It has recently come to my attention that Chris Green (a marketer who has very close connections with the Merch program) has launched a service whose goal is to manipulate sales rank of Merch products.
The objective of this service is to have customers pay full price for an Amazon Merch t-shirt, and then have the seller pay them back 100% of the price of the shirt 30 days later via PayPal.
According to this screenshot (https://imgur.com/NYgvv8h), it seems that the buyer will also be given an exact keyword phrase to search for before purchasing the shirt in order to boost the shirt's ranking for that phrase in Amazon's search.
Website here: http://freemerchclub.com/
FB Group (with 700+ members) here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/213010339297498/
This type of activity is clearly prohibited in Amazon's "Prohibited seller activities and actions", which state that:
"You may not provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers for the purpose of inflating sales rank."
I have been selling on Amazon for several years, through Merch and FBA. As I understand it, this type of behavior is strictly not allowed and can result in the termination of an Amazon account.
Not only is this company engaging the activity itself, it is promoting it to all Merch sellers to take advantage of.
The gentleman who has launched and is promoting this service is a Merch insider who purportedly works closely with the Merch program and even co-organizes events and conferences with Amazon employees attending. I am a little concerned and puzzled that this is the kind of person Amazon wants to use as a brand ambassador.
Could you please provide some clarification here? Is Amazon Merch aware of this service, and does it condone these methods?