Offering millions of items for sale on an ever growing marketplace makes it difficult to review every product being sold. Fake products and counterfeit merchandise can harm the reputations of legitimate sellers and also the store that sold the goods. On Thursday, Amazon took to federal court along with Otter Products and Vera Bradley to file suit against counterfeit sellers.
Amazon has adopted a much tougher stance on counterfeit product sales since 2015 but is still having a difficult time finding and removing potential scammers. Every time a handful of dishonest sellers are banned, several more appear in place with more creative methods of deception.
Despite the difficultly in identifying and appropriately handling suspected scammers, Amazon says there are dedicated teams addressing the issue. Research scientists, software engineers, program managers and investigators employ routine scanning with software tools and human review to check for illegal products.
A major difficultly in the prevention of fake products is actually obtaining a product to check for validity. Interception of shipments requires court or law enforcement involvement. Once one delivery of product is found to be legitimate, scammers are aware that it is not feasible to repeatedly stop shipments for verification of origin.
Brand reputation is a major concern for Amazon and other retailers alike. Recently, Elevation Lab decided to publicly shame Jeff Bezos and Amazon for not doing enough to protect brand image. The Elevation Lab's The Anchor was a victim of countless fakes being sold on Amazon. Elevation Lab has since decided to leave Amazon as a result.
The battle of finding scammers will undoubtedly be an arduous journey with little reward for Amazon but it must be done to appease sellers that generate revenue and attract customers to the platform.