IT'S NO SECRET that Amazon has some problems with third-party sellers. While it would be easy enough for the company to shrug and claim that they can't be held responsible for others' actions, many people don't know the difference between sellers, and will just chalk it up to a bad experience with Amazon, the product or both.
That's why the company has pretty generous returns policies, and presumably why it's now introducing Project Zero: a scheme where big brands can unilaterally take down dodgy site listings like a consumer vigilante. The company believes that "the combined strengths of Amazon and brands can drive counterfeits to zero," hence the name.
That's right: brands that sign up to the scheme can just delete Amazon listings as easily as we'd delete a piece of junk mail. If that sounds alarming to you, Amazon has some safeguards in place. Firstly, it's invite-only, so it'll likely only be open to trusted brands of a certain status.
And even then, they have to be on best behaviour with Amazon insisting on training and stating that "brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges." So you won't find Samsung deleting all iPhone listings for a giggle. Or if you do, they won't be giggling long.
There are two other parts to Project Zero. Firstly, Amazon is introducing an automated protection system where partners provide them with logos, trademarks and other information, which Amazon will then use to spot fake products as they appear.
Finally, there's an optional third part: a product serialisation service. This is opt-in because it'll cost money - between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit - but could provide valuable peace of mind for larger brands. Essentially, Amazon would provide serial codes for products during manufacturing which would then be scanned when a product leaves the warehouse. If it's not there, then the product would be deemed a fake, and scrapped.
We're a touch sceptical that these moves can drag counterfeits down to zero, but for Amazon and brands alike, any kind of reduction would be extremely welcome. µ
They're kind of cute though
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