This post is pretty basic but from talking to people who are new or unfamiliar with the Amazon catalog it’s a common misunderstanding. So hopefully all the beginners out there will find this helpful!

I’ve been doing some one-on-one training for a friend and I was having a lot of trouble explaining basic listing relationships, parent-child relationships, variation themes… all that good stuff-then I realized what was happening.

He thinking of Amazon listings like eBay listings. He had sold on eBay in the past so that’s what he was familiar with. He thought everyone creates their own product listing, sells their inventory and when they sell out and delete the listing from their account it was deleting that listing from the Amazon catalog. With this mindset it was easy to see why he was so confused!

  • How did deleting the listing from your account orphan other peoples inventory?
  • and how did fixing it help others?
  • This also made it explaining ASINs(Amazon Standard ID Number) really complicated. How could it be the same across the board if everyone had their own listings?

When in reality the Amazon catalog is universal. Once an ASIN is created for a listing it doesn’t change. Each product is assigned an ASIN for life, basically. The ASIN and UPC are permanently linked.

Think of each ASIN as a basket, if 5 different people buy the same product, when they list their inventory it’s all getting thrown in the same basket. Once you have sold all of your inventory and you’re no longer keeping track of the basket, it doesn’t get thrown away. And if the basket is empty- the product is totally out of stock, they don’t throw it away, they set it aside and wait for more inventory to sort into it.

With eBay everyone has their own basket to hold their inventory and they throw it away when they sell out. There can be millions of different listings for the same product on eBay, each seller creates their own.

On eBay the changes you make can’t possibly affect other’s listings, but on Amazon, because you’re all throwing your products into a single basket, under a single listing, every change you make affects all the inventory, it affects every seller who has that same product in their inventory. So, when you delete a listing from your inventory and that orphans it, that listing will become orphaned in every sellers account. And the same thing happens when you fix it.

Still don’t understand? Join the facebook group! We’ll answer all your Orphan related questions and as many of the regular catalog related ones as we can.