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article imageAmazon preparing to banish fake products during 2017

By James Walker     Nov 28, 2016 in Technology
Amazon has announced a new initiative to eradicate fake products and counterfeit sellers from its site. The retailer will introduce new policies that will make it harder for traders to sell fake goods on the site. It is also revising its reviews system.
Amazon has been aware of the prevalence of fake products for some years, according to a report from Bloomberg today. Until now, it has done little to confront the problem, leaving brands frustrated as Amazon allows third-party sellers to abuse their trademarks.
With the problem still growing, Amazon is said to be planning a company-wide effort in 2017 designed to "aggressively" remove fakes from its marketplace. Teams in the U.S. and Europe will work with manufacturers to create a "registry to prevent fakes," a person "familiar" with the initiative told Bloomberg.
Amazon will encourage all brands to list themselves in its registry, even if they do not sell on Amazon. Once a trademark name is registered, any marketplace seller who lists one of the products will be forced to provide proof they have the brand's permission.
Manufacturers and brand owners will be given control of the situation. Amazon will come to them when a seller wants to list a product, instead of brands reporting counterfeit goods to Amazon and waiting for a response.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon said it is "aggressively pursuing bad actors" using its marketplace to sell fake goods. "Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeit items on our site," the company added.
Amazon's sudden commitment to eradicating fake goods comes after being criticised by major brands. According to Bloomberg, Major League Baseball and the National Football League were in discussions with Amazon about selling merchandise on its site. The conversations "hit a standstill" earlier this year when Amazon failed to demonstrate it could control fake marketplace products.
In October, Apple publicly claimed that 90 percent of Apple-branded accessories on Amazon are fake. It filed a lawsuit against Mobile Star LLC, a company that produces counterfeit smartphone accessories. It expressed frustration at Amazon's acceptance of Mobile Star's products, noting that multiple user reviews suggested some products "literally caught fire" shortly after purchase.
Faced with these criticisms, Amazon has been left with little choice but to finally take the situation seriously and begin a proactive approach to eradicating fake goods. It has already introduced some new policies, including a $1,500 fee for sellers who want to sell a major brand. The idea is that counterfeiters won't be willing to hand over the cash while established traders will notice a negligible financial impact as a consequence.
Amazon has also announced a new limitation on user reviews of products that forms part of its clampdown on fakes. From today, people can only write five reviews a week of items not bought from Amazon. It should help to combat the proliferation of bogus reviews on the platform. The new rules do not apply to books.
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