Counterfeit products are one of the greatest challenges when it comes to protecting your brand on Amazon — and the retail giant has just stepped up the fight against counterfeit listings with the launch of its new self-service program for brands named Amazon Project Zero.
Here’s a look at how Amazon Project Zero works, what it means for Amazon sellers, and how you can begin using the program to protect your brand from counterfeit products on the Marketplace.
“We’re excited about the prospect of brands having more power to combat counterfeit products on Amazon with a self-service tool. It’s important to note that this program is specifically intended to remove counterfeit products from the marketplace.”
-Pat Petriello, Head of Marketplace Strategy at CPC Strategy
What is Amazon Project Zero?
Amazon Project Zero is a self-service counterfeit removal tool for brands that sell on Amazon’s Marketplace.
The program was first announced in February to much fanfare, following multiple lawsuits in which some brands have demanded that the ecommerce giant do more to prevent counterfeit products from being sold on the Marketplace.
Touted as a solution to the many counterfeit products being sold on the platform, Project Zero enables brands to remove counterfeit listings without ever having to contact Amazon.
How Amazon Project Zero Works
Amazon Project Zero uses a combination of product data, machine learning, and serialization to scan the Marketplace for potential counterfeits and remove them preemptively.
- Automated Protections: Using Amazon’s machine learning and product data provided by your brand, automated protections can scan 5 billion daily listing updates to detect and remove suspected counterfeit products.
- Self-service Counterfeit Removal: Amazon’s Automated Protections System means that brands can now remove flagged counterfeit listings without having to contact Amazon.
- Product Serialization: Brands can attach a unique code to each product, which lets Amazon scan and confirm that it’s unique. This feature will also feed data into their Automated Protections System.
Project Zero is an Important Step for Marketplace Brand Protection
Counterfeit items continue to be a major challenge for protecting brand equity. Counterfeits are typically sold by third-party vendors, some of which are even fulfilled by Amazon.
Prior to launching Amazon Project Zero, there has been little that brands could do to fight counterfeiters on the Marketplace.
In the past this has led to several large brands, like Birkenstock, pulling out of the Marketplace altogether.
The bottom line is that Project Zero is an important step in the ongoing fight against counterfeit goods and a sign that Amazon may start granting businesses more autonomy with their Amazon Stores.
However, be aware that all of this is contingent on Project Zero working smoothly, and not all business owners are sold on the idea just yet.
“The term ‘counterfeit’ is often co-opted and misused as catch-all for all components of brand protection including unauthorized resellers, MAP violations, copyright infringements, etc. Of the total brand protection pie, a very small portion of what we actually encounter is actually counterfeit.”
“Counterfeiting is when a knock-off product is intentionally made to imitate an authentic product and defraud buyers,” explains Petriello.
“If somebody tries to imitate the Nike swoosh and pass them off as an authentic Nike product, that is counterfeit. If a shoe seller is winning the buy box because they are selling authentic Nikes for a lower price, that is not counterfeit.”
Project Zero Eligibility and Next Steps
Amazon Project Zero is only available on an invite-only basis while the program is still being tested.
Brands must also:
- Have a government registered-trademark
- Be enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry
However, the plan is to eventually make it available to all certified brands, so it’s worth it to keep an eye out for developments in the upcoming months.
With that being said, you can apply to be added to the waitlist, but Amazon isn’t giving out any details on how long the wait might be.
What Does Project Zero Cost?
While it will be free to enroll in Amazon project Zero, if you want to use the product serialization feature, you can expect to pay between $0.01 – 0.05 per product, depending on your store volume.
While this may not seem like a lot, it can add up for stores with many low-cost, high-volume products.
To learn more about the program and eligibility requirements, you can check out Amazon’s Project Zero FAQ here.
Want to learn more about protecting your brand on Amazon?