Amazon on Thursday announced Project Zero, a series of measures designed to keep counterfeit products off its marketplace and protect sellers of authentic products, according to an Amazon blog post.
The capabilities include automated protections, described as a machine learning-based tool that scans Amazon stores and removes suspected counterfeits, and a self-service counterfeit removal tool that allows brand partners to remove false product listings themselves, according to the post.
A product serialization service is leveraged during the purchasing process, as Amazon scans ordered products for authentication codes that have been placed on items during manufacturing by official marketplace partners.
As online marketplaces have thrived, counterfeit product sales have continued to be a major problem, even for the biggest names in e-commerce, like Amazon and Alibaba. While marketplace hosts have condemned counterfeit activity and have tried to develop protective measures, the challenge only seemed to grow, along with criticism that Amazon and others weren't doing enough to fight what has been anticipated to grow into a $1 trillion problem by next year. Additionally, like any tools that leverage machine learning, the automated scanning capability should only become more effective over time.
Project Zero could change that perception and could potentially have a real impact on reducing counterfeit product listings and sales. It will also place more power in the hands of sellers, allowing them to take action rather than wait for Amazon to act after they have reported a suspected counterfeit.
Brands such as Vera Bradley, Thunderworks, Kenu and others already are using Project Zero tools to deter counterfeit sales activity affecting their brands, and they appear to be thrilled with it.
"Every unit we sell through Amazon has a unique, serialized barcode, and our counterfeit problem has nearly disappeared in the United States," Phil Blizzard, CEO of Thunderworks, said in a statement about the initiative.
Project Zero currently is invitation-only, but sellers can be added to a waitlist for enrollment.