Last week, Amazon announced a new initiative in line with its goal of reducing persistent counterfeiting issues. The program is called Project Zero, and it grants brands more direct control over their listings. This includes the ability for approved brands to flag and remove counterfeit listings on their own.
This program signals a shift in current Amazon policy when it comes to reporting and managing fake and dubious products. The existing process allows brands to make a claim through a reporting system, which Amazon investigates and evaluates as part of a take-down process.
A self-service tool
With Project Zero, Amazon hopes to automate and improve the process.
“We are providing brands with an unprecedented level of responsibility, and we are willing to do so because we believe that the combined strengths of Amazon and brands can drive counterfeits to zero. Brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges,” according to the program’s FAQ.
To develop this program, Amazon has relied on machine learning expertise and automated protections. “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. We’ve been testing these automated protections with a number of brands, and 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,” Amazon noted in their Day One blog at launch.
Who can participate?
Brands likely to see the most success with Project Zero are those who serialize their products during the manufacturing process. Serialization involves giving each product a unique identifier. This allows Amazon to verify authenticity and detect counterfeiting before the products are even shipped to customers. Serialized listings are not a requirement for joining the program. But brands should think about how much control they currently have over their brand, and if they are proactively protecting their brand.
It is free to join Project Zero and get access to superior and more automated protections for your brand. However, this is currently an invite-only program with a wait list. It is also only open to brands with a government-registered trademark who have already enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry. At this time, it is also only available to brands in the United States.
How to join
There are many brands dealing with counterfeiting and “fakes” on the Amazon marketplace. Brands interested in joining Project Zero can explore the FAQs and join the wait list on Amazon’s Project Zero page. You can also learn more, including how some brands feel about the program, via Amazon’s Day One announcement blog.