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Wed May 25 2016 21:13:32

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers who work hard to create original designs to sell on sites like Etsy are finding counterfeits crop up on Amazon, and the problem finally caught the attention of a major publication, CNBC.

"Counterfeiters are selling low-quality knockoffs of other people's artwork," it quotes one seller, and it calls it a "virtual whack-a-mole that's punishing many small businesses."

Kenneth Corbin did a great piece on this problem for EcommerceBytes Newsflash in November, and EcommerceBytes Contributing Editor Greg Holden is tackling the issue from a slightly different perspective in the upcoming issue of the EcommerceBytes Update newsletter.

Ironically, Greg finds that the Merch By Amazon Tshirt-printing service for third-party sellers is part of the problem and is negatively impacting its own Tshirt sellers.

It's not just sellers' imaginations. A Zazzle spokesperson told CNBC: "We're concerned about the recent and sudden increase in the infringement of these designs, which are appearing on other sites on the web." Though another site called Society6 noticed no such spike.

Part of the problem: consumers want the cheapest prices, then complain when they find the product is of inferior quality. 

How would you educate shoppers about counterfeit items, and do you think sites like Amazon are doing enough to quell the problem?




Comments (8) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 26 05:58:02 2016

Knock offs and counterfits are found everywhere. They are not just an Ebay or Amazon thing.

Ask your local police or FBI or read the newspapers. Hard to believe that knock offs are just a ebay amazon thing.

Get over it. The chinese junk is here to stay. Blame the current leaders in Washington for it.

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 26 07:22:06 2016

there should be a good and better way to put a watermark or hologram or something like it on products, esp. artwork.  as for cloth materials I don't know how you can protect against a knockoff.  Even Zara and H&M do knockoff designs.

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Thu May 26 07:55:40 2016

Pretty sure you can place some of the blame on the consumer & the economy for the situation as well.

I don't think consumers are confused & really believe they are getting an authentic $40-$60 artisan t-shirt for $9.99.  They want a t-shirt and are willing to spend $9.99. Period. When some whine and dislike the quality and try and blame others for their decisions, well, they must be Amazon or eBay buyers and now they get the t-shirt for free and all it cost them was the time to whine.  They are Happy.

IMO, the economy is the driving force for the success of cheap knock-offs.  I just read an article (http://tinyurl.com/hn3p2ja) that had some sad statistics on young people's financial situation, for instance ''...young men have gone from 84% employment in the year 1960 to just 71% employment in the year 2014. While compensation for young, male workers has ''been on a downward trajectory since 1970 and fell significantly from 2000 to 2010.'' - derived from the Pew Research Center Report (link is in that article).

Between Amazon & others shoving China Sellers down our throats and not making a serious effort to pursue Counterfeiters and get them off of their site and Consumers who are economically challenged and the Artisans inability or lack of means to protect their work - we get this hot mess.

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Thu May 26 08:04:52 2016

Not to say that all the counterfeiters are Chinese...U.S. has some too...but it seems that everything is in place for the Chinese to be successful at quickly being able to get the merchandise copied and distributed.

Amazon, eBay, USPS and our gov't agencies that greased the way for subsidized one-way International shipping bear all the responsibility for China's ability to distribute the forgeries & counterfeits so quickly.

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

by: zenbreeze This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 26 08:22:37 2016

And don't forget all the counterfeiters within Amazon.  We were told, when Handmade at Amazon started, that it was safe from counterfeiters.  Since Amazon opened the flood gates to Chinese sellers earlier this year, they've been feasting on my art.  Amazon brought them in and, as far as they're concerned, they can steal our art with no consequences, since they're in another country and Amazon takes little action.  

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 26 10:22:10 2016

Its not just artisan stuff - eBay and Amazon both have plenty of counterfeiters in electronics as well.

Its MUCH more common on eBay then Amazon, but crafty thieves have (in the past 2-3 yrs) figured out a way to get Amazon in on it too.

They simply send in fakes and have Amazon comingle the inventories together. That way Amazon takes the hit - with each seller stating - those fakes arent mine!

I get it in electronics all the time. Companies like Beats are FILLED with it. Noel Lee (head of Monster)(who owned Beats before it was sold to Apple) said once (at CES) that AT LEAST 1/2 of all Beats headphones sold online through non authorized channels are fake ... and that just a "guesstimate" the real number could be higher!

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Thu May 26 12:33:45 2016

@IDKwhoIar is an example of just how easily this can be solved in SOME instances.

It may take some work to identify fake electronics, or even a Rolex.  We won't ever get rid of the entire problem.  This was an issue with Antique Glassware WAY back in the 1960's.  (Now it's everything antique)

But an artisan like IDK, who can point to her own work, in a shop on Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy, and NOT get the other seller taken down within 24 hours just shows how these companies only take VERO claims from big companies seriously.

Really, this is easy in some cases.  They have NO EXCUSE.  I've had my own listings stolen & put on Amazon.  No one will listen.  Yah, you can show a used boat in your back yard, with the Newark NJ water tower in the background, but these sites won't take down a fake in Podunk, Asia, with  the same picture of the same boat.  No excuse for that not being fixed instantly.

All these companies make plenty of money.  Amazon just went to 15%!  They can provide a little customer service.  This is just like a decade ago when Ebay would NOT punish sellers with .01 pricing, and 100.00 shipping.  That whole problem could have been solved and STOPPED.  Same thing here.  ALL they have to do is set some precedents, and toss some sellers.

For cripes sake!!!!!!!  Look at what they'll do to a little guy that gets a strike for something stolen off a porch.

The whole thing really pi**es me off, but I feel especially bad for artists, that actually created original works............

TS Rolex.......

Sorry IDK.

Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters   Artisans Tell CNBC Amazon Is a Haven for Counterfeiters

by: cb23 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 26 19:51:35 2016

I bought a pillow and was really disappointed. It took nearly a month to reach me from China and the quality was sub-par. I went to Google to see where else I could find it and was led to Society6. So I ordered from there and I can tell you the Amazon cover does not compare. I've started warning others about these counterfeiters in Amazon's marketplace, see the video link below. I used to trust Amazon for my purchases but am finding myself shop elsewhere. They do little to keep the counterfeiters  from selling and then little is done to stop it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pj5VgRG5eg&google_comment_id=
z13yv3yrsxfzxdura04chzqyxli0yjnzsgs&google_view_type#gpluscomments



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