Amazon.com, which has been under pressure from shoppers, brands, and legislators to crack down on counterfeits on its site, blocked more than 10 billion suspected counterfeit listings last year before selling any of its offerings.
The numbers were released in Amazon's first report on its anti-counterfeiting efforts since it announced new tools and technologies in 2019. The number of fake listings blocked last year increased 67% from the previous year.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant said the number of counterfeiters trying to sell on the site increased as scammers tried to take advantage of shoppers who were buying more online during the pandemic.
Amazon has been dealing with counterfeits for years. But since 2019, investors in government filings have warned that the sale of counterfeit products poses a risk to the company and its image. Brands may not want to sell their products on the site if they know that counterfeit versions are offered. And knockoffs can cause shoppers to lose trust in Amazon.
Counterfeiters try to get their products on Amazon through the third-party marketplace, as sellers can list their items directly on the site. The company destroyed the 2 million counterfeit products that were sent to warehouses last year before they were sold. It said that less than 0.01% of all items purchased on the site have received false complaints from buyers.
Amazon said it can stop counterfeiters before they can sell anything thanks to its machine learning technology, which automatically scans listings to weed out fake suspects. The company also offers brands a way to remove fake items from the site themselves, rather than reporting them to Amazon and waiting for them to do something.
The company's efforts come as lawmakers look for ways to curb online counterfeiting. Two senators, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Dick Durbin of Illinois, both Democrats, have reintroduced a bill this year known as the INFORM Consumer Act. It will require verification of outside sellers and disclosure of your name and address to buyers. The bill was introduced last year but has not been voted on.
Amazon and smaller online stores such as eBay and Etsy are against the bill due in part to concerns that it may discourage people from starting a small business and selling online. But groups that represent real big-box retailers, like Home Depot and Lowe's, support it because they say it rewards the playing field because real retailers really make sure their shelves are free of counterfeits.
Amazon said it spent more than $ 700 million last year on its anti-counterfeiting efforts and has 10,000 people working on it. The company has also filed joint lawsuits with the brands, including a lawsuit earlier this year with Salvatore Ferragamo against counterfeiters selling high-end brand belts on the site.
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