Tencent technology news on May 11: Amazon released its first “brand protection report” on Monday local time, detailing its efforts to crack down on counterfeit products in 2020. Amazon said in its report that it “seized and destroyed” more than 2 million fake goods sent to Amazon warehouses by sellers in 2020, and “prevented more than 10 billion suspicious goods from being put on the shelves.”.
“In 2020, we seized and destroyed more than 2 million products sent to our distribution centers, and we detected that they were counterfeit products before they were delivered to customers,” Amazon said in the report. If counterfeit products appear in our distribution centers, we will separate the inventory and destroy them so that they are not resold to other customers. ”
Third party sellers can also ship products directly to consumers instead of using Amazon’s delivery system. Therefore, the 2 million counterfeit goods seized in Amazon distribution center only represent the counterfeit products found by sellers using the service of “Amazon distribution center”.
In the past year, the problem of fake goods has become more serious. “Novel coronavirus pneumonia is seen throughout the new crown pneumonia epidemic,” Da Jaime J, vice president of Amazon, wrote in a blog article: “we see more and more bad guys trying to cheat and provide counterfeit products.” Dharmesh Mehta, a vice president of the company, wrote in a blog article.
On Amazon, counterfeiting is a long-standing problem. Other issues that harm consumers’ interests on Amazon include selling dangerous products, false comments, defective third-party goods, and bribes from unscrupulous sellers to Amazon employees and contractors. An appeal court in the United States ruled in 2019 that Amazon should be responsible for defective third-party goods, but Amazon has won other similar cases. Amazon once again argued that it should not be held responsible for defective third-party products in a Texas Supreme Court case involving a seriously injured child.
As novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak increased, Amazon’s net sales jumped sharply, reaching 108 billion 500 million US dollars in the first quarter of this year, up 44% over last year. According to statista, a market research website, Amazon has attracted millions of third-party sellers, who account for about 55% of Amazon’s sales. In the first quarter of this year, revenue from third-party seller services reached $23.7 billion, up 60% year on year.
Amazon tries to appease legitimate sellers
Amazon’s brand protection report aims to reassure legitimate sellers that their products will not be counterfeited. Although fakes are still a big problem for many unsuspecting Amazon customers, the e-commerce giant said that in 2020 “less than 0.01% of all products sold on Amazon have received fake complaints from customers”. Of course, people may not be aware of or report the purchase and use of counterfeit products to Amazon at all, so this number may not really reflect the severity of the problem.
Amazon’s fake report describes a wide range of systems and processes to determine which sellers can do business on Amazon. While Amazon has argued in court that it is not responsible for goods sold on its platform by third-party sellers, it is monitoring sellers in an effort to maintain the credibility of buyers and legitimate sellers. Amazon said it would “invest more than $700 million and employ more than 10000 employees in 2020 to protect our stores from fraud and abuse.”.
Amazon added: “we combine advanced machine learning capabilities with professional human investigators to proactively protect our stores from bad actors and bad products. We keep innovating to stay ahead of the bad actors and the behaviors they try to circumvent our monitoring. In 2020, we stopped more than 6 million attempts to create abnormal accounts, and intercepted more than 10 billion suspicious goods on the shelves. ”
Amazon also said: “this is an escalating battle with criminals trying to sell fake goods, and the only way to permanently stop counterfeiters is to hold them accountable through court system litigation and criminal prosecution. In 2020, we have set up a new anti-counterfeiting team, which is responsible for investigating relevant cases and transferring them to law enforcement departments, undertaking independent investigation or joint investigation with brands, and bringing civil lawsuits against counterfeiters. ”
Amazon said it now “reports all identified counterfeiters to law enforcement agencies in Canada, China, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.”. Amazon also urged governments to “step up the prosecution of counterfeiters, increase the resources of law enforcement agencies to combat counterfeiters, and imprison these criminals worldwide.”.
Stricter seller verification system
Amazon said it launched a “new live video and physical address verification” system in 2020. Amazon established one-to-one contact with potential sellers in Amazon’s office through video chat or sending people to verify the identity of the sellers and legal documents issued by the government. In addition, the company “verifies the addresses of new and existing sellers by sending information including a unique code to the seller’s address.”.
Most of the new seller registration attempts are obviously fraudulent, because Amazon said that “only 6% of the seller account registration applications are approved and the goods on the shelves are sold.”. Overall, Amazon said it “blocked more than 6 million attempts to create a sales account in 2020 until they are able to publish products for sale,” more than double the 2.5 million attempts it blocked in 2019.
The verification process itself is not enough to stop all new fraudulent sellers, so Amazon said it would “continuously monitor” sellers to identify new risks. “If we find bad actors, we will immediately close their accounts, detain the funds and determine whether the new information will point to other relevant suspicious accounts,” Amazon said. We will also determine whether a case requires civil or criminal prosecution and inform law enforcement of the perpetrators. ”
Monitor product details for fraud
Amazon is often involved in the controversy of “bait marketing”, that is, sellers cheat Amazon to display reviews of unrelated products in order to get the first place in Amazon’s search results. In one case, a $23 drone with 6400 comments received an average five-star rating just because it had thousands of comments about honey. After removing the old comments, the same product page now lists only 348 ratings, with an average of 3.6 stars.
Amazon is trying to prevent the problem from happening again. In its new report, Amazon said it scans “more than 5 billion attempts to change product details pages every day to look for potential signs of abuse.”.
Amazon also provides companies with self-service tools to help them stop counterfeiting their products. Amazon reported that 18000 brands have signed up for the zero degree program, which “provides unprecedented power for brands to remove counterfeit items directly from Amazon stores.”. The program also has an optional product serialization feature that allows sellers to post unique codes on their products or packages.
Self service tools account for only a small part of the blocked list. “For every product removed by a brand through our self-service fake removal tool, our automatic protection system can remove more than 600 similar items through large-scale technology and machine learning, which can actively deal with potential fake problems and prevent them from appearing in our stores,” Amazon said
Here are the main points of Amazon’s brand protection report:
— Amazon has invested more than $700 million and employed more than one employee to protect its stores from fraud and abuse;
— Amazon’s verification process has prevented more than 6 million attempts to create abnormal accounts, preventing bad actors before releasing any products for sale;
— Amazon implements a more stringent seller verification system, with only 6% of the seller’s account registration applications approved and allowed to sell goods on the shelves;
Amazon has detected and seized more than 2 million counterfeit products, which were sent to Amazon distribution centers before they were sent to customers. Amazon destroyed the products to prevent them from being resold elsewhere in the supply chain;
— Amazon has blocked more than 10 billion suspicious products from being put on the shelves;
— Amazon’s serialization service that can provide protection for individual products — transparency program, which has protected more than 500 million products;
— less than 0.01% of all products sold on Amazon have received customer complaints about counterfeiting. Amazon investigated the accuracy of these complaints and took action as appropriate;
More than 7000 SMEs have established links with trustworthy law firms in the United States and Europe through IP accelerators. These enterprises have successfully submitted trademark applications and obtained the brand protection tools of the brand registration office in advance;
Amazon has set up an anti-counterfeiting department, which is responsible for investigating cases and submitting them to law enforcement departments for independent investigation or joint investigation with brands, and filing civil lawsuits against counterfeiters（ Tencent technology reviser / Jinlu)