Sellers were in an uproar after receiving word that Amazon changed their product title requirements, limiting the maximum length to just 50 characters. Just weeks after the announcement was made, Amazon seemingly backtracked on the new policy without saying a word. Amazon’s recent actions have left many sellers wondering why the update was made to begin with and whether this change should be considered a foreshadowing of what’s to come.

The Initial Crack Down.

News broke mid-June that Amazon would be suppressing ASINS from Amazon Search if they failed to comply with the new title requirements. Sellers were advised to reference the FBA Product Title Requirements page prior to July 15th and to ensure their titles were in good standing by July 22nd.

The guidelines appeared essentially the same, except for one glaring difference, the length requirements. Previously, product titles had a 200 character limit. The updated guidelines stated that the new limit was just 50 characters.

So, why would Amazon reduce the character allowance by a whopping 75 percent? Amazon references internal research, claiming that ASINS with longer titles have historically resulted in poor customer experience. Since Amazon’s primary focus has always been centered around their customers, it would make sense for them to implement restrictions that may help remedy the problems consumers are facing.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming response from sellers was utter outrage. There seemed to be one consistent message across all of the seller comments – a product and its purpose cannot be sufficiently summarized in just 50 characters. For most sellers, it’s nearly impossible to include the brand, product name, variation information and attributes without exceeding 50 characters. The new challenge put sellers in a tricky position because the only way to avoid suppression was to figure out how to comply.

". . . a product and its purpose cannot be sufficiently summarized in just 50 characters." 

Amazon Quietly Backtracks.

Amazon remained silent following the policy updates, not publicly addressing the new policies or the subsequent reaction from sellers. Although seller concerns were not formally acknowledged by Amazon, they were heard loud and clear.

Just ten days after making the initial announcement, Amazon quietly updated the news article and Title Guideline Page, changing the maximum length back to 200 characters. For reference, we’ve included both versions of the news release below.

For the time being, sellers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their listings are safe from suppression. If this whole ordeal has taught us one thing, it’s this – As Amazon continues to aim towards bettering the customer experience, sellers should anticipate that a change in the product title requirements is inevitable. It may not be today, or next week, but it’s not unreasonable to expect that Amazon will place new limitations on title length within the next year. Limiting the character count will serve a dual purpose – all listings will be automatically optimized for mobile viewing, and customers will have a better shopping experience because sellers won’t be able to pack their titles with misleading or irrelevant information. This win-win for Amazon will ultimately pose a new challenge for sellers, but, for those who can adjust and comply, there’s nothing to worry about.

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