Amazon vs. Counterfeiters – an Endless Game of Whack-a-Mole?

By scoutadmin - December 02, 2016

More tough reports are coming out that challenge the appeal of Amazon – for both buyers and sellers. Both are getting ripped off, which can make all parties think twice about participation.

Well, Not all Parties

Counterfeiters are making out very well on the largest and most trusted Internet-based retailer in the world.

According to this Bloomberg article, long-time businesses on Amazon are having their intellectual property stolen and sold at double the rate, they estimate. As the article states:

… a hot-selling product on Amazon encourages counterfeiters to make flimsy knockoffs with cheap materials, steal sales and damage a brand with few consequences.

Amazon has known the problem is getting worse, according to a source familiar with the matter, but for years, the company has been largely silent about the flourishing fakes. That has frustrated manufacturers and brand owners who bear the cost and responsibility of policing the site, reporting problems and hoping Amazon takes action.

In response, Amazon says it has spent millions on experts in the hopes of quashing counterfeiters. Despite the investment and effort, counterfeiters continue to thrive.

Some refer to the seemingly fruitless efforts to combat copycats that have thoroughly infiltrated operations as “an endless game of Whack-a-Mole.”

Amazon’s Plan to Reassure Legit Business

To the company’s credit, Amazon has done more than many other online retailers to combat IP theft. Moving forward, a recently released statement from the company says that it’ll be investing much more into their efforts, including for major retailers such as the NFL and MLB.

One method to be used will be a registry, in which verified brands, and only verified brands, can sell products bearing a company’s IP.

Until the company can better control its problem with counterfeits, there are steps brand owners can make to protect their property:

  • Although many have complained about the process, you can (and should) report infringement of your brand on the site. Sellers and buyers have separate “contact us forms” to fill out
  • Be proactive! The more of a detailed report you can offer entities like Amazon or more formal authorities, the better
  • If you have copycat problems on Amazon, chances are, your brand is being compromised elsewhere – be vigilant for counterfeit leads elsewhere
  • Running a business is time-consuming, and the last thing you need is another big project. Easy-to-use software to fight a counterfeiting problem is available, alleviating much of the burden

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