Here’s another roundup of what you might have missed from November 13th to 19th.

Amazon Marketplace Tax Collection

Amazon has been forced to take a more active role in the seemingly unending sales tax saga between the ecommerce giant, third party sellers, and states.

Amazon recently informed 3rd party sellers that the company would be collecting and remitting sales tax from sellers who ship orders to Washington, its home state, effective January 1st next year. This is called Marketplace Tax Collection and is currently enforced only in Washington State, however, other states are expected to follow suit.

Amazon Key Security Flaw

Sales taxes aside, Amazon’s new delivery feature called Amazon Key created a lot of buzz when it was announced, as many people were skeptical of the idea of letting couriers open your front door and deliver packages while you’re away.

Now, researchers from the Rhino Security Labs revealed that it is possible to hack the camera so that everything looks fine to you, while someone takes all your stuff.

The hack involves running a custom program that disconnects the Cloud Cam from the network without alerting the homeowner. It is not an easy hack and Amazon has said that such an attack can rarely be done successfully. However, Amazon is still taking precautions and will be providing a software update to make sure homeowners are notified when the Cloud Cam gets disconnected during delivery.

Shopify Teaming Up with UPS

For those not relying on FBA, Shopify has teamed up with UPS to provide its merchants access to special rates normally available to bigger business clients.

This includes domestic and international rates with a range of options in terms of speed and pricing. A complete UPS dashboard is provided right inside of the platform and is definitely a way to help encourage its use as a shipping option.

This feature is arriving right in time for the holidays which is sure to be a busy time for many merchants.

Amazon Seller Lost $400,000 After Being Attacked by a Competitor

In other, well, somber news, an Amazon seller just lost $400,000 in sales after being suspended for seven weeks following an elaborate attack by an alleged competitor.

The seller, David Damavandi, held the top selling spot for a facial steamer on Amazon before a competitor began attacking its listing. The company then got suspended for seven weeks during the busiest season of the year. The company had to lay off half of its employees and has been liquidating inventory, instead of preparing for the holiday rush.

It really shows how competitors have little to no moral compass and why having a backup plan is always a good idea.  Unfortunately, we are hearing more and more reports of competitor manipulation, but we hope these reports continue to be isolated incidents and not the norm!

EcomCrew Updates

Ever since Tim Ferris made virtual assistants famous in 2007 when he launched the Four Hour Work Week, everyone seems to have a VA and our company is no exception. This new blog post details how we found and trained our own team of incredible VAs, and how we keep them loyal to us.

During our trip to Asia, we went over to the Philippines to personally meet with our team there. It’s refreshing to be able talk to them in person and not just on Skype. While we were there we had the entire team talk on a podcast episode. We went around the room and introduced every single member of the team and what they do for us.

If you’re unsure which tasks you can assign to a VA, we made a list of 25 things we outsource to our VAs and 7 things we do ourselves. Get it here for FREE!

Last week’s Thursday episode is a play-by-play report of our entire trip to Asia, covering the Global Sources Summit, the Canton Fair, meeting with our Philippines team. This will give you a pretty good overview of what it’s like to be on the road, traveling back and forth between cities to attend fairs and meet people, things you might need to do if you are serious in growing your importing business.

That’s it for the weekly news roundup. Until next week, happy selling!