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Amazon To Expand Counterfeit Removal Program in Overture To Sellers (reuters.com) 41

Amazon.com is expanding a program to remove counterfeit goods from its website this spring as part of a broader push to assure brand owners that the online retailer is an ally rather than a threat. From a report: As early as next month, any brand can register its logo and intellectual property with Amazon so the e-commerce company can take down listings and potentially seller accounts when counterfeits are flagged, Peter Faricy, vice president of Amazon Marketplace, said in an interview on Monday. The so-called brand registry, which had been in a test phase, will be widely available for free in North America, Faricy said ahead of his presentation at the Shoptalk commerce conference in Las Vegas.
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Amazon To Expand Counterfeit Removal Program in Overture To Sellers

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  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @10:16AM (#54087671) Homepage Journal

    to assure brand owners that the online retailer is an ally rather than a threat

    Yeah... How about "because it is the right thing to do"?

    The fakes do not benefit the buyer, who is being lied to. They don't benefit the designer, who spends effort and money to create the designs, which are then copied (stolen) by the fake-makers.

    If a marketplace is not fighting fakes, it gets flooded with them to the exclusion of the real brands...

    • If a marketplace is not fighting fakes, it gets flooded with them to the exclusion of the real brands...

      Unfortunately you are spot on regarding it being flooded with fakes and no real product to be found. I first heard about this issue from my sister who told me that all the women in her office knew that you *never* buy hair products from Amazon because they are always fakes. It's an interesting data point because multiple women there had bought stuff and, from previous usage, were able to identify that these were fakes.

      • by Wulf2k ( 4703573 )

        To a lesser extent, try ordering flash storage off Amazon.

        You can still find the real stuff, but any random person that doesn't know what the check will most likely get garbage.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @10:31AM (#54087755)
    I sell on AZ oas a 3rd party seller. I engage in something known as retail arbitrage. I find deals in stores that are better than the current price on amazon and exploit the difference for a profit. I frequent discount stores and clearances at major stores. Often I find clearance items, or at stores like Big Lots, items that are discontinued but still good, and often have an increasing profit margin online as the supply is dwindling.

    I work hard to ensure that my sources are not counterfeit, but since I primarily purchase retail, I have no wholesale distributor invoice to prove authenticity. While not abused yet, there are situations where a manufacturer or other seller will claim a seller has counterfeit items to remove that competition. With the brand registry, I see this as happening more, and small sellers will get hammered by what are essentialy NOT good faith take down notices. This can result in complete removal of a seller account, shutting down small and legitimate businesses. There are many sellers that DO abuse the system and sell counterfeit goods, but this system will not discriminate, and many of those will find other ways to skirt the rules.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      To be more clear - this is not an overture to ALL sellers. This is an overture to major brands that will help eliminate competition, both counterfeit and legitimate.
    • since I primarily purchase retail, I have no wholesale distributor invoice to prove authenticity.

      If your supplier is a closeout retailer, such as Big Lots or Ollie's, a scan of your receipt ought to count as a supplier invoice.

      • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
        With Amazon they prefer actual invoices over retail reciepts. I do keep and scan reciepts and when cases arise for this or other reasons, the receipt is often enough, but not always. It really depends on which outsourced and undertrained worker andsweres the case.
    • While what you are doing is certainly not illegal or such, it does in some cases stretch the definition of what constitutes "new with warranty".

      I work for a manufacturer and it's problematic when we get a product returned that came through a third party amazon or ebay seller because

      a) we have to deal with the return, when normally that'd happen at the retailer that originally sold it
      b) it's often hard to identify the production batch that the item came from. We can tell if we've shipped a product to Marshal

      • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
        You bring up some good points. However, being able to track a batch is not one of them. If a manufacturer were truly interested in tracking a batch then you can implement serial or lot numbers. Even when the manufacturer or distributor sells a large lot to Marshalls, there is no guarantee that A. Marshalls stored the product correctly, or B. Identified the shipment correctly.

        Case in point if Marshalls gets a large number of returns for Widget X because of a defect, how can you be sure it came from the

        • I can't speak to marshalls specifically since i haven't seen their paperwork myself, but I wouldn't be surprised if we can specify storage conditions, it's not something that's unique to high end places. Still no guarantee that anyone does it, but it'll be right most of the time. A lot of discount retailers price returns into what they pay us, they just take 0.5% (or whatever is appropriate for the category) off the top and we don't don't have to handle it ourselves unless they go bankrupt or the product is

  • Too little too late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @10:38AM (#54087795)
    These days I treat Amazon like I treat Expedia: I use the site to find a couple of reputable-looking, US-based vendors (on Expedia, it would be hotels/airlines) who appear to be selling something at a good price, and then I go to those vendor's sites directly and order off the vendor's eComm store directly. (And if there's a price difference, I contact support before-hand and get my item priced-matched with the Amazon deal.)

    It's just not worth it to get any more Amazon "suh-plizes" since crap suppliers somehow keep getting injected in the chain. (I stopped using Expedia early on when they comingled "cannot cancel" flights/hotels with "cancellable" ones; I often want the flexibility that booking direct provides.)
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      then I go to those vendor's sites directly and order off the vendor's eComm store directly. (And if there's a price difference, I contact support before-hand and get my item priced-matched with the Amazon deal.)

      Can you elaborate or give some examples?
      I have googled for things I find on Amazon to price-compare, but in best case scenario the price is the same and shipping cost is high making it more expensive in total. Do you also get vendors to match shipping costs?

      You must be thinking of Groupon product "deals" that are usually 20% more costly than same item sold by other retailers.

      • Sure, here's an example.

        1) Start here with an item on Amazon. Note that it's sold by someone else:

        2) Pull up the item on the someone else's site:

        3) Contact the vendor via their published contact information and ask them to price-match their own Amazon item (with shipping):
  • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @10:46AM (#54087845)

    There's a whole swarm of "sketchy" vendors on Amazon.com...I avoid them in the most part by only ordering "Prime" merchandise. But Amazon needs to take more responsibility for the quality of vendors on their site. Requiring physical address, phone number and email for all vendors and displaying it on the site would be a good start.

    • Yeah, it seems they still haven't properly deal with the issue of "pop-up vendors". These guys pop up around a special event (Boxing Day, Black Friday, etc) and sell a bunch of hot items at slightly below the others. Not enough that it's obviously a scam, but that it looks like they're offering the better deal. Then, days or weeks later when you realise you've been scammed, you get to enjoy going through Amazon's reporting process despite the fact that the vendor now had 100 people complaining that they've

      • I'm an old guy, and probably tend to err on the side of skepticism, but it sounds to me like that as long as Amazon gets their "cut", anything goes.

        Typical large corporation mentality, I guess.

  • Many slashdotters have posted about how Amazon mixes counterfeit memory cards into the grab bag [petapixel.com] and then proceeds to grab them and ship them to customers. Have they stopped beating their own dead horse?

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Part of the problem is comingled inventory. As a seller when shipping to an AZ Fulfillment center, you have two option. Co-mingled or not. If you chose co-mingled all of the inventor for that item is mixed with other sellers of the same item. There is no uniqe sku identifying the seller. This is a great way to sneak in counterfeit items. Personally I do not sell co-mingled. This means I have to label all my items with a unique sku (or pay AZ to do so). However, this keeps other counterfeit items fro
      • Is there a way for purchasers to search for non-commingled other than hoping the vendor mentions it - which seems vanishingly unlikely.

  • They admit that their removal program is counterfeit but they are expanding it anyways???

    I'm sooooooo confused.

  • Looks like they're trying to head off a negative news cycle from this tweet from the owner of No Starch Press

    https://twitter.com/billpolloc... [twitter.com]

    "Images of counterfeit copies of Python for Kids being sold on Amazon. Legit copies are thicker, color, layflat binding, nicer paper. @amazon"

    Also see discussion on HN:

    https://news.ycombinator.com/i... [ycombinator.com]

    • Though the negative press is part of the reason the primary motivator is the threat of lawsuits by the brand products. Unlike internet and speech there aren't common carrier rules that exempt the seller from liability for counterfeit merchandise, in fact it's the opposite in the US, the seller is fully liable.

      Amazon started to get worried when some of the brands with a penchant for strong legal action against counterfeits started making inquires. These brands are typically high end retail products whose ent

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @11:05AM (#54088017) Homepage

    So many sellers that use the name of the company of the product they are selling that are NOT actually that company. Sorry, but SONOS is not selling Sonos speakers under the name "Sonos Speaker Depot" and they need to insta ban those users doing that crap.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      No, but if I'm a depot selling only Sonos speakers, then can I not name the brand that I sell?

      It tends to get a bit fuzzy when it comes to things like Right of First Sale. I'm perfectly allowed to sell something that I own and I'm allowed to prominently display the brand of the item and what model it is. I'm not allowed to claim an affiliation with the brand, but that doesn't mean that I am required to specifically disclose anything else either.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        No you cant. Because you are claiming you are a represenative of Sonos and you are not in any way. In fact your speakers dont even come with a warranty unless you are going to give me free replacements for 5 years because Sonos voids all warranties sold by people like you.

  • . . . .why Amazon pulled a parody of John Scalzi's under-performing new book, "The Collapsing Empire" [superversivesf.com], at the request of his publisher, Tor Books.

    Or it could be because the parody was outselling the original on Kindle. . . .

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