eBay bolsters anti-counterfeit with 3PM Shield buy

eBay’s has acquired 3PM Shield, a Chicago-based brand analytics and protection company, in a further attempt to drive counterfeits off its retail platforms.

3PM offers a cloud-based platform that uses artificial intelligence to monitor data on third-party sellers on e-commerce platforms, and is claimed to detect those that are selling counterfeits, grey market, or misrepresented versions of branded products.

Users of online retail services like eBay and Amazon may be familiar with ReconBob, a free Chrome browser extension that 3PM developed to help them identify reliable sellers – and weed out those that may be offering counterfeit goods or selling a used item as new.

ReconBob takes a different approach to other user-oriented plugins like FakeSpot, which helps would-be purchasers assess whether product reviews are reliable.

In a statement, eBay said adding 3PM’s platform would boost its “ongoing commitment to provide sellers and buyers with a safe and trusted platform enabled by technology.”

The acquisition “enhances eBay’s ability to address suspicious or harmful seller behaviour, and potentially problematic items,” it added.

The acquisition – terms of which have not been disclosed – closed on February 9 and comes as eBay is in the midst of rolling out a new authentication service for customers, and shake off its association with counterfeit products.

The service is limited to a few selected product categories – so far sneakers, high-end watches, luxury bags, trading cards and fine jewelry – and does not apply to the bulk of goods sold through the platform.

When it extended the programme to include fine jewelry last year, eBay said it had authenticated more than two million items across the five categories since the service was first launched in 2020, and in the next two years it is expected to surpass five million items.

“It is a top priority to help ensure that eBay remains a safe and trusted environment for our global community of sellers and buyers, particularly to prevent counterfeits and unsafe or illegal products,” said Zhi Zhou, chief risk officer at eBay.

“3PM Shield has been a valued and effective external partner in helping eBay tackle these challenges and we look forward to unlocking additional capabilities as we bring their technologies in-house.”

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