Counterfeits have long been a thorn in the side of e-commerce, and it’s no secret that they have a huge impact on the industry’s bottom line.
In fact, counterfeits make up 3.3% of global trade, which is enough to show just how serious counterfeits are in e-commerce.
These illegal goods not only rob sellers of profits but also erode consumer trust in the authenticity of products.
Amazon has been actively fighting against counterfeiting since its inception. And its latest weapon in this fight is Project Zero, a program designed to help brands and sellers combat the sale of counterfeit goods on the platform.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Amazon Project Zero, including the cost of using the program and how it compares to other programs like Amazon Transparency.
Quick peek at the article:
- What is Amazon Project Zero?
- How does Amazon’s Anti-counterfeiting Policy work?
- How does Amazon Project Zero work?
- Automated protections
- Self-service counterfeit removal
- Product Serialization
- Eligibility criteria for Amazon Project Zero
- What is the cost of Project Zero membership?
- Limitations of Amazon Project Zero
- Amazon Project Zero vs. Transparency
- Final thoughts
What is Amazon Project Zero?
Amazon Project Zero (APZ) is an advanced program designed to combat online counterfeiting on the Amazon marketplace. It utilizes cutting-edge AI technology and brand insights to detect and remove counterfeits automatically from the Amazon listing.
Currently, Amazon Project Zero is available to eligible brands in 20 countries. These are
- The United States,
- United Kingdom,
- The United Arab Emirates,
- Saudi Arabia,
- Sweden, and
- The Netherlands.
Note: If the brand is enrolled in Project Zero in one country, it automatically enrolls in other countries as well!
According to Amazon, the program has already removed over 1.7 million suspected counterfeits and continues to protect over 5,000 brands from counterfeiters.
How does Amazon’s Anti-Counterfeiting Policy work?
Amazon has implemented strict policies to protect both its sellers and customers from counterfeit products.
Sellers who offer counterfeit goods face severe consequences, including immediate suspension of the seller’s account, disposal of any inauthentic products at the seller’s expense, and withholding of payments.
But what types of products are prohibited on Amazon?
Bootlegs, fakes, pirated copies, illegally reproduced or manufactured products, and products that infringe intellectual property rights are all banned from the platform.
Amazon’s efforts don’t stop there. The company also works closely with rights holders and law enforcement worldwide to take legal action against sellers and suppliers who knowingly violate the policy and harm customers.
How does Amazon Project Zero work?
Project Zero is made up of three powerful tools that work together to protect brands and customers from counterfeit products.
Amazon’s powerful ML algorithm constantly scans through 5 billion product listing updates every day to find and remove counterfeit listings in the automated protection tool.
It considers data provided by brands, such as logos, trademarks, and other key data points, to identify if the product listing is authentic.
Furthermore, Amazon said they tested the tool on various brands, and it accurately identified 100 times more suspected counterfeit products than what they had done manually based on reports from brands.
Self-Service counterfeit removal
In addition to automated protections, APZ also offers a self-service counterfeit removal tool that allows brands to directly remove suspected counterfeit products from the marketplace.
Instead of reporting to Amazon for counterfeiting and waiting for the Amazon investigation to end, brands can directly remove counterfeit product listings by themselves.
This information also further trains Amazon’s AI model to detect counterfeit listings and, in the end, make the entire process efficient.
This is the last tool of APZ. It allows sellers to add a unique serial number to each product as part of the manufacturing process. Every time a buyer orders a product, Amazon scans and verifies the authenticity of the product before shipping.
This provides an additional layer of protection for both brands and customers and helps to ensure the products customers receive are genuine.
These three components of Amazon Project Zero work in harmony to eliminate counterfeits from Amazon search results. The advanced technology behind this project is designed to continue evolving as more data is collected, making it increasingly accurate and effective.
Note: Remember that the product serialization service is currently available in the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, and Japan.
Eligibility criteria for Amazon Project Zero
Sellers must fulfill certain criteria to be eligible for Amazon project Zero. These criteria include:
- You must be the legal owner of the brand that is enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry with a government-registered trademark.
- You must have submitted reports of potential infringements with an acceptance rate of at least 90% in the last six months.
- You must have the ability to apply unique product codes to each unit you manufacture.
- You must have a valid Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) such as a UPC (North America) or EAN barcode.
- You must meet other specific requirements based on your country of origin.
- You must agree to the Amazon Project Zero Agreement.
Amazon also evaluates other factors to determine the eligibility of the brand.
How much does it cost to join Project Zero?
Joining Amazon Project Zero is absolutely free and grants you access to automated protections and self-service counterfeit removal tools. The only cost associated with the program is the product serialization feature, which is optional. The cost varies between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, based on the storage volume.
Limitations of Amazon Project Zero
Despite some obvious benefits, Amazon project zero is not without shortcomings. Here are some of them:
Limited availability options
One major limitation of Project Zero is that it is only available to brands with trademarks. This means that brands without trademarks cannot participate in the program, leaving them vulnerable to counterfeiters.
Inability to detect counterfeit products not using brand ASIN
Another issue with Project Zero is that if a counterfeit product uses a different ASIN than a Brand ASIN, the tool won’t be able to detect the counterfeit product.
Less focus on other intellectual property issues.
Project Zero only focuses on counterfeits and does not address other intellectual property problems, such as trademark misuse.
You need to use other services like Amazon IP Accelerator to protect your brand from intellectual property infringements.
Product Serialization can be costly.
Another challenge with Project Zero is that the product serialization service on Amazon can be costly for larger brands, especially If the brand has multiple products and offers a lower selling price.
Amazon is giving control to brands
Finally, Amazon is slowly removing itself from finding and removing counterfeits and giving power to brands. While it’s good that brands can find and remove counterfeits fast, now they need to spend significant resources to monitor infringements regularly.
Amazon Project Zero vs. Transparency
Amazon Project Zero and Amazon Transparency are both programs offered by Amazon to combat counterfeit products on the platform, but they have different focuses and mechanisms.
Amazon Project Zero is a program that focuses on proactively detecting and removing counterfeit products from the Amazon marketplace.
On the other hand, Amazon Transparency is a product authentication service offered by Amazon that helps customers verify the authenticity of a product sold.
It works by assigning a unique product code to each item. These codes are usually in the form of a barcode or QR code that is placed on the product or its packaging. When customers purchase a product that is enrolled in Amazon Transparency, they can scan the code using their smartphone or a barcode scanner to verify the authenticity of the product.
Here’s a quick rundown of the primary differences between Amazon Project Zero and Transparency:
|Feature||Amazon Transparency||Amazon Project Zero|
|Purpose||Helping customers verify the authenticity of products||Proactively detecting and removing counterfeit products
|Mechanism||Unique product codes on the product packaging that customers can scan to verify authenticity||Advanced technology and self-service toolset for brands to identify and remove counterfeit listings
|Functionality||Gives sellers exclusive and trackable barcodes for all product units||Gives sellers liberty to remove the counterfeit listing from Amazon search page.
|Eligibility||•Must have a valid trademark on the product |
•Should be enrolled under Amazon Brand Registry
•Should have valid GTIN
|•Must be enrolled under Amazon Brand Registry with a government-registered trademark
•Must have submitted reports of potential infringements with an acceptance rate of at least 90% in the last six months.
|Cost||•5 cents per code|
•3 cents per code if you order at least 1 million codes at a time
•1 cent per code if you order over 10 million codes at a time
|•Free to enroll.
serialization service costs between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, based on the storage volume.
In conclusion, Amazon Project Zero programs represent a significant step forward in the fight against counterfeit goods. However, it’s important to understand that this program alone is not a silver bullet solution.
Sellers still need to actively monitor the search results to identify and report any counterfeit listings.
Despite the challenges, it’s clear that the implementation of Project Zero marks a turning point in Amazon’s battle against counterfeits. By utilizing the tools provided by Amazon, we can move closer to a marketplace where only authentic products are available to customers.
Now tell us in the comments, did you face counterfeiters on Amazon before? Share your experience and strategies and help out other sellers!