Amazon and Counterfeit Products: Are They Really Are Here to Stay?

June 9, 2022

Counterfeit products once took some effort to locate. A quick trip to Orchard Street in lower Manhattan might yield some interesting finds. How about a $10 Rolex. A jaunt through a side street in Wuhan? A visit to a certain store in a shopping center in Bangkok? A journey to a jeweler located in a suburb of San Antonio?

But the Disneyland of counterfeits is the wonderful, clickable world of ecommerce. And who is the ageing Big Daddy of ecommerce?

Yep, Amazon, it seems to me, adopts the policy of Big Daddy Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: “I don’t want to talk about that.”

However, “Amazon Sees Dip in Sellers Signing Up to Sell Counterfeits” makes it clear that Amazon is talking or possibly PR’ing.

The article states:

Amazon said it ramped up investments in 2021 to keep counterfeit products off its retail site and saw signs its efforts are working, according to an annual brand protection report it released Wednesday [June 8, 2022].  The company spent more than $900 million on its anti-counterfeit programs and employed over 12,000 people focused on the problem in 2021. That’s up from $700 million and 10,000 people in the prior year.

But the important point in my opinion appears in this statement:

The increasing investment of money and manpower from Amazon is necessary, said Mary Beth Westmoreland, vice president of technology at Amazon.  “That unfortunately speaks to the fact the problem of counterfeit isn’t going away,” Westmoreland said, adding, “it’s an industry-wide problem.”

The PR-ish write up explains that Amazon is using smart software and lines of communication so bad actors can be … what? … Well, Amazon sues and it relies on Chinese authorities to raid a warehouse with fraudulent good.

Does Amazon’s posture indicate that persistent crime is now part of the Amazon experience. I recall the fascinating process of explaining to Amazon that one of its “merchants” shipped me a pair of big red panties instead of an AMD 5900x cpu. Yep, lines of communication. Fraud.

Perhaps Amazon should step away from its third party merchants with made up words, vendors identified by customers as shipping interesting but mostly faux products, and deals with aggregating merchants working from apartments in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other exotic locations?

Just a thought because the PR’ing seems to be similar to certain big tech companies’ thanking senators for a question.

Stephen E Arnold, June 9, 2022


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