Problem Solved (Why why why?!?)

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that you overlook, but some quick backstory.

Our first high-volume product ever was our Dog Bath Towels. They were amazon recommended for tons of search phrases and when about a dozen different popular search phrases were searched, we were listed as not only the top seller but were first in the Editorial section. (and best “Under $20” list)

We were constantly racing to keep these things in stock (which we did) and Amazon automatically launched a subscription program that was building. We did a large manufacturing run and in the course of a few weeks the listing was wiped out. We couldn’t figure it out, but sales fell by 96%.

We submitted a ticket assuming we had been penalized, which SS said was not the case, so that wasn’t it and we have been scratching our heads for over a year.

By chance, our PPC manager discovered the listing had been moved to the wrong Item Type category, as they were deciding it was maybe time to do some PPC to see if we can get momentum back.

The correct category still remains on our end, but the “live” data shows it had definitely been moved without our say.

How does this happen?

It seems that this was the definite cause of the listing’s downfall. I’ve submitted a ticket to Brand Support to correct the issue and am furious that I didn’t notice this when trying to figure out how the listing went wrong.

I am relieved to finally find what I think is the cause for the listing’s plummet, but also confused and irritated.

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You would expect brand control to have some control over things like categories, clearly not.

I’m not sure even Amazon knows why items change categories. I suspect flat file uploads from other sellers (Who should be suspended for doing so)


that was my theory. someone snuck off a sneaky change, targeting the top seller in the bracket.

I’m assuming no way to chase that down?

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Not that Amazon will admit to or that seller support has access to.

Are there log files? Yep, Does ANYONE at Amazon even know how to access them? Probably not

The entities ensconced atop Amazon’s DPC hierarchical pyramid - e.g., the ART (“Amazon Retail Team”), the BT (“Business Team”), the A9/A10 Algorithm Team, etc. - have a long and sordid history of making Product Classifier changes @ the behest of A9’s behavioral analysis prediction modeling.

When that modeling really came into play in 2015 - as a direct result of the ill-fated 2012 decision to throw open Amazon’s US Global Marketplace to PRC-based sellers in 2013 having produced clearly-evident trends in the previous 7 quarter’s number-crunching data - Amazon promptly deprecated the long-useful ASIN Change/Merge Notification automated mechanism.

That in turn prompted us to begin comprehensively studying our quarterly-downloaded CLRs (“Category Listing Reports,” re-jiggered some years back as RFRs, or “Reverse Feeds Reports”) from the Inventory Reports Dashboard, as they typically offer the clearest glimpses into what Amazon’s automated mechanisms consider to be authoritative data @ that moment in time.

Many have been the times when diligently doing so has pulled our fat out of this or that Amazon-ignited fire, or allowed me to head one off at the pass before it can find fuel to stoke it; which is, in turn, why I’ve spilt so much ink through the years advocating that all members of our Seller Community should consider it to be Best Practice to download ALL of their CLRs - even those of Global Catalog ‘over-arching’ Categories which they themselves do not consciously target - at least once every biz ¼, so that some clarity might be found on what the dadgum Amabots are doing - AND DECIDING - in the background.

There are other Amazon-provided tools which can help clear the fog of war re: Product Classifier - various Advertising Console- (as your astute PPC Mgr pointed out), Business Reports Dashboard-, Inventory Reports Dashboard-, and Fulfillment Reports Dashboard-hosted downloads/GUIs being prominent in that mix, as can be the otherwise almost utterly-useless Listing Quality Dashboard (as our friend @Sundance elucidated in his seminal 17Sep2022 OSFE Tutorial “Lists be clear - Amazon bots change your product type based on AI not on facts” (link, NSFE v. URL)), as well as close examination of the latest-and-greatest flat-file downloaded from the APvU (“Add Products via Upload”) Dashboard on a regular (monthly) basis - but I would submit that CLRs are an invaluable part of the kit for preventing a cratering of sales at merely the whim of this or that of Amazon’s AI-based implementations.

Ideally, of course, all of this can be streamlined by a robust solution for querying Amazon’s Relational Databases via MWS API/SP-API, which is exactly how Third Party Service Providers in that marketspace accomplish this for their clientele - but a reasonable approximation can be had w/o resort to pricier solutions if one has the gumption to make that happen.


@Dogtamer, I’ll confess that I didn’t read all of that. :sweat_smile:

Do you have a TLDR for why the category looks right in SC but is, in fact, wrong?


According to Amazon, they are saying the product was moved to a different “Browse Node” because they determined through navigation and detail page that the listing was a better fit in a category that has minimal relation to it.

I tried to figure out how they came to this conclusion, and did notice that we do mention that the towels can also be used as a “blanket” as well. This is briefly mentioned and clearly not the target use of the bath towel. But amazon ran with it and moved us to Dog Beds in response, killing the listing.

They now are trying to say we are not allowed to change it back to what it should be, since they think the category where it can’t even list is the better fit. (this according to Brand Registry Listing support).

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Any chance that your mis-noded product competes with similar from Amazon Basics? :unamused:

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ehhh, the only one would be Bone Dry, who we were having fun racing review count with (they now have about 9x as many reviews since our removal) and they at least look to be a large vendor to Amazon.

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And this is when you create an escalation through SAS. Their job is to maximize your sales, and Amazon’s, and fix stuff like this.

Email your new SAS manager, explain the situation and follow the escalation process.

It should be fixed however I’m concerned it might get switched back at some point.

You may want to change that blanket verbiage sadly to prevent this from happening again.

If the primary reason the consumer is buying this is for the towel then there’s no real loss here.

Just keep pounding this through SAS. If the escalation fails (which it shouldn’t), then you push your SAS guy to do an internal escalation which is the final chance.

Good Luck


on it. I’m on day 2 of my new SAS manager and I’m already escalating. lol


There is a topic on browse node including tutorial on how to update which may be of some interest:

I got it fixed faster than internal team and most certainly SAS.



Weird, my category listings report is showing the correct item_type, though it is definitely showing something different on the live page.

How do I find the item_type or Browser Node ID on this listing?

This is where I need to be.


Brand Registry says I need to use this tool to find the proper types:

We reviewed the suggested browse path you provided and found that it doesn’t exist or is inaccurate. We recommend you to use the product classifier tool and provide the browse path you retrieve from there for this product.

You can access the product classifier tool in Seller Central by visiting:
Server Busy

okay, did that, and this is what it sends me to:

so node id 2619533011 and itemtype pet-shower-and-bath-supplies. They keep saying this is wrong for some reason.

In my case the node change tool wasn’t allowed.

Here is the entire timeline of category restore:

05/04/2023 - Updated listing using file upload with partial update - got incomplete browse node path missing final sub-node in full browse node path

05/05/2023 - asked for update and got deferred response

05/06/2023 - waited an additional day

05/07/2023 - messaged case and got deferred response

05/08/2023 - initiated partial update - using same files as before but doing all files simultaneously

05/08/2023 - messaged brand registry case asking for update

05/09/2023 - got a response from BR that they will not further update the listing and to open a new case if I wanted further help with the matter

05/09/2023 - initiated tiered partial update - updating parent first, then children

05/09/2023 - Simultaneously opened a new brand registry case, short and succinct, asking for a restoration of historical browse node path on parent and children asins

05/09/2023 - Noticed brose node path updated within a few hours which tells me whatever I did on 05/08 with the partial update or whatever I did on 05/09 with the partial update and new case - worked. The problem is, I didn’t split test solutions but it is one of those and can be initiated near simultaneously so it doesn’t matter for future reference


That is what is downloaded as explained in the flat file tutorial link - Literally:

The item_type will appear in the drop down and you select it and then update the remaining other fields. Partial update only requires: “SKU, Product ID, and Product ID Type, and set update_delete attribute to ‘PartialUpdate’. Only the fields with provided value will be updated while empty attributes will stay the same as previous value.”

So THAT’S why my very non-food product was classified as a food product, despite being in the correct “browse node”. It mattered little to me, because people search for my product by its name, as there is nothing else like it, and our tiny little “industry” is really just a small circle of friends, but DARN that was annoying to address with Amazon’s customer service, who I experimentally addressed in 7 different languages, in hopes of finding a common language with the CSR.

…and yeah - flat files… I read all that, and I played Insane Clown Posse’s “Miracles” (“F-in MAGNETS, How do they work?”) while reading the arcane spells in this online Necronomicon. I’m still not brave enough to try it, easier to send eleventy-seven message demanding that the backend team clean up their own mess.

Really nailed it

interesting that Partial Update got you there.

You know how often Partial Update has ever worked for me when the changes are already seemingly blocked? Nill? And I hate doing Full Update as it is scary. :slight_smile:

I sent a request direct to SAS to see if my money has any value with this problem and then going to try your solution. If it works, would be a first for partial update.

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It won’t. You need to follow the proper standard procedures and have a case to go along with it.

Once it fails, then you can escalate and then you have a shot at getting this done through SAS although not guaranteed.