Amazon unveils scheme to tackle counterfeit problem

Amazon has finally responded to the growing concern about fake products being sold on its websites with a programme to help brand owners “drive counterfeits to zero.”

The system – dubbed Project Zero – is based in part on a machine learning algorithm that can scan listings for suspected counterfeit listings and automatically take them down, with Amazon saying it has the capacity to scan more than 5 billion listing updates every day.

Along with the automated takedown system, Project Zero will also include a self-service counterfeit removal tool that will allow brand owners to remove listings themselves, without having to have previously submitted a counterfeit report to Amazon, and a product serialization service.

The move comes as Amazon has come in for escalating criticism over what some view as inadequate action to curb listings for counterfeit goods, particularly on the marketplace section of its platform which allows third-party sellers and accounts for more than half of all sales through its sites.

There are also concerns about its “fulfilled by Amazon” service, which means the seller keeps items in Amazon warehouses and lets the company ship and pack it. Consumers tend to associate that with greater protection against counterfeits because of Amazon’s involvement, but the e-commerce giant does not verify such articles are genuine.

The e-commerce giant acknowledged for the first time in its most recent annual report that counterfeits pose a risk to its business, while last year the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) called for some of its marketplaces to be included in the next edition of the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Notorious Markets list.

For now Project Zero is available to brands by invitation only so will have a limited roll-out, although Amazon says it is working to add more and interested companies can learn more here. So far, the list of participating brands includes pet product firms Thunderworks and ChomChom Roller, fashion bag company Vera Bradley and Kenu, which makes smartphone cradles and other accessories.

The optional product serialization service is an interesting development, with Amazon offering to put a unique, Amazon-generated serial number on their products during manufacturing that will then allow the online retailer to scan and confirm that a product is authentic before it leaves a warehouse.

The serialization service will cost between $0.01 and $0.05 per code, depending on the volume required, according to the company.

“Every unit we sell through Amazon has a unique, serialized barcode, and our counterfeit problem has nearly disappeared in the US,” says Thunderworks chief executive and founder Phil Blizzard.

“Our aim is that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon,” said the company in a statement. “Project Zero builds on our long-standing work and investments in this area.”

Amazon set up the Brand Registry, a platform for registering logos and trademarks to facilitate detection of infringement, in 2017.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top