Last updated on March 19th, 2023
Written by Ken Zhou
The existence of hijackers and counterfeiters has been an issue in the Amazon marketplace for the longest time. With the rise of Amazon sellers and users through the years, it is unfortunate that the number of deceitful people taking advantage of someone else's listings has also risen. In an attempt to address this, the Amazon Brand Registry was developed to protect brands on the platform. However, sellers still found the need for Amazon brand protection services with an Amazon brand protection team to ensure their brands' safety.
This article explains the threats brought by hijackers and counterfeiters, as well as highlighting an Amazon brand protection team's importance to safeguard your business.
Hijackers and counterfeiters work by tweaking or directly copying your listings, including copies, photos, and bullet points, and offering your product for a lower price. The same product at a lower price can be one of the easiest ways to lure a customer. However, usually due to the unreasonably low price, the customer will receive a counterfeit product, if not broken, used, or a different product entirely. When this happens, the customer isn't the only victim in this situation,it also affects your business and Amazon in general.
In a 2018 survey, it was revealed that 7 out of 10 customers who were able to buy a counterfeit product declared that they lost their confidence in the brand, regardless of whether it's the seller's fault or not (source). This can be a huge blow not only on your current sales but on your succeeding ones as you may lose a loyal customer. A counterfeit product can also result in low ratings and negative reviews. If left unattended, you could go down Amazon's search ranking, or worse, get your account suspended.
The existence of counterfeit sellers can also mess up with Amazon's system. Respondents of the previously mentioned survey declared that they lost their trust in Amazon after buying the fake product. Counterfeiters also mess up with Amazon's MAP or Minimum Advertised Cost. MAP is an agreement between manufacturers and resellers on how much a particular product should be priced at. This is an arrangement often bypassed by counterfeiters causing damage to the whole marketplace and selling community.
To address the rise of hijackers and counterfeiters, multiple Amazon brand protection services were developed. Collectively called the Amazon Brand Registry, these services allow the sellers to protect their brand by providing proof to their genuineness. It provides tools for sellers to find listings copied from their product or their photos used by another listing that is not their own.
The Amazon Brand Registry offers to control every lusting that carries your brand in the said marketplace. It also allows you to personally conduct an in-depth global search, image search, ASIN, and URL search to detect potential infringement cases. Amazon Brand Registry also provides a comprehensive workflow on how to process and address the cases that you will find.
Generally, Amazon Brand Registry will require you to have a trademark registered in every country you plan to operate in. These trademarks can either be text-based or image-based. You must present proof of ownership of this trademark upon signing in in the Amazon Brand Registry through your seller account.
Below are two of the tools offered under Amazon brand protection services:
Project Zero is a tool that aims to eliminate hijackers and counterfeiters in the Amazon marketplace totally. It's self-automated and allows you to scan the whole marketplace for listings like yours that has an uncanny resemblance to your own listings. Project Zero also has a product serialization feature that produces a unique serial code for each manufactured item placed in the packaging.
To be able to be eligible for this service, you must be registered under the Amazon Brand Registry and a trademark registered under the government. In addition to these certifications, you must also present proof of infringement reports submitted within the last six months, with an acceptance rate of 90%.
Similar to Project Zero, Transparency also provides a product serialization service. A seller can input product information into the application and generate unique codes for each product unit. These codes are placed on Amazon's packaging to scan for authenticity before sending it to the customers (if registered under FBA). This also comes with an app that customers can use to check authenticity themselves.
To be eligible for this service, you must show proof that you own the brand and a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) on your products. You also have to show evidence that you can put these GTINs on every single inventory as the service is only limited to producing the code.
From what you have probably noticed from Amazon's brand protection services, the tools they provided are self-handled. These hijack tracer and product serialization services are good ideas and are definitely helpful in keeping hijackers away, but they would also require your time and effort to monitor regularly. Fortunately, there are Amazon brand protection teams available to take the burden off your shoulders. Here's what an Amazon brand protection team can help you with:
A dedicated Amazon brand protection team is available 24/7 to screen the ins and outs of the Amazon marketplace to spot hijackers. This enables them to act immediately should they spot an unusually similar listing to yours.
Through different tools and thorough research, the moment a hijacker is identified, Amazon policy measures are immediately taken. This can take down the disruptive listing before any seller finds it and causes more significant damage.
With a team of Amazon experts doing the actions and surveillance for you, you can focus on growing your business without the agony of being subject to fraud listings. You will have more time to focus on more critical tasks, like product development, research, and marketing.
There are a lot of techniques that you can apply as a seller to prevent your listing from being hijacked. First on the list is to make sure that your logo or brand name is seen in your product photos. If you personally design or produce your own products, you can add small details or features that hijackers might not be able to spot or copy. You can also create product bundles to avoid your listings to be copied easily.
In the event that you find one of your listings hijacked, you can send a letter to the hijacker to inform him or her of your legal actions if he does not take down the listing immediately. If the hijacker doesn't comply, you can report the case directly to Amazon. You can also order from this fake listing and report the item as fake once the product arrives.
Dealing with hijackers and counterfeiters doesn't only affect current sales; it can also irreparably damage your brand and reputation. Although the existence of fraud can be daunting, especially for small businesses, it shouldn't stop you from thriving on Amazon and building an e-commerce space that is safe for all the parties involved.
If you want to know more about how an Amazon brand protection team can assist you, contact us at [email protected].
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