Amazon began allowing the owners of brands to delete listings for fake products that serve up on its site in an effort to stop the spread of counterfeit goods. The better news, for brands, is that if a listing or offer is taken down, the associated ad would come down as well.
In my years as a journalist -- and as ecommerce continues to head past $4 trillion by 2020, per Statista -- I have increasingly heard stories not only of counterfeit products, but counterfeit advertisements that lead to the shipment of nothing, such as the story told by the driver in Park City, Utah who picked me up from the airport and dropped me off at the MediaPost Search Insider Summit last December.
The driver clicked on an ad for a product sold on Amazon, paid his money at the checkout, and never received the product. It was a third-party company that sold the well-known unnamed snow-season brand.
Project Zero aims to protect brands from scammers by allowing them to tag listings and remove the listings themselves, rather than go through a process that may take days, even weeks.
Previously, per Amazon, brands would need to report a counterfeit product, and then Amazon would investigate the reports and take action.
The data also feeds into Amazon’s platform so the company can better catch potential counterfeit listings proactively in the future.
Similar to radio frequency identification tags or barcodes, Amazon now uses a product serialization code that generates a unique code for every product. This code allows its warehouse to individually scan and confirm the authenticity of every products purchased in Amazon’s stores.
As the company’s engineer work to improve the process through machine learning and algorithms, the codes aim to stop every individual counterfeited product before it reaches a customer.
For now, the program is invite only, but there’s no doubt they will soon expand Project Zero.