Brands will be able to directly flag and remove counterfeit listings of their products from Amazon.com.
Counterfeiting has become increasingly prevalent on Amazon’s websites as third-party sellers have become more important to its business. In Q4 2018, they accounted for 52% of units sold, bringing in $13.38b during the quarter. Amazon.com has announced a new initiative called Project Zero, with the goal of eliminating counterfeit products from the site.
Project Zero builds upon the Brand Registry, for registering logos and trademarks to facilitate detection of infringement, introduced in 2017. Previously, companies who spotted fake versions of their products would have to submit a request to Amazon, which would evaluate the claim and remove it. Now, companies that are part of Project Zero will have the power to remove products themselves, marking a huge shift in how the company has managed this process.
Project Zero is an invitation-only programme, so only Amazon’s chosen brands will be allowed to join and remove listings. Amazon says that it’s granting brands the power because it believes that “the combined strengths of Amazon and brands can drive counterfeits to zero,” but also notes that “brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges.” The company will also be requiring Project Zero users to undergo required training, and says that it will be actively monitoring to prevent abuses.
Amazon is also rolling out two other components of Project Zero. An enhanced automated protection system allows companies to provide Amazon with their logos, trademarks and other information about their brand, which is then used to scan listings and remove fake products. Additionally, companies can put a unique, Amazon serial code on their products during manufacturing that will then allow Amazon to scan and confirm that a given product is authentic. This serialization service will cost between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, depending on volume.
Although parts of the service are free, Amazon said sellers that opt to use the paid-for serialisation approach “see the best results”, so Project Zero will also be a way for Amazon to earn revenue.
Amazon VP Dharmesh Mehta said: “We’re excited to announce Project Zero, a new programme 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.”
Interested brands can join a waiting list on the Amazon.com website.