Amazon remains the go-to marketplace for just about everything, which has made it a target for counterfeit products and phony goods. According to a report from Bloomberg, the online retail giant is finally cracking down on fake products that appear on the site.
The report indicates Amazon is assembling teams in the United States and Europe that will work with major brands on initiatives to keep knockoff products off the market. The plan would reportedly include building a registry of products that would help identify authentic items and bar fake ones from the site.
The plan would encourage brands to register with Amazon—even if the companies don’t sell their products directly through the marketplace. Once a brand is registered with Amazon, the ecommerce company would require all merchants retailing product from the registered brand to prove they have permission to sell.
Amazon has reportedly been working on a pilot version of the program with Nike. A wider rollout of the registry and dedicated teams to detect fakes is expected to be a focus of Amazon in 2017.
“Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeit items on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands to identify offenders, and removing fraudulent items. We are also taking legal action and aggressively pursuing bad actors,” a spokesperson for Amazon told IBTimes. No additional details about plans to curb fake products were provided.
Damage caused by fake products can range from physical harm caused by faulty electronics to placing a considerable squeeze on legitimate small businesses.
Amazon’s newfound focus on fakes comes after Major League Baseball cracked down on merchants on the marketplace that were selling MLB-licensed products without permission. Earlier this year, Amazon’s negotiations with MLB and the National Football League hit a standstill due to concerns about unauthorized merchandise.
In July, Birkenstock pulled its products from Amazon as it became too difficult to rid the site of knockoffs and Apple filed a lawsuit against a company selling fake chargers and cables that were marketed as Apple products on Amazon. This month, Amazon filed suit against sellers placing fake goods on its site.
The fraudulent product problem has only increased with Amazon’s reliance on third party merchants. More than 2 million retailers now sell through Amazon, accounting for 50 percent of total sales. According to a report from RW Baird, some product categories see 83 percent of products purchased from third-party sellers on Amazon.