Amazon’s Project Zero aims to eliminate counterfeit items from the marketplace by using automated tools and giving sellers the ability to remove counterfeits.
Sellers who are admitted into the service can now manually remove counterfeiters off listings with the click of a button.
In the past, sellers had to do test purchases and email Amazon with evidence in order to remove sellers who were peddling counterfeit items. This process could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, with some sellers seeing no action taken toward counterfeit sellers.
Meanwhile, sales would drop and negative feedback would build up, creating a vicious cycle that would ultimately result in a steep drop in sales.
Even after removal of the counterfeit listings, sellers would often have to deal with the consequences of any accumulated negative reviews.
What is Project Zero?
Project Zero uses three tools to help remove counterfeits from the marketplace.
- Machine learning and technology to automatically remove suspected counterfeits
- Seller self-service tool to remove counterfeit sellers
- Serialization to ship only authentic products
Using serial numbers isn’t required to take part in Project Zero, but sellers who opt into serialization will find it much easier to stop counterfeits before they reach customers.
With serialization, Amazon will scan products at the fulfillment center before shipping to customers. This ensures that only authentic products go out.
Note that there is a small per-unit cost for this service.
What does it take to join Project Zero?
Project Zero requires a trademark and brand registry. So far, the program is invite-only, but sellers can request to join the waitlist.
Sellers who meet the requirements and are dealing with numerous counterfeit sellers should consider at least joining the waitlist.
If accepted, the tools available to sellers will help minimize the loss of revenue and the damage to brand reputation and feedback caused by counterfeit sellers.
Is there a cost to join?
The service is free to enroll, and the tools are free to use. But sellers who opt for serialization will have to pay a small fee ranging from 1¢ to 5¢ per unit.
What are other considerations?
While sellers are given pretty broad discretion in identifying counterfeit sellers, that doesn’t mean that they can use the tool to indiscriminately mark all competitors as counterfeiters.
Sellers have to maintain a high accuracy metric, and they’re required to go through onboard training and ongoing monitoring in order to continue using the tools available to them through Project Zero.
Counterfeit sellers are a pervasive problem on Amazon. Left unchecked, they can irreparably damage an honest seller’s brand when customers inevitably complain about the quality of the product.
Newer sellers may never be able to recover from such an attack. When it comes to your Amazon seller account, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.
Consider enrolling in Project Zero or a service like Amazon Transparency today to help mitigate any issues you may have if counterfeiters target your brand.