For years, companies have demanded action when online marketplaces reportedly become a major source of selling counterfeit brands. The U.S. Trade Representative has put Alibaba’s Taobao on a blacklist multiple times for counterfeit sales.
Amazon’s marketplace has also been criticized as being complicit when sellers of knockoffs do well. The retailer has taken actions in the past, including suing merchants for selling counterfeits and introduced digital tools in 2016 for brands to use.
Apparently, it wasn’t enough. On Thursday, Amazon (AMZN) announced what it calls in a blog post Project Zero. The name comes from the stated intent to drive counterfeit sales to zero.
One set of tools uses machine learning to scan marketplace sellers and automatically removing those it suspects of counterfeit sales. Amazon says the automation can take down 100 times more suspected counterfeits than what the company can do based on reports from the brand companies.
A self-service counterfeit removal tool will allow the brand owners to take down suspect listings immediately rather than report the issue to Amazon, which would investigate and then act.
Another feature allows companies to add unique serialization codes for products. Amazon will then scan products as they come in, whether directly to the retailer or through a third-party seller on the marketplace. That would allow identification of products that lack the proper markings.
Currently, the program is available via invitation only.