Amazon rolls out Project Zero anti-fake scheme to new sites

Amazon has expanded a scheme intended to drive counterfeit listings off its websites to seven new countries, bringing the total to 17.

First unveiled in 2019, Project Zero is now being launched in Australia, Brazil, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates (UAE), adding to earlier roll-outs in the US, Europe, Japan, Canada, India and Mexico.

In Project Zero, brand owners with trademarks registered in these countries can make use of self-service tool to directly remove listings from Amazon's online stores, and if desired can also tap into a product serialization system operated by the company.

Amazon’s serialization platform – dubbed Transparency – allows brands to apply a unique code during their manufacturing or packaging process that can be used by Amazon to scan and confirm a product’s authenticity during the fulfilment process.

Meanwhile, the e-commerce giant uses artificial intelligence protocols to automatically scans attempted all product listings – currently running at around 5bn a day – to try to block counterfeits in advance.

“Over 10,000 brands – from large, global brands to emerging entrepreneurs including Arduino, BMW, ChessCentral, LifeProof, OtterBox, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Veet – have already enrolled in Project Zero,” according to Amazon.

Brands that are enrolled in Amazon Project Zero and already have a trademark enrolled in one of the newly-launched countries will automatically be able to use Project Zero in the additional countries.

To be eligible for this service, brands must have shown a god strike rate for correctly identifying counterfeit listings – with at least 90 per cent accuracy – in the prior six months.

Despite these measures, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was called to defend his company’s actions to stamp out counterfeits on its sites at a Congressional hearing in the US last month, after being accused of “acting like it’s not responsible” for fakes being sold by often anonymous third-party sellers on its platforms.

Earlier this month, Amazon said that from September 1 sellers in the US will be unable to operate anonymously, stipulating that a business or individual will have to have their name and address published on its sites.

There is also pressure on the company and other online retailers from the US administration, which added some of Amazon’s sites to its notorious markets list earlier this year.

In February, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that aims to prevent counterfeit products from overseas from being sold to US citizens via online retail sites.

The order delivers on a memorandum published by the White House last year, which pledged to crack down on counterfeit goods being sold on e-commerce platforms.

The federal government and other authorities – including the EU – are eyeing legislation that will force e-commerce platforms like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba to do more to prevent counterfeit sales.

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