Amazon on Thursday announced Project Zero, a program powered by Amazon’s machine learning featuring automated protections that scan its stores and removes suspected counterfeits.
Brands provide key data points about themselves (e.g., trademarks, logos, etc.) and Amazon scans over 5 billion daily listing update attempts, looking for suspected counterfeits.
Brands will no longer need to contact Amazon to remove counterfeit listings from its stores. Instead, they have the ability to do so themselves using a new self-service tool. Amazon also uses this data to strengthen its automated protections to better catch potential counterfeit listings proactively in the future.
Brands apply a unique code on every unit they manufacture for an enrolled product, allowing Amazon to scan and confirm the authenticity of every one of those products purchased in Amazon’s stores. With this service, Amazon can detect and stop counterfeiting for every product unit before it reaches a customer.
On the rother had, there is a risk. Amazon's new system could be used by brands with tightly controlled sales channels to block resellers with legitimate products on the secondary market.
In addition, counterfeits are not Amazon's biggest third-party seller problem. That problem is unauthorized sellers that sell their products below the brand's minimum advertised price, and often sell used or damaged goods as "New" instead of "Used" or "Refurbished."
Project Zero currently is an invite-only program. Amazon initially has invited a selection of merchants to kick off the anti-counterfeiting program. Interested merchants can join a waiting list to be invited to participate sometime in the future.
To enroll in Project Zero, vendors need to have a government-registered trademark and to have enrolled their brand(s) in Amazon Brand Registry.
Project Zero is not going to solve the problem 100 percent of the time, but it will make it a lot harder for the counterfeiter who has multiple hammers crashing down every time he pops up.