Amazon Blocks More Than 10 Billion Listings Amid Counterfeit Crackdown

By Jason Hall

May 11, 2021

Amazon announced it has blocked more than 10 billion listings in its effort to crack down on counterfeits connected to its website amid pressure from shoppers, brands and lawmakers.

The company announced the data as part of its first report on anti-counterfeiting efforts since implementing new tools and technologies in 2019, the Associated Press reports.

Amazon's data showed the company blocked 67% more suspected bad listings than the previous year. Representatives for the company said the number of counterfeiters attempting to sell on its website increased as even more buyers opted for online shopping amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon has experienced counterfeiting concerns throughout its existence, but has put even more focus on the issue since 2019, which included warning investors in government filings that the sale of phony goods would pose a threat to the company and its image. Brands may be steered away from selling items on the website if they know fake alternatives can be offered and knock-off purchases could lose customers.

Counterfeiters attempt to sell their products through Amazon's third-party marketplace, which allows users to sell their items directly online. The company said 2 million counterfeit products were destroyed after being sent to warehouses prior to sales last year and less than 0.01% of all items bought on the website received counterfeit complaints from buyers.

Amazon said it is capable of spotting counterfeit items prior to sales with machine-learning technology, which automatically scans listings to remove suspected counterfeits. The company also said it provides brands with a way to remove fake items from the site themselves, rather than reporting it to the company and waiting for a response.

Several lawmakers have publicly aimed to reduce counterfeits online. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) re-introduced the INFORM Consumers Act earlier this year, which requires third-party sellers to be verified and disclose their name and address to shoppers. The bill has yet to be voted on in the Senate as of Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

Amazon and other online sellers have opposed the bill over concerns that it discourages individuals from starting their own small businesses and selling online, but big-box physical retails have supported the bill, arguing that they have already followed the guidelines to ensure their shelves exclude fake products.

Amazon said it spent more than $700 million on its fraud and anti-counterfeiting efforts, which included 10,000 employees focusing on anti-counterfeiting, in 2020.

Photo: Getty Images

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