To keep the company not only afloat, but also to move it forward to new successes and achievements, you need to fight. Business is a fight. Daily, routine, and never-ending. The same for Amazon. But what kind of a fight is Amazon taking every single day to protect their customer’s experience?
The fight against fraud. The rise of counterfeit goods on online marketplaces affects the brands in the first place, the customers for receiving negative experience and of course Amazon as a reputable marketplace platform, where customers can (should) shop with confidence.
Today we would like to talk about two important current events that Amazon has recently announced. The first one concerns new Amazon sellers. The other – directly brands, who wish to fight counterfeits most probably even more than Amazon.
Video-Conferences with New Amazon Sellers
At Amazon Sellers Attorney we receive almost every single day a request to help verify the account, which was suspended by Amazon AI for not providing sufficient documents. This happens because for many sellers even providing a utility bill is a big issue. And still, so many fraudulent sellers successfully verify their accounts and proceed to selling. To stop this, Amazon has decided to use another tool to verify the seller’s identity – a video conference with an Amazon representative.
This will be only one of the several usual steps to verify the account, along with filling out the obligatory information in Seller Central and submitting the necessary documentation. During a call, an Amazon representative will be able to verify the new seller’s personality and provide information about the verification process, point to what can be improved for successful resolution, before Amazon lets this seller go online.
This new system will make it harder for a fraudulent seller to hide and many most probably won’t even attend such a meeting. The most successful marketplace in the world is making it hard for incompetent sellers to join the platform. But for the sellers who ready to play by the rules and ready to prove their reliability, it’s not going to be a problem at all.
Project Zero has been designed to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to protect brands who are tired of finding counterfeits of their products from other sellers.
It seems impossible to defeat the hundreds of thousands of different companies engaged in the production and supply of counterfeit goods. Some companies hire professional appraisers, pay them good money, and provide them with equipment – all to ensure that there are no fakes on the site. It takes them from ten minutes to half an hour for each check. Amazon simply doesn’t have that much time, although they are eager to do everything possible to ensure that the terms of providing their products on the site are reliable and secure for brands.
“Project Zero” is open to any brand enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry (with a government-registered trademark), and aims to drive counterfeit sales to zero; hence its name. This is the formidable goal and, a brand using this program allows Amazon to control the appearance of new, never-to-be-trusted sellers on the platform and blocking them even before they make a single sale.
The only additional requirement for a brand to join this program is to have submitted reports of potential infringements with an acceptance rate of at least 90% in the last six months. Without it, the machine won’t be able to scan the listings and prevent similar listings from appearing on the platform.
To join, a Brand will have to provide Amazon with their logos, trademarks, and other key data about their brand and products. The brands know their product better than anybody else and fighting fakes, they have to devote so much time to it.
What’s new now: a special new algorithm with machine learning will help a brand identify potential fakes, which gradually distinguishes the fake product more accurately, taking into account which listings a brand has blocked before.
The existing process consists of a brand finding a counterfeit product filing an infringement report, which was then reviewed by Amazon, and only then would the action be taken. But what if someone has already bought the item? Negative feedback, refunds… Now the position is slightly different: To become proactive, instead of reactive, before a brand would have to react on an already listed fake item, the item would be removed and the seller’s account deactivated before the sale takes place.
At this moment Project Zero is available to eligible brands in the U.S., UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, India, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
But since we are talking about Project Zero, we have to mention another optional service - product serialization.
This service will allow Amazon to confirm the authenticity of every single branded item purchased on the platform. Serialization provides a unique code combination for each manufactured item, marked on products during the manufacturing process. When a customer makes an order, Amazon scans this code and verifies, whether the purchased item is authentic or not. If it’s not, Amazon blocks this purchase before it reaches the customer.
Product serialization is currently available in the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, UK, India, Australia, and Japan.
And while Project Zero enrollment itself is free, brands that use the product serialization service will incur a cost between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, based on volume, Amazon notes.
As usual, the effect of using these new sophisticated tools will not be known for a while, and, in our experience, we can expect to see Amazon’s artificial intelligence blaming innocent sellers for items that are not counterfeit.
Amazon Sellers Attorney, Ltd.
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Inauthentic Item Suspensions
Multiple/ Related Account Suspensions
Amazon Verification Suspensions
Forged or Manipulated Documentation
Defending Buyer Complaints
Plan to Prevent Suspension
Intellectual Property (IP) Law
Fraud or Illegal Activity
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