Amazon’s Project Zero will let brands remove counterfeit listings of their products

By Chaim Gartenberg

Amazon announced a new initiative today called Project Zero, a new effort that the online retailer is rolling out with the goal of eliminating counterfeit products from the site. Once approved, brands that join Project Zero will be able to directly flag and remove counterfeit listings of their products from Amazon on their own.

Previously, companies who had seen fake versions of their products would have to submit a request to Amazon, which would evaluate the claim and remove it, sort of like YouTube’s copyright takedown process. Now, though, companies that are part of Project Zero will have the power to remove products without Amazon’s approval, marking a huge shift in how the company has managed this process.

There is some oversight — Project Zero, for now, is an invite-only program, so only Amazon’s chosen brands will be allowed to join and remove listings. Amazon says that it’s granting brands the power because it believes that “the combined strengths of Amazon and brands can drive counterfeits to zero,” but also notes that “brands must maintain a high bar for accuracy in order to maintain their Project Zero privileges.” The company will also be requiring that Project Zero users undergo required training, and says that it’ll be actively monitoring to prevent abuses.

Along with giving companies the power to remove fake listings, Amazon is also rolling out two other components of Project Zero. There’s an enhanced automated protection system, where companies provide Amazon with their logos, trademarks, and other information about their brand, which Amazon then uses to scan its listings and remove fake products.

Additionally, Amazon is offering an optional product serialization service for companies that would have them put a unique, Amazon serial code on their products during manufacturing that will then allow Amazon to scan and confirm that a given products is authentic before it ever leaves a warehouse. Unlike the automated copy protection system and the self-serve option to delete listings, which are free for brands that are accepted to Project Zero, the serialization service will cost between $0.01 and $0.05 per unit, depending on volume.

While there’s no easy way to sign up for Project Zero yet, interested brands can head to Amazon’s site to join a waitlist.