How Amazon Project Zero Helps Brands Fight Fake Products
Over 13% of the products sold on Amazon are counterfeit, according to The Counterfeit Report. With over 353 million products on the platform, that’s a staggering amount of fakes. To combat the issue, Amazon announced in late February that they are rolling out a new anti-counterfeit initiative called Project Zero meant to empower brands with tools to fight the fakes.
What is Project Zero?
From faulty headphones to imitative sneakers, counterfeit products create negative outcomes for both brands and consumers. And yet, removing the fakes from Amazon is a tumultuous process, often requiring brands to order suspected counterfeit items and prove their illegitimacy before filing for their removal. Even when successful, the removal often occurs after the damage has been done. That’s where Amazon’s new Project Zero comes in. Rather than enduring this lengthy process, brands who have been cleared to participate in the program will be empowered with tools to take action. Amazon will offer up its advanced technology and machine learning capabilities while counting on brands to use their intellectual property and industry knowledge to proactively thwart counterfeit attempts. By combining a brand-led approach with their advanced tech expertise, Amazon hopes “to move quickly and at scale to drive counterfeits to zero.”
The Project Zero initiative features three innovative tools: self-service counterfeit removal, automated protections, and product serialization.
1. Self-Service Counterfeit Removal
Through Project Zero, Amazon will allow approved brands to remove counterfeit products from the platform instantly. With unprecedented autonomy to protect their products and consumers, brands who notice imitative products will no longer be limited in action. Since brands are often the first to spot suspicious activity, false products can be caught before they end up in the hands of thousands of unsuspecting consumers.
To ensure that the tool is used properly, Amazon will review all removed listings after the fact. Amazon will also collect the data on counterfeit listings and feed it into their second new tool: an AI-powered automated protection for brands.
2. Automated Protections
With their machine learning expertise, Amazon developed a tool that operates behind-the-scenes to locate and remove counterfeit products from storefronts. Brands provide Amazon with logos, trademarks, and other data with which the technology actively scans the 5 billion daily product listing updates for activity that is traditionally linked to counterfeit products.
After testing with select brands, Amazon reported that their technology has been shown to detect and remove 100 times more counterfeited products from the platform on average than current brand-led reporting.
3. Product Serialization
For brands looking to take protective measures a step further, Amazon will be offering product serialization. The measure calls on brands to attach designated serial codes to products during manufacturing which Amazon will then scan before shipping to ensure product authenticity.
While the self-service and automated protections of Project Zero are at no cost to the brand, product serialization does carry a price between one and five cents per item. As long as implementation is carried out effectively, brands can all but guarantee that counterfeit products will never find their way into the hands of their consumers.
Who Can Participate?
Currently, Project Zero is an invite-only program available to brands within the United States. Amazon has stated that they intend to enroll brands as quickly as they can while also offering a personalized, targeted, and high-quality experience. If your brand is not yet enrolled, you can work with our team to join the wait list.
In the meantime, brands can take a few steps to prepare for Project Zero. First, brands should ensure that they have government-registered trademarks (a prerequisite for the new initiative). Second, brands should enroll in Amazon Brand Registry, a program that allows those who own their brand to take more control over how it appears on the Amazon platform. If you would like to join Brand Registry, our agency can help.
Whether through serialization of products or proactive monitoring, brands who enroll in Project Zero will have more to work with in the fight against fake products. With a dual approach that combines the strengths of brands and Amazon alike, bringing counterfeits to zero has become a real possibility.