Do DS Domination members actually dropship?
Following on from yesterday’s discussion over whether or not eBay suspended the seller account of a DS Domination member or not, I started to ponder the incident a bit deeper.
What is currently known is that a DS Domination member had their eBay account suspended because eBay were
not comfortable with (the member’s) selling practices or business model, and (felt) they don’t help to promote a positive buying and selling environment.
DS Domination member’s and the company itself maintain that the suspension was not a result of DS Domination membership, but rather due to a failure to follow the company’s dropshipping training and advice.
If DS Domination are indeed warning affiliates that not explicitly following their training and advice, all of it, will result in an eBay account suspension, then that I can accept.
It got me thinking though, what exactly did eBay object to then? Was it the way items were listed, the types of items listed? What exactly was going on here?
We know eBay, by their own admission, have no problem with dropshipping and, as DS Domination members are prompt to point out, plenty of people dropship items to eBay buyers every day without issue.
Hell you can even contact eBay yourself and verify they have no problems with dropshipping, so it’s obviously not that.
…or is it?
I knew the basics of dropshipping, that being the purchase of goods or services from “company A” by a dropshipper, which company A then sends directly to the dropshipper’s customer. Basic like I said, but that’s the gist of it.
Wanting the exact definition of dropshipping however for the purposes of analysis, I went and looked it up:
1. move (goods) from the manufacturer directly to the retailer without going through the usual distribution channels.
Armed with that I went over to the DS Domination website, where a marketing video informs me that
DS Domination is the first and only platform of its kind that allows the average person to harness the power of multi-billion companies like Amazon, eBay and Wallmart at the push of a button.
Any user can easily create an income within minutes, simply by copy-pasting product information from one company to another.
Fair enough, copy product information from one company, paste it onto another and make money. Got it.
This where I delved even deeper into DS Domination’s training concept and… that’s when things began to fall apart.
For those not familiar with DS Domination’s training, the company’s first tier of training primarily involves sourcing products on Amazon, “copy-pasting” the Amazon product information into an eBay auction listing and marking up the price.
Income is generated when somebody purchases a DS Domination member’s listing, at which point the member buys the product off Amazon and has them ship it out to the eBay customer who purchased the item. The DS Domination member pockets the difference between what they listed the item on eBay for and what Amazon sell the item for.
DS Domination charge $19.95 for this training (which apparently goes into much greater specific detail and methodology), with the idea that this is a member’s introduction to the world of dropshipping.
Functionally I see no issues with this, except that as far as dropshipping goes, it doesn’t really fit the definition of what dropshipping is.
Amazon make some ebook readers but to the best of my knowledge nobody is listing them on eBay. Instead DS Domination members are “copy-pasting” product descriptions on Amazon items that would allow them to introduce a significant enough markup to be worth their while if the item in question sells on eBay.
In this sense Amazon are clearly not the manufacturer of the goods being “copy-pasted” onto eBay, they themselves are retailers.
Amazon.com, Inc. is an American international electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world’s largest online retailer.
Amazon source the items from the actual manufacturers and then sell the items at a retail level. DS Domination purchase items from Amazon as retail customers, and then resell the items to their own customers through eBay.
Amazon are the middlemen between the manufacturers and customers, relegating DS Domination members to the role of middle-middlemen.
This is a distinction worth noting for two important reasons.
The first is that if what DS Domination is training its $19.95 members is not actual dropshipping, eBay’s policy on dropshipping bears to relevance to the activities of DS Domination members on the site.
Yes eBay has no problems with dropshipping but, as per the definition of dropshipping, “copy-pasting” product information from a retailer and reselling it on another site is not the same as actual dropshipping from a manufacturer (or wholesaler).
This naturally negates the argument that eBay can’t have a problem with what DS Domination members do on the site because eBay has no problems with dropshipping.
Short of further action or announcements on eBay’s behalf, that’s currently a question nobody appears to have a solid concrete answer to.
In a communication with one of their member’s yesterday, DS Domination claim
As of right now absolutely NO DSD user has been suspended or blocked by eBay for using the Dropshipping model which is perfectly valid by eBay’s own policies.
As long as you follow the training correctly you have no reason to fear about your eBay accounts.
A BehindMLM reader meanwhile sent in the following information, which might suggest otherwise:
Just got off the phone with Ebay support and explained to them that I’m tired of NOT being able to sell my own stuff online because this DS Domination is flooding their site with Amazon products.
They have looked at DS Domination website and I directed them to your blog of the review and they told me, “We are aware of DS Domination and are in the process of investigating, it just takes sometime”.
I’m not a member of DS Domination so I can’t approach eBay with any queries on how DS Domination specifically advises their members “copy-paste” product information from Amazon onto eBay listings.
If any DS Domination members do hear anything from eBay either way on this matter, feel free to provide the information below as a comment.
Personally from eBay’s perspective I can’t see the long-term benefit of gaining a reputation for being more expense than Amazon. And if DS Domination are attempting to create an entire MLM niche that revolves around this concept, then perhaps there’s a bigger issue at play here.
The other important reason that arises from DS Domination member’s reselling rather than dropshipping is on the otherside of the fence with Amazon. Specifically the company’s Terms and Conditions and how that fits into what DS Domination has its members doing on the site.
Under the sub-heading “License and Access”, Amazon’s Terms and Conditions clearly state
Subject to your compliance with these Conditions of Use and your payment of any applicable fees, Amazon or its content providers grant you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable license to access and make personal and non-commercial use of the Amazon Services.
This license does not include any resale or commercial use of any Amazon Service, or its contents; any collection and use of any product listings, descriptions, or prices; any derivative use of any Amazon Service or its contents; any downloading or copying of account information for the benefit of another merchant; or any use of data mining, robots, or similar data gathering and extraction tools.
Additionally, Amazon Prime’s Terms and Conditions contains the following under “Other Limitations”:
Prime members are not permitted to purchase products for the purpose of resale, rental, or to ship to their customers or potential customers using Prime benefits.
So that’s out too…
In both instances, particularly that of regular Amazon’s Terms and Conditions, how is “copy-pasting” Amazon item descriptions into eBay listing not blatantly violating Amazon’s Terms and Conditions?
I apologise in advance if I’m missing something glaringly obvious, but as far as I can see there’s nothing short of an obvious disconnect between actual dropshipping and what DS Domination promote at their $19.95 level.
Looking forward I guess there’s little left to do but adopt a wait and see approach. As far as Amazon goes, short of policing eBay themselves and trying to connect listings to Amazon accounts (which I don’t realistically see them doing), it would seem the ball is entirely in eBay’s court.
Was ProfessorX’s eBay seller account suspension an isolated unrelated to DS Domination, or is there something bigger at play here?