Amazon Transparency vs. Project Zero

Blogs | February 18, 2021

As more and more third-party sellers flood the Amazon marketplace, Amazon has seen a need to create new programs to help protect brands and their products. An increase in sellers results in more potential for product misrepresentation, counterfeiting, and products being sold in poor condition. With customer satisfaction being Amazon’s top priority, two programs have been put in place geared towards preventing counterfeit items from getting in the hands of customers.

Launched in early 2016, Amazon’s Transparency program assists brands in their own fight against counterfeit goods. For a small fee, participating brands are issued scannable barcodes that are placed on every unit they produce, whether it will be sold on Amazon, in retail stores, or shipped to distributors, etc. These barcodes allow Amazon to scan and ensure that only authentic products are being shipped to their warehouse and in turn, sold to customers. Once an item is sold, consumers can use the Transparency app and scan the barcodes as well to ensure they purchased an authentic product. 

What does this mean for Amazon and the participating brands? For any brand that enrolls a product, Amazon and the brand can be assured that only genuine units will go through an Amazon warehouse and be sold to consumers. This helps prevent product misrepresentation that may lead to poor seller and product reviews for the brand. What this program can’t safeguard are those items that are shipped directly by sellers, as they never pass through the hands of Amazon.

For the Transparency program to be effective, brands should enroll newly launched products before they are distributed for sale. This will increase the likelihood that every single unit distributed and sold will be labeled with an appropriate Transparency code.

The second anti-counterfeiting program created by Amazon, named Project Zero, has automated features to help prevent third-party sellers from creating counterfeit listings. When a brand enrolls in the program, they will provide Amazon with trademark information, logos, etc. for Amazon to use as reference points. Amazon will scan over 5 billion listing creation attempts daily by third-party sellers to detect potential counterfeits. If a listing is flagged, it will be blocked from Amazon’s catalog. While Brand Registry exists to allow brands to report counterfeit listings, Project Zero removes this manual aspect of the process. Unique serial codes are also applied to each unit of a product a manufacturer has enrolled in the program. Amazon will scan each product before it is sold and shipped to prevent counterfeit items from reaching customers. 

With two similar programs in place, brands might be unsure which is the most beneficial program for them. What Transparency and Project Zero have in common are the unique codes applied to each unit of a product a brand enrolls. This prevents counterfeits from making their way to customers, via an Amazon or retail purchase. What Project Zero has that Transparency does not is Amazon’s automated system to help stop counterfeiting before it even reaches the Amazon marketplace. By eliminating the possibility of counterfeit listing creations, we are one step closer to ending the counterfeit issue on Amazon.

For background, check out my previous post on Amazon Project Zero vs. Brand Registry: https://tinyurl.com/projzerobr

As always, please reach out to learn more about these programs and if they might be beneficial to your brand.

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