The emergence of counterfeit goods and other fake items sold on the internet is swift,, and many shoppers have mostly gone unnoticed. Yet make no mistake: there’s a big problem. Many people don’t know this, but for products sold by Amazon, most of the listings on Amazon aren’t real.
A major investigation by the Wall Street Journal recently found that Amazon sold “thousands of banned, hazardous, or mislabeled products,” ranging from harmful children’s toys to fake-certified electronics. The Verge claimed that Amazon’s listings for its line of products are “being hijacked by impostor vendors.
How Fragile are The Goods
Unauthorized or rogue sellers
Sell the goods of a company without authorization, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Such vendors do not meet brand standards or quality controls (i.e.,, proper storage temperature and humidity levels) and are marketing expired, outdated or defective goods as new. Problems with manufacturing go unreported, and can not be resolved. It is primarily a problem for consumables and children’s toys,, which have compulsory reporting requirements.
Besides stealing and undermining a right label name
Falsifiers produce and market the fake goods. They do not adhere to the legally mandated safety and quality requirements of the product,, and as a result, their actions will harm the reputation of a brand. Navigating and defending the brand requires a strategic strategy, with the increasing number of rouge sellers and counterfeit goods wreaking havoc on the Amazon marketplace.
How do Rogue Traders and Fakers exploit the Amazon Game
They draw on lists of top sellers.
All they are doing is a particular version of the commodity, and that may breach Amazon’s policy. This will take away revenue from the original authorized listing.
Rogue Traders commit copyright piracy.
Sell fake goods using your official photos. Since forgers are getting better at manipulating the files, computer algorithms have a more difficult time identifying listings that infringe copyright.
In some instances, Chinese manufacturers knock off a product.
The top two economies confiscated goods for IPR violations in FY2017 were The People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong, an estimated $940.8 million in MSRP. These also have a low entry barrier and little impact in turning the concept of a product into their edition for sale on Amazon and other marketplaces. The problem with Chinese agencies implementing NDAs and Non-Competes doesn’t help.
Strategies to detect counterfeiters and rogue sellers
Find where illegal vendors are getting their inventories.
Brand serialization and test buying from unknown vendors will help find gaps in your delivery network. Amazon’s Transparency service requires all items sold to be serialized, at a cost. If products are enrolled in Transparency and lack a Transparency Code, Amazon’s warehouses will kill the product as falsified.
Contact unlawful seller
Amazon Notifications that formally ask them to tell you where your product is being purchased. Asking for invoices or answering the question that exposes gaps in your distribution system. Keep in mind that unless you have reason to believe they are selling, you can not compel third-party sellers to disclose their source of your products.
Another choice is to work with a third-party company to access its third-party vendor database and its automated tools to locate and classify unauthorized resellers.
Track your listings closely
Also, check the goods of rivals to ensure that a violation does not occur.
Eliminate dealers and counterfeiters without authorization
If you’ve figured out who’s buying and selling your items on Amazon without permission, you can take action to avoid them.
- Create a warranty that extends only to authorized sellers and ensures that the warranty language contains a value created solely by working with the authorized reseller for the company.
- Contact rogue sellers and demand that they market your product as usual rather than as fresh. Amazon and Walmart policies allow this if the product does not come with assurance from the manufacturer.
- File a lawsuit of the listing breach against rogue sellers who do not alter the items’ listing. You can have rogue sellers barred from selling your product on the marketplace using Amazon’s Intellectual Property Rights Monitoring tool.
- We suggest test buys and side-by-side pictures of the counterfeit and actual goods specifically for counterfeiters to illustrate marketplace compliance. Note, a counterfeiter is someone who violates your IPR (copyrights, trademarks, or patents) to market a product other than the one you’ve created.
- Brands facing significant challenges with counterfeiters can apply to Brand Gating, and Project Zero, two Amazon programs that significantly strengthen the anti-counterfeit powers of brands, but both programs are invitations only and require Brand Registry.
Just to Sum it Up
Following the above guidelines will help you regain your Amazon brand power and protect your brand and your customers from counterfeit goods of low quality and potentially harmful. The DHS study also includes a list of best practices for e-commerce sites and third-party marketplaces. When frictionless customer service becomes ever more critical to maintain growth, counterfeiting is a challenge you can not ignore.