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Counterfeit listings are a pain point for many brands that sell on Amazon. Fake products are often sold at a lower price and hurt a brand’s bottom line in more ways than one. Not only are sales lost, but negative reviews can impact a brand’s reputation. As a way to resolve these issues, Amazon first launched Transparency by Amazon. More recently, Amazon announced a new program called Project Zero. Continue reading for a breakdown of both programs.

Transparency by Amazon Snapshot 

In March 2017, Amazon rolled out its Transparency by Amazon program. At first, it only covered Amazon's own products. Since then, the program has opened up to brands within the United States and abroad. 

Transparency by Amazon was the company’s first shot at proactive counterfeit protection. The program allows brands to apply a unique barcode to products as an identifier of legitimacy. Brands also have reported additional benefits to the program, including improved product reviews and ratings

The program hasn’t been met with a high rate of adoption, hence Amazon’s launch of Project Zero. Neither program solves all the issues brands face, but they're a start. 

Project Zero Snapshot 

The program expanded its availability and is no longer an invite-only program. It includes an automated tool and gives more power to brands. But Project Zero won’t simply remove third parties from a brand's listings. Based on the terms outlined, it will likely serve as a stronger tool for brands to win the battle against illegitimate resellers.

Meanwhile,  Amazon is raising its expectations for brands that sell on the channel. For example, the Project Zero website states, “Brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges.” So, for Project Zero to be as effective as possible, brands need to do their part. They will need to be proactive, follow guidelines, and prove quality control efforts.

What are the Differences Between the Two? 

The two programs are similar, but differ in how they actually protect brands and authenticate products. Rather than periodic counterfeit checks through Transparency, Project Zero does so on an ongoing basis. Another key difference is how Transparency allows customers to verify products, while Project Zero gives brands control over authentication.  

Transparency also requires brands to apply a proprietary code to products. Project Zero gives brands the choice to opt into product serialization.

With that said, due to the greater amount of direct control, Project Zero is more brand-friendly and it will be interesting to learn how brands leverage the self-service tool. 

What does the Future Look Like for Brands that Sell on Amazon? 

With Project Zero added to the mix, Amazon itself will likely be held to higher standards. As the e-commerce giant continues to take steps on its own to help brands overcome counterfeit issues, it will need to prove these systems work. 
On another front, Amazon Advertising recently earned the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal, which is further evidence Amazon’s entire organization is on board and rising to meet expectations.

Both initiatives aim to help brands reach the same goals in a different way. It will be interesting to see how the landscape changes and how brands continue to tackle the challenge of counterfeit products. 

If your brand could use support combatting counterfeit products, schedule a free consultation. And, as always, we’re here to answer any questions.

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