Amazon launched a new program called Project Zero to help brands take down counterfeit goods on the Amazon marketplace without waiting for Amazon to investigate – “With Project Zero, brands no longer need to contact us to remove a counterfeit listing. Instead, they can do so, quickly and easily, using our new self-service tool,” the marketplace announced today.
Amazon Project Zero uses technology to offer what it calls “automated protections.”
Sellers may worry about brands being too aggressive and reporting items listed by unauthorized sellers or used goods. One reader already reached out to EcommerceBytes and called the program troubling. “Amazon is giving brands a tool so that they ( not Amazon) can eliminate counterfeit items listed on the site. With brands given such power, the opportunity for abuse is obvious. Brands on Amazon will have the ability to take down listings from any seller they desire. The chance that brands will abuse this power is obvious.”
But sellers already face risks, as CNBC wrote today – “One real store on Amazon’s marketplace was suspended shortly before Amazon’s 2017 Prime Day because of a fake claim of intellectual property violation by a nonexistent law firm, CNBC reported that year.”
In a FAQ, Amazon answers the question, “How does Amazon ensure that brands are making accurate decisions using the self-service counterfeit removal tool?” with the following response:
“We are providing brands with an unprecedented level of responsibility, and we are willing to do so because we believe that the combined strengths of Amazon and brands can drive counterfeits to zero. Brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges. We have a number of processes in place to promote accuracy, including required training as part of Project Zero enrollment and ongoing monitoring to prevent misuse of our tools.”
Amazon told brands, “Project Zero is currently an invite-only experience available in the U.S. We are adding brands as quickly as we can, while ensuring a high-quality experience. Brands that are not yet enrolled should join the waitlist and we will let them know as soon as we are ready to add them.”
It is free for brands to enroll in Project Zero, get access to the automated protections, and use the self-service counterfeit removal tool. However, brands that choose to use the product serialization service incur a cost between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, based on volume. (“Product serialization is a powerful tool for detecting and stopping counterfeits from reaching customers. Brands also have the choice to determine which of their products to serialize.”)
Amazon is not the only company working to solve the problem of counterfeit goods – an eBay patent we wrote about in December shows how that marketplace is considering ways to match new listings against a database to gauge authenticity.
Amazon announcement follows:
Amazon Project Zero: Empowering brands to drive counterfeits to zero.
By Dharmesh M. Mehta, on February 28, 2019
We’re excited to announce Project Zero, a new program that empowers brands to help drive counterfeits to zero. Project Zero combines Amazon’s advanced technology, machine learning, and innovation with the sophisticated knowledge that brands have of their own intellectual property and how best to detect counterfeits of their products. We do this through three powerful tools.
Powered by Amazon’s machine learning expertise, automated protections continuously scan our stores and proactively remove suspected counterfeits. Brands provide us with their logos, trademarks, and other key data about their brand, and we scan over 5 billion product listing updates every day, looking for suspected counterfeits. We’ve been testing these automated protections with a number of brands, and on average, our automated protections proactively stop 100 times more suspected counterfeit products as compared to what we reactively remove based on reports from brands.
Self-service counterfeit removal tool
This tool provides brands with the ability to remove counterfeit listings themselves. Previously, brands would need to report a counterfeit to Amazon, and we would then investigate these reports and take action. With Project Zero, brands no longer need to contact us to remove a counterfeit listing. Instead, they can do so, quickly and easily, using our new self-service tool. This provides brands with an unprecedented ability to directly control and remove listings from our store. This information also feeds into our automated protections so we can better catch potential counterfeit listings proactively in the future.
Product serialization is a service that allows us to individually scan and confirm the authenticity of every one of a brand’s products that are purchased in Amazon’s stores. The product serialization service provides a unique code for every unit that is manufactured, and the brand puts these codes on its products as part of its manufacturing process. Every time a product using our serialization service is ordered in Amazon’s stores, we scan and verify the authenticity of the purchase. With this product serialization service, we can now detect and stop counterfeiting for every product unit before it reaches a customer.
Our aim is that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon. Project Zero builds on our long-standing work and investments in this area. It allows brands to work with us to leverage our combined strengths to move quickly and at scale to drive counterfeits to zero.
We’re excited by the positive feedback we’ve received so far from brands that have been using Project Zero. See below.
“Project Zero, with its automated protections and the self-service removal of counterfeit products, is a significant development that will help ensure our customers receive authentic Vera Bradley products from Amazon,” said Mark Dely, chief legal & administrator officer, Vera Bradley.
“When we were offered the opportunity to enroll in Amazon Project Zero, we jumped on it. Every unit we sell through Amazon has a unique, serialized barcode, and our counterfeit problem has nearly disappeared in the United States,” said Phil Blizzard, ceo & founder, Thunderworks.
“Amazon’s product serialization service has been a game changer for us. We are excited to have this self-service counterfeit removal tool for the US Marketplace and consider this to be an insurance policy,” said Ken Minn, ceo, Kenu.
“Project Zero gives us a great deal of confidence. It has proven to us that Amazon really cares about helping protect our brand and eliminate counterfeits,” said Aaron Muller, co-owner, ChomChom Roller.
Project Zero is currently an invite-only experience, and we’re working to add more brands quickly. Learn more about Project Zero and sign up to join.
SOURCE: Amazon Announcement