Amazon has launched a new program to tackle one of its biggest criticisms

Getty/JOHANNES EISELEAmazon’s new tool is targeted at stopping counterfeits.
  • Amazon announced Project Zero on Thursday, a new suite of tools for brands to combat counterfeits on the website.
  • It involves three new ways for brands to stop fakes on Amazon: using machine learning, a way for brands to remove counterfeits from Amazon directly, and a way to serialize products to prevent counterfeiting.
  • Counterfeits have dogged Amazon for as many years as it has had a marketplace platform, and these new tools mark Amazon’s most direct move to target it so far.

Amazon is taking counterfeits on its marketplace platform more seriously.

The company announced Project Zero on Thursday, a new suite of tools for brands to combat counterfeits on the website. The name implies the goal of the project is to get the number of counterfeits on the site to zero.

“Our aim is that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon,” Dharmesh M. Mehta, Amazon’s VP of consumer trust, said in a statement. “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.”

The number is currently more than zero, but how pervasive the problem actually is unknown.

The new project is launching with three separate tools: automatic protections, self-service counterfeit removal, and a way to serialize goods.

Automatic protections uses machine learning to identify suspected counterfeits on Amazon removing them before they can cause harm.

“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,” Amazon said in the blog post announcing the new tool. “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 lets brands immediately remove a counterfeit listing they find.

“Previously, brands would need to report a counterfeit to Amazon, and we would then investigate these reports and take action,” Amazon says. “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.”

Finally, product serialization ensures fake goods never reach the customer.

“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,” Amazon says. “Every time a product using our serialization service is ordered in Amazon’s stores, we scan and verify the authenticity of the purchase”

The tools are only available for brands registered with Amazon’s brand registry, and are free to use apart from serialization, which will cost between $US.01 and $US.05 a unit.

The program currently invites only, but interested brands can join a waitlist.

Counterfeits have dogged Amazon for years, as its marketplace grows larger and harder to police, and large brands have accused Amazon of not doing enough to combat the problem.


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Counterfeits are not a problem unique to Amazon, however, as all websites that have a similar functioning marketplaces are vulnerable to falling to counterfeits. Amazon’s sheer scale, however, makes Amazon’s new tools valuable for combating counterfeits across the internet.

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