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Amazon launches new program to reduce counterfeit listings

‘Project Zero’ enables invited brands to remove fake listings themselves

Photo (c) jahcottontail143 - Getty Images
Amazon has launched a program designed to combat the surge in counterfeit products on the site by allowing brands to flag and remove counterfeit listings of their products from the platform on their own.

The e-commerce giant said its new program relies on machine learning technology to offer what it calls “automated protections.” The company says the technology scans listings and will automatically remove products that it determines are counterfeit.

Brands that are invited to participate in the program can remove listings off the site as well.

“With Project Zero, brands no longer need to contact us to remove a counterfeit listing,” Amazon said in a statement. “Instead, they can do so, quickly and easily, using our new self-service tool.”

Amazon said it will be monitoring this “self-service” ability closely.

"Brands must maintain a high bar of accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges," Amazon notes in its FAQ section about the service. "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."

Working towards the goal of zero counterfeits

Due to the sheer size of Amazon’s marketplace, the company has had a hard time contending with the issue of counterfeit products on its site. Amazon has been taking steps to drive down counterfeit sales for the past several years.

The company’s latest counterfeit-spotting initiative has already been tested by a number of brands, including Vera Bradley, Thunderworks (a maker of pet calming solutions), Kenu, and Chom Chom Roller.

Under the Project Zero program, Amazon said it was able to stop 100 times more suspected counterfeit products than what it’s usually able to take down in response to brands’ reports.

“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 and administrator officer at Vera Bradley.

“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 U.S. Marketplace and consider this to be an insurance policy,” said Ken Minn, CEO, Kenu.

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