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Amazon is adopting a major measure to combat the sale of counterfeit goods on its websites. The proliferation of knock-offs on Amazon’s Marketplace has reportedly cost brand owners millions of dollars in revenue each year, as bad actors take the fruits of their labor and sell as many cheap imitations as they can before disappearing. The counterfeit goods also tend to be of poor quality, damaging brand reputation.
This problem has reached epidemic proportions and has persisted for years. Now, Amazon is readying a major initiative to crack down on it, according to Bloomberg. The e-retailing giant is partnering with major companies in the US and Europe to create a massive registry of brands, slated to debut in 2017. The registry will even include brands that don’t distribute their products through Amazon. Then, Amazon will require marketplace vendors listing branded products to prove that they have been authorized to sell them by owners.
In addition, Amazon has begun taking legal measures to fight counterfeiting rings, filing suits and taking them to court. “Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeit items on our site,” Amazon said in a statement to Bloomberg. Amazon’s Anti-Counterfeiting Policy states that it “is each seller’s responsibility to source and sell only authentic products” and warns that those selling knock-offs can have their selling privileges revoked and their inventory destroyed.
Part of the problem is the fact that it’s easy for almost anyone to register as a vendor on Amazon. While this simple process has helped Amazon expand its inventory, it has also made it easy to sell fakes on its platform, where it is hard to distinguish them from their authentic counterparts. In this context, it is unclear whether the registry will be able to successfully defeat a multi-billion dollar industry.