s not. Not all Chinese are actually trying to attack each other and stuff. That’s only a very few. A lot of in the community there are against these people. These, the sellers are actually rare, hidden. They’re not very out there telling everyone. Oh, I do this kind of method of sabotage.
[00:31:21] It’s actually is like a taboo in China for do, whoever does it. So it is people are actually hiding themselves. Yeah the community. I mean who wants to come out and say I just I destroy other sellers because if you think I finds out I don’t think that guy just lost his house. I don’t think he’d be too happy if he found out who he was if you found out who it was.
[00:31:42] I don’t know. I don’t know. What do you think what happened? I guess every dangerous. So this has been fascinating and I know you also, you know, you help you help sellers overseas and helps around the world like, you know, maybe be aware of this and and maybe use some of. Chinese sellers are not only black hat.
[00:32:01] They’re just more advanced. Right? I think one thing I’ve talked about on some of these shows is they’re just doing it full-time job. A lot of Western sellers are still doing this is like the make money online. They’re doing this part time. They have their day job. This is some extra income but for Chinese sellers, this is their livelihood, right?
[00:32:17] So while there’s black hat, there’s also just really Advanced strategies and they live and breathe Amazon and there’s I mean whether it’s Amazon or if anything I think. I think Howard would agree and many listeners. Chinese just work harder than most people right there. Just so determined to do anything it takes. Correct.
[00:32:36] Well, it’s like a their normal hours are 9 to 9 and 6 days a week Monday to 6:00 Monday to Saturday. So yeah. No, these are not owners are doing this 99 6 days a week. These are employees. Yes. So they, so there they are are working those kind of crazy hours for the owner so each, you know, you see how fast they grow as well as they do not they very concentrate on one thing on Amazon and they don’t go out of the box.
[00:33:07] That’s why they’re very sophisticated in within Amazon because they have nothing to do but sit in the Amazon while order is going do their Facebook. Multishare. Multichannel, Shopify, their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels and things like that, you know. They’re, there just has nowhere to go by running around on it in the box of Amazon and being really good at it because
[00:33:36] they don’t have anything, no learning curve. It’s like that’s a lesson or learning curve to improve because while you’re trying to go and learn other things and there’s learning curves. They’re getting better and better and faster. It is true, I mean. At some of the conference’s we’ve had is a lot of times a Chinese would just say they don’t care about websites.
[00:33:53] They don’t care about third-party traffic, you know outside traffic there just Amazon only and usually the westerners are more about Brands like building a holistic brand building content building traffic building articles building social media accounts, but I think yeah Chinese sellers don’t don’t care about that.
[00:34:13] I mean, I’m not saying that Chinese are the way they are doing is wrong. I don’t know. I think the Americans aren’t maybe as there’s a lot of stuff that with in Amazon they’re not really focusing on the but they could probably do better. You know, like what we can kind of learn from the Chinese how they’re more focused on on Amazon before they move out of Amazon.
[00:34:37] Yeah, I would say that the for for the outside of China, people are moving outside of Amazon to throw, to get traffic to push back into Amazon to branding and everything but it’s a lot harder because Amazon itself is ready focu- tailor-focused traffic that wants to buy your product while you’re trying to weed out the people who wants to buy your product through funnels or through through ads and stuff like that that which costs like a lot more than 15%
[00:35:07] Of the Amazon fees. True, true. I mean, I understand both sides. But I think we usually did way to succeed in this life is focusing and maybe a or at least building one really develop strong Channel, which seems like still is Amazon for volume at least in e-commerce today. So this has been fascinating Howard.
[00:35:28] I know you got a lot of work to do and it’s been great catching up with you. We have you know, of course you’re going to be one of our speakers, contributors to our cross-border Summit this October and 22nd 23rd. You also helped out with the Mastermind before so people that want to upgrade can do that.
[00:35:45] And you also have some of your own things. You’re always doing. Do you want to share about share about what you’re up to? We’re actually doing a mastermind in October. I think it was October 7-8 in Miami. We’re going to have everyone, like the top elite innovators from worldwide come into Miami flying through we’re going to have some people from Israel.
[00:36:12] We’re going to have some Russia and we’re going to have some Ukraine ins we’re going to have some Chinese we’re going to have some Europeans even from Romania. So, they’re all going to go in there. And we’re going to do like a hackathon or something that we’re all these Elite Sellers and practitioners will be able to show their stuff and be able to teach a lot of the our Mastermind members that are going to join us for to open their eyes to show that world.
[00:36:47] That’s not just not just Chinese are the one that knows their stuff. There’s a lot of people outside of China that are pretty good at what they’re doing on Amazon. Awesome. Yeah, that’s really exciting, man. And thanks again for coming on the show. We’ll link up. We’ll have a few more links will put.
[00:37:04] We always put the full blog post on the show, and you can check it out and thanks so much Howard. Thank you very much. Are you moving money between countries specifically if you have a Hong Kong bank and you’re trying to get money in or out of one more out of Hong Kong you can check out go.remit.hk they are our long-term sponsor here at the show.
[00:37:27] I’m advertising them every time but I’m happy to really be plugging them on the show. I know the founders. I’ve been following them since the early days. And cross border payments is a very necessary part of doing cross-border business. Banking is a pain point. We try to talk about that in the show and they’re here to help reduce the fees and as well as it adds some service you can usually connect with their account rep directly on various platforms and they’re there to help as well as save you money.
[00:37:55] Check it out at www.goremit.hk. Tell them GFA sent you. All right, so we finished that interview. Hope wasn’t too loud. I mean we have some expensive gears about a thousand dollars of gear strapped to my back and around my neck. But I like to do sometimes these podcasts and in person especially when I’m here in Shenzhen and I’ve been meaning to talk to Howard. We had to catch up on preparations for the cross-border summit.
[00:38:19] He’s also got interesting Mastermind. He’s doing over in Florida. I’m sticking on the Asian side. I’m sticking in a China side, even though there’s been some really crazy political and business shifts in the world. We’re still sticking to our Cross Border Summit, this time fourth annual in Guangzhou, China. If you want spend some extra time with Howard as well as some other top speakers.
[00:38:39] Suggest upgrading to the VIP pass which gives you a half-day Mastermind before the two-day full event of speakers, which of course by itself is also very valuable and man. So a lot of our time is spent the last few months and two months away. Anyway enough to plug. Of course that is appreciated you support this show.
[00:38:59] But let’s just time talk to my my blah blah blah, you know. Black hat tactics on Amazon and, I think I’ve been in a I’ve been in the in and out of the game honestly as an either Amazon Seller, e-commerce seller, online business owner in all different forms, you know. Started myself 2004 on eBay and I think it’s true.
[00:39:24] Like there’s a few powerful or loud people that caused problems that make everybody look bad whether that’s you know, certain political people in the US that makes all Americans get a bad name. Like me, I have to hear about political stuff that happens in America or you know gun shootings that mean everybody America has a gun and starts killing people.
[00:39:49] I mean, I’d have to say for the black hat it there’s not everybody in China doing it and but Chinese people are like we said in the interview very determined to do whatever it takes to win. I mentioned the beginning of the show or the Art of War Book which I recommend you reading there. And it’s not just foreigners to foreigners.
[00:40:15] It’s they’re just trying to win the game and do winner-takes-all kind of mentality, dog-eat-dog. I mean I try to think of the abundance mindset and hope that everybody can earn money and earn a living. But some people might think it’s it’s everyone out for themselves and I’m just going to try to get as much resources cash. business ranking or whatever it takes so.
[00:40:41] I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you would handle that but it’s definitely scary. You know, I’m not going to lie. It’s scary and I haven’t gotten attacked yet that I know of and I’ve had some negative reviews I didn’t agree with and I couldn’t tell if it was a competitor. It wasn’t so so didn’t kill me.
[00:40:58] But you know, I’ve heard stories where you’re just under attack, which is negative reviews all over the place and it’s really not fair. I mean, there’s one side to me a boost your own stuff, but to actually like soften the feel where your just- attacking your competitors seems really hard for me to accept as a something people could actually anybody can really do but because I’d rather make myself even if it might not be the most.
[00:41:25] Legitimate way, you know, at least you’re focusing on yourself rather than trying to hurt other people. I just really think that’s the worst. But this stuff has happened even before Amazon. I remember DDOS attacks and if anybody knows that it’s like I forget denial service sometimes even governments do it to other governments or something, but.
[00:41:47] It’s where they send tons of traffic. Try break your site take it down. So when when all a lot of sellers were using light in the box kind of clones or there’s cat dropshipping tons of products from maybe watch on Bay and pumping Google with backlinks Spam and trying to rank in Google, you know, a lot of times what they would do is take down their competitors, you know, they’d see them ranking in Google or getting a lot of traffic so they would try to crush their server and take it offline and like destroy their website.
[00:42:14] I mean, I’ve talked to people that have had that happening to them. It’s true who’s gonna admit that they did that to somebody else, right? If you’re doing black cat stuff usually do not going around everywhere saying hey, I take down websites. Hey, I negative review blah my competitors. So, you know, these people aren’t going to come out and say that they’re the ones doing that I just hope you know. I just hope long-term I mean.
[00:42:37] We’ve had Meir on the show a few times back in the day and I think long-term brands are long term, you know doing the right thing will win and we course there’s a short-term hiccups and Nightmares and maybe you actually get to your account taken down, which is really unfortunate and horrible. But if there’s the other idea if you have a really good product and you’re the sell, only seller you could, worst cases you can have somebody else that could be the seller of your product or your brand.
[00:43:06] Of course if there’s negative reviews gets slammed on a listing doesn’t give you many options, but we have to just try our best to believe that good will win over evil long-term and and hope that you know, Amazon will continue to improve its algorithms and tactics of re-reviewing and catching these negative things that are happening.
[00:43:31] But I also do agree you should understand the market and understand these negative things that can happen to you. Even if you’re not going to do it yourself, which I hope you know, you’re not. But if if you understand what could negatively happen to you could then prepare or at least be mentally prepared.
[00:43:49] Of course, I don’t want you have nightmares already selling on Amazon something I need Commerce is already stressful enough with the API, know how it works the inventory financing, you know, like you gotta borrow money from Banks or Investments financing, you know to get more stock. I talk to you know, Chinese sellers.
[00:44:06] I have many friends that are Chinese Sellers as well as Western sellers, you know. You’re you’re betting a lot like Howard said in our interview here, financing your house to buy stock and send it to the Amazon warehouse and hope you roll the dice and that people keep buying it. From listing and you don’t get like destroyed or or your competitor beats you. It’s stressful.
[00:44:25] I’m not gonna lie. So, you know, we don’t need more of these nightmares of black hats or softening the fields just slamming your top listings and trying to take out markets. So we just have to try to be prepared. I mean like Howard said Chinese sellers are more focused on Amazon only and westerners as we’ve.
[00:44:46] As I even I do with my stuff we make websites and we try to make our social media campaigns and we try to do all sites and we tried to content and you know Chinese sellers would I think most would agree they don’t bother with that stuff or at least not until they’re making Tapped Out Amazon, which seems pretty hard to tap out.
[00:45:06] All of your potential in your Amazon channels, but then so scary right if your account gets in problems. So I’ve we’ve had people in our events in our shows like Jerry Gant with the AMC tracker way back. He would say, you know be a product based company more than a you know, marketing company making a really good product is going to probably win long-term.
[00:45:31] That’s what Amazon is looking for. They’re not looking for you to be the top marketer. They’re looking for you to be the top person providing the best product at the best price with the best service. I think those are the three criteria so long term you will win and I know you’re saying well not in China.
[00:45:48] I’m not a factory. Well, there’s these trade Wars happening. You’re my uncle Gary is on last week hoping that the tariffs happen and continue to happen and. You can agree or not agree. But what I mean is things are going to change the world is going to change the brand the product development. The person that knows the product will be the one that wins long-term what we’re what we’re doing here is just trying to open your eyes like why did why do we talk about this today?
[00:46:14] What are you trying to do scare people? Trying to make people get out of the game or stressed out or not get in? It’s there’s no lying is harder now than it was two, three, four years ago. It’s continuing to get harder. So that means you just got to get an earlier try to find your Niche try to find your strength focus on that.
[00:46:33] I had a good conversation with Chris Davey here in Shenzhen as well. Probably you get you back on the show Chris. I think he have been on a couple of times already. I mean, he’s working really hard on Unique Products, you know, trying to get IP trying to get patents trying to get trademarks trying to differentiate try to have really strong barriers to entry and no other sellers.
[00:46:51] I’ve talked to are doing the same, you know building out your IP portfolio doing things that can protect you and you can use that to give to Amazon to take people out of your Market, you know, legally and. We just got to get smarter and better, you know, we can’t complain and cry and get scared. Someone’s going to take us out with these black hat tactics.
[00:47:13] I think we just have to man up and be as strong as we can and get through it or or maybe it’s true. Maybe maybe sell out maybe contact Alpha rock or somebody in just take your number go to some brokers get out of the game. Maybe maybe some people might feel that right. Now. I know that’s that’s something people could think about.
[00:47:34] That’s not giving up. If you feel you’ve Tapped Out, you know, maybe you’re at this level may be really good at starting maybe get any going and then you want to get out and there’s no there’s no shame. I mean some people might have their opinions about selling your business earlier or selling your business instead of get through the next level, but there’s different entrepreneurs at different stages or different phases or maybe you want to move on to a different type of business.
[00:47:58] I mean, respect everything out there and I am done with the blah blah blah. I’m gonna head out back to the Hong Kong airport. Man I feel like I’m in I’m, it’s ,seriously. It’s like a digital and offline war zone and rate least like scary. It’s really I mean, I guess obviously it’s fascinating. And of course it’s scary but this is life. And, we can choose to hide and not stick our necks out or we can take chances and potentially.
[00:48:25] Yeah, potentially get hurt. But I think that’s I mean that’s what I try to do. My kids right thinks, my wife was like, oh don’t don’t let him do that again. You are like, well, that’s how my kids going to learn falling over and then get back up again. Be a Gladiator the Gladiator in the arena the e-commerce Gladiator.
[00:48:43] That book is getting through have almost finished the first draft and grinding away. Anyway. Thanks again for listening all the way till the end. I hope you enjoy this show notes and everything globalfromasia.com/episode268 with full transcript. It’s amazing. Take care. Bye. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com. That’s www.globalfromasia.com.
[00:49:11] Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.