Manufacturers and brands always struggle to extirpate all the counterfeit products, enforce MAP policy violations, and prevent unauthorized reselling on Amazon.
Amazon Project Zero is intended to help brand owners crackdown on misleading and false products listing on Amazon themselves with the help of the Project Zero removal tool.
What is Amazon Project Zero?
The biggest e-commerce site on the planet is constantly struggling with the scourge of counterfeits, spending millions and hiring thousands to police the gigantic market facilitating third-party firms to sell their goods.
The Washington Post reported the company spent 400 million dollars in a year to fight fraud and abuse, quoting former executives of the e-commerce giant.
The Post explained how the plethora of counterfeit products on the platform was harming consumer trust.
Under the Brand Registry program, a new toolset by the name of Project Zero is launched for the brands to deal with counterfeiting.
Amazon Project Zero has three main components – automated protection, product serialization, self-service counterfeit removal.
1. Automated Protection
Utilizes the power of machine learning and scans the Amazon stores continuously for any counterfeit products and proactively removes suspected counterfeits.
This tool works with the information provided by brands about themselves like logos, trademarks, etc.
The ML-powered application has the capacity of scanning over five billion listing daily listing update attempts, looking for suspected fake.
2. Self-Service Counterfeit Removal
This service makes the life of a brand owner very simple and easy. As brands no longer need to contact Amazon requesting the removal of particular counterfeit hijacked listings from its stores, saving time and in return cost.
The unprecedented ability to remove counterfeit listings makes Project Zero very tempting.
The self-service tool allows all the registered brand and industry owners to remove fake or hijacked listings from Amazon while Amazon gets the needed data for its machine learning algorithms to strengthen its automated protections.
Companies can benefit from proactively catching, removing, and banning counterfeiters.
3. Product Serialization
To facilitate the product authentication process, sellers apply unique codes to every unit of product under their registered brand.
Enabling Amazon and the customers as well to scan and confirm the authenticity of each unit purchased in Amazon stores.
This feature can also aid Amazon in detecting counterfeit products before it reaches the customer.
From faulty earphones to imitative bags, counterfeit products foster negative results both for the brands and consumers.
Amazon’s Project Zero is designed to restrain the menace and empower brands with the power to take appropriate action.
Amazon is offering its cutting-edge technology and machine learning capabilities while also counting on brands to use their industry knowledge and intellectual property rights to proactively thwart counterfeit attempts.
To better understand this program, there are some Frequently asked questions:
1. Where is Project Zero available?
As of now, Project Zero is only available to the brands in the U.S., UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, India, and Canada.
2. I have joined Brand Registry but haven’t reported a violation via the Report a Violation tool. Will I be eligible for Project Zero?
Not exactly, you’ll need to first submit any number of reports of a potential violation through the Report a Violation tool offered under Amazon Brand Registry.
3. Are registered agents eligible for Project Zero?
No, only rights owners of a trademark are eligible to access Project Zero.
4. How Amazon ensures the Self-Service counterfeit removal tool is not misused or brands make accurate decisions?
Brands need to maintain at least 99 percent accuracy to maintain their Project Zero privileges. There are numerous processes in place to encourage accuracy and monitor the use of Project Zero tools.
5. Can a brand register in one country and enjoy the service in another country?
Yes, once a brand is registered in one country, it automatically enrolls in other countries.
For brands, Project Zero is largely free but not entirely.
The automated protections and self-service counterfeit removal tools are free to all the participant brands while the product serialization will cost a little bit per product.
Amazon doesn’t publicly provide the fee charged for product serialization, as per the third-party reports the estimated price is $0.01 to $0.05 per product, based on volume.
Requirements for Participation
Every brand is entitled to enjoy the Project Zero service regardless of the selling relationship of a particular brand with Amazon.
Previously the Project Zero was an invite-only, which is no longer the case and now every brand can safeguard its products against counterfeiters.
The eligibility criteria for Project Zero is as follows:
- Brand must be registered in Amazon Brand Registry with an official government registered trademark.
- Provide the legal ownership rights of the trademark.
- Must have an Amazon account with Brand Registry access.
- Must have submitted reports of potential infringements with a minimum 90 percent acceptance rate in the last six months.
Project Zero is available to all the brands registered on Amazon Brand Registry in the few countries the program is offered.
A brand must separately apply and complete a training module after enrollment in the program.
Once a brand has registered in Project Zero, it can report an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) or just an offer, and any listing hijackers in a minute!
This way the brand can target and remove an illegitimate seller’s listing or a single product from the listing.
Amazon claims Project Zero can help brand owners in several ways:
- Amazon can search and screen out fakes with its machine learning (ML) based on a brand’s corporate symbols such as trademarks, logos, etc. called automated protections.
- While using self-service counterfeit removal tool brand owners can remove fake listings themselves. Amazon uses this data to improve its ML engine.
- All the products registered on Amazon are given a unique code and this very code is scanned by the Amazon fulfillment centers before they ship them to buyers. So product serialization never allows fakes to reach the buyers.
Steps to Apply to Join Product Zero
First of all, take the necessary steps to register your brand with the government authorities of your country.
This means if you haven’t already got a trademark for your brand name, get one.
This is the primary requirement of starting your application process to list your products in Amazon’s Brand Registry.
Once you’ve registered your brand and have got brand symbols approved by your government. Head over to Amazon Project Zero page and sign in with your Amazon account.
You will be asked to choose the country for specific marketplace account access. Each country has a different marketplace and therefore different ASINs and listings.
Now you will be asked to provide your personal information and the brand information that you want to add to the Brand Registry program.
Once you have given all the information you will be required to complete a training module as part of the Project Zero enrollment to promote accuracy and prevent misuse of the tools.
Now you can access your Project zero portal and perform Self-service counterfeit removal and enjoy the ML-powered automated protection.
Amazon has another program to help sellers to protect their brand products called Transparency.
So, What is Amazon Transparency?
Amazon Transparency is another service under the bigger umbrella of the Brand Registry program.
Transparency is a product serialization service aiming to identify each unit from a particular brand and proactively prevent counterfeits from reaching customers.
Brands need to apply unique barcodes to products as an identifier of legitimacy.
Transparency allows its customers to authenticate any Transparency-enabled product even if the purchase is done on Amazon, any other e-commerce sites, or physical store stores, etc.
Not only that, but brands can also use Transparency to communicate unit-level product information, containing manufacturing place, manufacturing date, product information like ingredients, components, etc.
What is the difference between them?
Amazon Project Zero and Transparency both come under the domain of Brand Registry and are designed to serve the same purpose of eliminating the menace of counterfeit products on the world’s biggest e-commerce store.
However, the two programs differ in their approach to how they protect brands and authenticate products.
Transparency checks counterfeit products periodically and before shipping while the Project Zero scans fake lists on an ongoing basis. Another key variance is that Transparency permits customers to verify products, while Project Zero allows brands to control authentication.
Transparency forces brands to apply a unique proprietary code to products and Project Zero offers a choice to brands to opt into product serialization.
Project Zero is more brand-friendly as it gives direct control and a greater amount of flexibility for brands to leverage such as self-service tools.
Is It Worth Joining the Project Zero Program?
Counterfeit products can pose a major challenge for protecting brand value and customer satisfaction.
Counterfeit sellers are generally third-party vendors that might not even be fulfilled by Amazon.
Before Amazon Project Zero there was little to nothing the brand owners could do to fight counterfeiters on the Marketplace.
Amazon is granting more autonomy to businesses in its stores to streamline the brand protection mechanism.
Project Zero is an important and needed step in the ongoing battle against counterfeit goods and signals the e-commerce giant’s willingness and dedication to thwarting all the fake and bogus sellers on the platform.
But, notice that not to misuse the program to remove all unnecessary listings under yours, or your eligibility for using this self-removal function will be revoked by Amazon.
Amazon is certainly the largest online retailer in the world with more than a million new sellers joining each year.
This massive and unprecedented scale gives rise to a variety of challenges both for the platform and the sellers.
However, tackling these problems has its reward as Amazon offers access to the same large volume of loyal, interested shoppers.
Project Zero presents an opportunity for brands to protect their proprietary products from fraud and prevent any potential buyer from getting a counterfeit product.
This is the only way brands can achieve true marketplace success.
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