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The End of OSP: Amazon Removes Editorial Recommendations from Search Results


In a move that sent ripples through the e-commerce world, Amazon has discontinued its Onsite Associates (OSP) program, effectively eliminating editorial recommendations from its search results. This decision, met with mixed reactions, promises to reshape the customer experience, advertising landscape, and content strategies for sellers, publishers, and agencies alike.

**Delving into the OSP Program:**

The OSP program, known internally as OSP, served as a collaboration between Amazon and publishers, allowing publishers to showcase top-rated products accompanied by editorialized blurbs within search results. These recommendations aimed to provide customers with expert insights and facilitate informed purchase decisions.

To participate in the OSP program, brands needed to meet specific performance metrics, including garnering over 100 reviews and maintaining a rating above four stars. This ensured that only high-quality products with substantial customer endorsements were featured in the editorial recommendations.

**The Removal of Editorial Recommendations:**

At the beginning of this month, Amazon made the bold decision to remove the editorial recommendations section from its search results, replacing it with additional ad units. This move signifies a strategic shift in Amazon’s approach to customer experience and content presentation.

Amazon’s reasoning behind this decision is rooted in its commitment to delivering exceptional customer value. The company aims to continuously assess the potential of products and services and make adjustments based on rigorous evaluations. By eliminating editorial recommendations, Amazon seeks to optimize search experiences and explore new methods of showcasing relevant and helpful content to its customers.

**Seller Perspectives on the Change:**

The removal of editorial recommendations has been met with a generally positive reception from sellers on Amazon’s platform. Many sellers anticipate lower advertising costs and a less cluttered search experience, which could potentially lead to increased sales and improved profitability.

The reduction in advertising costs is particularly welcomed by sellers, as editorial recommendations often required significant investment to secure top billing in search results. With the playing field now leveled, third-party sellers have access to a broader range of advertising opportunities, enabling them to compete more effectively.

**Impact on Agencies and Publishers:**

The discontinuation of the OSP program has had a noticeable impact on agencies and publishers that previously relied on editorial recommendations to generate traffic and revenue. PR firms that once assisted sellers in gaining access to the OSP program are now faced with the challenge of adapting to the new landscape.

Agencies are redirecting their focus to native publisher content that drives organic traffic and rethinking their editorial strategies to align with Amazon’s evolving content guidelines. Publishers, on the other hand, can still earn affiliate fees from their native content, but the loss of editorial content commissions may require them to explore alternative monetization strategies.

**Shifting Focus to External Content:**

The removal of editorial recommendations from Amazon’s search results underscores the growing importance of external content for businesses. In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift towards external content due to its value in driving organic traffic, building brand awareness, and establishing thought leadership.

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the power of external content to connect with customers, establish trust, and generate leads. This trend is likely to continue as Amazon continues to refine its search algorithm and prioritize relevant, helpful content that aligns with customer needs.

**Conclusion: A New Chapter in E-commerce Content Strategy**

Amazon’s decision to remove editorial recommendations from its search results marks a significant turning point in the e-commerce landscape. This move signals a shift towards a more customer-centric approach, where relevant content and seamless shopping experiences take precedence.

Sellers, publishers, and agencies must adapt to this new reality by refining their content strategies, exploring alternative monetization models, and embracing external content as a key driver of growth. As Amazon continues to evolve, the ability to deliver compelling, informative, and engaging content will remain paramount for success in the ever-competitive world of e-commerce.