Amazon Project Zero

Last week Amazon announced it was expanding its invite-only program, Project Zero, to all eligible brands. Project Zero is aimed at reducing the number of counterfeit problems brands are facing on the site. Consumer confidence in Amazon took a hit with the increase in counterfeit products. Historically, removing a counterfeit from Amazon took a lot of work for the brand, often requiring multiple requests to Amazon and having to seek legal help before a listing would be removed. This program aims to remove these roadblocks to brands and increase consumer confidence in the retailer. Let's take a look at how the program works and what this means for brands.

What is Project Zero?

Project Zero allows brands to work with Amazon to leverage their combined strengths to "move quickly and at scale to drive counterfeits to zero."  It is a three-pronged approach to combat counterfeiting utilizing automated protections, product serialization, and the self-service counterfeit removal tool.

  1. The automated protections are powered by Amazon’s machine learning expertise. They continuously scan the site and proactively remove suspected counterfeits. Amazon scans over 5 billion product listing updates a day, looking for suspected counterfeits. This is balanced by data provided to Amazon by the brands including trademarks, logos, and other key data. Amazon reports from beta-testing with numerous brands that "automated protections proactively stop 100 times more suspected counterfeit products as compared to what we reactively remove based on reports from brands."
  2. Amazon is looking to empower brands by providing a self-service counterfeit removal tool that allows brands to remove counterfeit listings themselves. Previously, brands would need to report a counterfeit to Amazon for investigation and then wait for action, while unsuspecting consumers were being duped into buying fake products. Now brands can remove listings themselves at the first hint of fraud.
  3. For an additional fee, brands can also opt into product serialization service. Brands apply a unique code on every unit they manufacture for an enrolled product, which Amazon scans at point of purchase to confirm the authenticity of the product, preventing counterfeits from reaching the consumer.

Who Can Be a Part of Project Zero?

1. Your brand must be enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry with a government-registered trademark.
2. You must:
• Be the rights owner of the trademark.
• Have an Amazon account with access to Brand Registry.
• Have submitted reports of potential infringements with an acceptance rate of at least 90% in the last six months.

What Does This Mean for Brands?

Amazon claims this new program will drive counterfeiting to zero, which is a win for Amazon, brands, and consumers as it will increase consumer confidence, driving up sales for brands. However, there were some hiccups during beta testing, including removing legitimate listings that were flagged. Hopefully, Amazon worked out all the kinks in beta testing. Brands that are eligible should move forward with the program but should not become complacent or adopt a "set it and forget it" mentality.

Remain vigilant by incorporating these tools into your eCommerce strategy: 

  • tracking 3p sellers who are selling your ASINs.
  • monitoring copy to ensure no unauthorized changes are being made by 3p sellers who have won the Buy Box. 
  • monitoring reviews to look for products trending negatively in star ratings or common complaints by customers with verified purchases.