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Home / Tips and Tricks / What does Amazon's "Project Nero" Anti-Counterfeiting Plan mean to you?

What does Amazon's "Project Nero" Anti-Counterfeiting Plan mean to you?

  Amazon Project Zero Logo

Amazon Project Zero is the company's first real attempt to remove all counterfeit listings from the Amazon marketplace. But how does Project Zero work, and how will it affect customers like you?

Wait, there are fakes on Amazon?

It sounds weird, but there is a huge counterfeit market on Amazon. And if you realize it or not, there is a chance that you have ever bought a fake product through the dealer.

Amazon, unlike stores like Target and Best Buy, is heavily dependent on third party vendors for product information and compliance. These sellers are not affiliated with the brands they sell, but according to Jeff Bezos, their listings make up half of the goods sold on Amazon.

Many of your Amazon purchases have probably come from third-party vendors, whether you are "you understand it or not. Instead of sharing each seller in their product page (like eBay), Amazon compiles all listings on one A list of an Apple Lighting Cable, for example, can be met by dozens of different vendors, including Apple.You can check whether a product comes from Amazon or a third-party vendor on the product page.

With this system, Amazon can hold The prices are low, and it is a backbone of Amazon's super-hairy follow-up system, but, as you can imagine, it allows a lot of scams and counterfeiters to piggyback on genuine product listings. The review process on Amazon is surprisingly slow, and it is almost entirely based on the user's feedback. sometimes take scams by banning "suspected" users.

As a result, there are many fake products on Amazon. In the counterfeit report, it is estimated that 1

3% of the products sold on Amazon are false. To put things in perspective, Amazon sold about 5 billion products in 2014.

This counterfeit problem is harmful to customers, popular brands and Amazon. Some consumers will not trade on Amazon due to fakes, and some brands refuse to list their products entirely on the site. Last year, an agreement between Amazon and Swatch Group (a Swedish clock conglomerate) fell due to fakes. Nick Hayek, Swatch Group CEO, argued that the Chinese company Alibaba has better anti-counterfeit measures than Amazon. Ouch. The Swatch group has reluctantly turned around, but only sells a selected series of watches on Amazon.

You can't buy everything on Amazon

You can buy almost anything on the Amazon besides luxury clothes and clothing. Branded clothes, watches, handbags, perfumes, hats and sunglasses have a notoriously fake market. Because Amazon relies on third-party sellers, luxury brands are reluctant to list their products on the site.

Amazon has been trying to reverse things in recent years. The company managed to meet small businesses with many exclusive brands, such as Disney, Hugo Boss and Nike. In exchange for some smaller listings, such as perfumes and overstock shirts, Amazon will police (or prevent) third-party sellers from selling goods listed or associated with that trademark.

  A man pressing his watch in the ear
Minerva Studio / Shutterstock

That's why the lists of specific brands, like Nike, are incredibly narrow on Amazon. They are boring, old or overstocked, with many sold out sizes and colors. This is also the reason why the Hugo Boss Amazon page is full of Cologne, regular polos and out-of-place guitar pedals instead of the luxurious costumes associated with the Boss brand.

Here are some brands that are slim or not

  • Fike: A narrow selection of clothes and shoes and an odd focus on work clothes.
  • Nike: Plain clothing, shoes and covers.
  • Hugo Boss: Perfumes and regular shirts.
  • Bape: Slim pickings, but you can find lots of blatant knockoffs on Amazon.
  • Disney: A great collection that feels mysteriously dated and underpriced compared to the Disney site.
  • North Face: A thin selection of
  • Rolex: Most pre-owned and discounted watches.
  • Versace: A limited selection of watches and cologne.
  • Chanel: A good selection of perfumes, but only pre-owned handbags. 19659020] Swatch Group (Omega, Longines, Blancpain) – only sells selected watches on Amazon Stern
  • Sumo Lounge: Non-existent.
  • Louis Vitton: A book written by Louis Vitton.
  • Supreme: Non-existent. 19659033] If Amazon can guarantee counterfeiters is not a problem, then the brands have an incentive to list more of their products on Amazon. But this system is clearly wrong. Most of these brands only use Amazon as a cheap department store. And while there are probably some arguments that favor this system (brands seem less exclusive if they sell on Amazon), most consumers would probably want to buy Nike shoes and luxury watches with the convenience of Amazon.

    Amazon's Project Zero Could Stop Counterfeiters

    After a mess in the February trial, Amazon finally acknowledged its fake problem in a report to the SEC. But the company stated in this report that "due to" rapid growth "it can" be unable "to completely prevent sellers from falsifying goods on the Amazon market.

    It is obvious that counterfeit goods are bad for consumers, and is bad for the Amazon brand, but if Amazon decides to strengthen its own counterfeit action, the company must hire thousands of new employees, pay for universal product serialization, and place restrictions on third-party vendors making up half of all Amazon sales, even Amazon recognizes that these aggressive measures can "negatively affect the operating result." The counterfeit solution is called Project Zero, and it should contribute l To alleviate Amazon's counterfeit problems

    How does Project Zero work?

    Project Zero provides reliable brands with the ability to manually delete counterfeit listings. In addition, trademarks enrolled in Project Networks can choose advanced product serialization and the ability to train Amazon Warehouse employees some counterfeiting techniques.

    Registration in Project Zero is free, and all companies that are enrolled in Project Zero have administrative privileges. These privileges essentially allow trademarks to bypass Amazon's slower reporting system. Instead of reporting a counterfeit listing to Amazon, trademarks registered in Project Zero can immediately remove the listing and arrange repayments for deleted buyers. Don't worry – Amazon claims that these moves are reviewed after the fact that you are assuring that the system is not being abused.

      A knockoff Nike shirt. it says
    StreetVJ / Shutterstock

    Brands registered in Project Zero also have the opportunity to serialize all their products. Right now, Amazon is almost entirely dependent on basic, easy-to-use serial numbers to identify products. The project zero serial numbers will only be used in the Amazon store, and they may be different for each individual item.

    According to Amazon, "brands that choose to use the serialization service cost a cost between $ 0.01 and $ 0.05 per unit, based on volume." So some brands will stop paying an extra $ 50 for every 1000 units they sells on Amazon. But hey, you can't fight fake products for free.

    If it sounds like Amazon puts responsibility on brands, that's exactly what happens. It may not be the best anti-counterfeit solution, but it is promising. Brands like Apple are now better equipped to take fake cables and devices off the Amazon marketplace, and brands that have historically run around the Amazon marketplace now have an incentive to enter.

    Some brands are skeptical of Project Zero, but they want it to succeed

    It is surprising that some people are skeptical of Project Zero. It is a delayed forgery, and it is difficult to know exactly how well it will work. But it is important to note that brands are critical of Project Zero because they want it to succeed, not because they want it to fail.

    Remember Swatch Group, the company whose CEO said Alibaba has better measures against counterfeiting than Amazon? We asked the company for a comment on Project Zero, and I ended up with a completely skeptical and largely optimistic response.

    Swatch Group told me "there is a big difference between announcing Project Zero Initiative and really making it happen." In addition to this surprisingly sincere answer, Swatch Group also told us that it is "optimistic that Amazon will do progress "and that the two companies will" continue discussions "in the future.

    Kevin Williams, CEO of RGK Innovations a similarly optimistic but still skeptical statement in an interview with Inc., Williams says he, while loving the idea of ​​Project Zero, is concerned that it will "get a boat solution of unforeseen consequences ".

    How can I check if a company participates in Project Zero?

    You probably don't want to buy any knock-off products. It is a fair assumption. So it would be nice to know which brands are participating in Project Zero, right? Strangely enough, it is difficult to find trademarks that are registered in the program.

    Right now, Amazon Project Zero sends invitations to high-profile brands, and smaller brands can sign up for a Project Zero waiting list. Since Amazon is trying to court luxurious and exclusive brands, we can assume that companies like Nike and North Face have received invitations. Usually counterfeit electronics brands like Apple and Sandisk have probably received invitations as well, but there is no way to safely know. We can also assume that Swatch Group is involved in Project Zero, based on our correspondence with the company.

      An Amazon box on a table

    Some brands, like Kenu, have already promised Amazon for their Project Zero initiative. So if you want an authentic Kenu product, now is your chance. And the Project Zero website contains testimonials from companies like Vera Bradley, Thunderworks and Chom Chom Roller … Yes, I haven't heard of them either.

    Of course, we asked Amazon if there are plans to create a comprehensive Project Zero enrollment list in the future. The company told us that, although Amazon does not "comment or speculate in the future", our idea will be forwarded to the "team". Hopefully the "team" listens to our proposal.

    Meanwhile, you can refer to a "restrictions" list that is curated by the sales family. This list describes some of the brands that restrict third-party lists on Amazon. The brands on this list are concerned about counterfeit products and they can jump on the Project Zero program in the future.

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