Amazon Project Zero: Everything You Need to Know and How It Can Combat Counterfeit Products

Project Zero is Amazon’s latest program that puts the power of combating counterfeit products into the hands of brand owners.

Amazon’s Project Zero program is the latest tool created by the company to fight the scourge of counterfeit products on its site. Project Zero is an invite-only program where U.S. brands have to join a waitlist before they can access its counterfeit-product removing features.

To be considered for the program a brand must have a government-registered trademark, and be enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry program.

What can Amazon’s Project Zero do for your brand?

The Project Zero landing page promises brand owners automated counterfeit protections, removal of a counterfeit listing without contacting Amazon, and a new, unique product serialization system.

Automated Protections

Amazon says that Project Zero’s automated protections are powered by machine learning, which continuously scans more than five billion listing update attempts daily. The automated protections crawler/bot is primarily looking for trademarks, logos, and any other brand identifier to discover counterfeit products.

Self-Service Counterfeit Removal

Yes, this is what you think it is. Amazon has finally given brand owners the power to remove counterfeit product listings. Sellers typically have to contact Brand Services to make a claim and hope that the counterfeit product will be removed without further efforts. But now Amazon is giving brands what it calls “an unprecedented level of responsibility.”

And rightly so, because this level of power could be abused. Never fear because Amazon has thought of that already. In order for brands to possess this awesome power, they “must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges.” It’s unclear what a “high bar for accuracy” means but more than likely it means not using the self-service against competitors.

Furthermore, Amazon is requiring training—specifically around the self-service feature—in order to be enrolled in Project Zero.

Product Serialization

Amazon is taking product serialization to a new level with its protections in Project Zero. Long gone are the days where an FNSKU, a GTIN, an EAN, or a UPC is sufficient to identify your product, Amazon suggests brand owners apply another unique code on every product they manufacture to prove its authenticity.

Product serialization isn’t necessary but Amazon claims “the brands that serialize their product are seeing the best results.” Amazon can detect and stop counterfeit products with this added level of identification before they get sold.

There is a price to pay for this service. Amazon will charge the brand owner anywhere from $0.01 to $0.05 per unit sold, based on volume. So if you sell 20,000 units a month of a certain product, you could pay up to $1,000 for product serialization. Given the cost of patent attorneys and time spent fighting counterfeit listings, this seems to be a deal.

Is Project Zero right for your brand?

Probably. But there is still much to learn about the benefits and restrictions of Project Zero. Amazon has been running a beta of the program with brands like Thunderworks, Vera Bradley and Chom Chom. It’ll be interesting to see how the program’s rollout unfolds during the next couple of months.

Project Zero is a huge win for brand owners on Amazon because counterfeiting has become a serious issue for sellers big and small. And if Amazon wants to continue building out its 1P and 3P marketplaces to be a true “everything store” it’ll need to give brands the confidence they require in order to sell on its platform. The same holds true for shoppers because nobody wants to purchase a counterfeit product.

Join the Project Zero waitlist here >

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