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06/10/2022

Amazon spent over $900 million to stop brand fraud in 2021

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon is dedicating more resources to fight counterfeiting and fraud.

Amazon continues upping the ante in its efforts to protect the integrity of goods sold on its site.

During 2021, Amazon spent more than $900 million and had more than 12,000 people—including machine learning scientists, software developers, and investigators—dedicated to protecting customers, brands, selling partners, and their store from counterfeit, fraud, and other forms of abuse. These figures compare to the more than $700 million and more than 10,000 people employed to protect brands during 2020.

Here are some highlights from the company’s second annual Amazon Brand Protection Report:

  • Deterring and stopping bad actors: Amazon says it stopped more than 2.5 million attempts to create fraudulent selling accounts during 2021, preventing these bad actors from publishing any products for sale. This is down from more than 6 million attempts the prior year, which Amazon credits to seller and product vetting, along with deterrent efforts to hold bad actors accountable.
  • Increasing Adoption of Brand Protection Tools: The Amazon Brand Registry, a suite of tools to build and protect a brand on Amazon, grew to include more than 700,000 active brands, an increase of 40% from the prior year. At the same time, the average number of valid notices of infringement submitted to Amazon by a company participating in Brand Registry decreased by 25% from the prior year.
  • Holding counterfeiters accountable: Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit(CCU) continued to focus on ensuring that counterfeiters are held accountable for abusing Amazon’s stores and those of other retailers across the industry. In 2021, Amazon’s CCU filed civil litigation against more than 170 counterfeiters in U.S. courts; and also sued or referred more than 600 criminals for investigation in the U.S., U.K., E.U., and China, an increase of more than 300% from 2020.
  • Identifying and seizing counterfeits: According to Amazon, it identified, seized, and disposed of more than 3 million counterfeit products. This figure includes counterfeits that were sent to Amazon’s fulfillment centers and situations where Amazon worked with brands and law enforcement to find counterfeiters’ warehouses and facilities, and then get them shut down.
  • Forging public-private partnerships: Amazon published a blueprint for public and private sector partnership to stop counterfeiters, building on learning and progress in protecting Amazon’s store. This included the importance of information exchanges in the private sector to stop counterfeiters across retailers, partnering with customs to protect the borders, and the need for increasing resources for law enforcement to prosecute counterfeiters.

Amazon also offers third-party sellers a variety of other tools and services to help detect and prevent fraud. These include Amazon Transparency, a serialization service that protects individual product units, which the company says enabled the protection of more than 500 million product units. Other solutions include Project Zero, which provides automated protections that continuously scan Amazon’s online stores using ML; and Brand Registry, a free service that provides third-party sellers with tools that manage and protect their brand and IP rights in Amazon stores.

“Our team continues to innovate to stay ahead of bad actors while working in partnership with rights owners, law enforcement, and other experts to ensure customers can continue to shop with confidence,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s VP of Selling Partner Services. “While we are proud of the progress we have made, we will not stop until we drive counterfeits to zero in our store.”