When John Bumstead looked at listings for his products on Amazon.com in early January, he was waiting for the guillotine to fall.
A small online business owner from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bumstead specializes in refurbishing and selling old MacBooks, models he typically buys from recyclers and fixes up himself. But on January 4th, Bumstead’s entire business dwindled into nonexistence as his listings were removed from the platform due to a new policy limiting all but the largest companies and specially authorized providers from selling Apple products.
“You’d go to your current items, your inventory items, and just watch them disappear that morning,” Bumstead says of the fateful day the policy went into effect, confirming fears he first expressed in an interview with Motherboard last November. “I pretty much had all my inventory, but as the day went on, you could see them dwindle down to two or three [listings] as they took them away.”
For small sellers like Bumstead, who’s run his refurbishing business for years under the name RDKL, Inc., the deal means you can no longer sell new or refurbished Apple products on Amazon Marketplace, the fast-growing third-party seller network that now takes in more revenue than Amazon’s entire online retail operation. Some financial analysts estimate that Amazon Marketplace is worth more than double the company’s internal e-commerce business, or about $250 billion.