3 Ways to Follow Up With Amazon Counterfeiters & Unauthorized Sellers

January 26, 2018

3 Ways You Can Handle Counterfeiters and Unauthorized Sellers on AmazonThe problem with Amazon counterfeiting, specifically in its third-party marketplace, has evolved to the point of making frequent news headlines. In late 2017, German automaker Daimler AG filed a trademark lawsuit against Amazon due to the extensive catalog of fake Mercedes Benz parts on the retail giant’s marketplace. Daimler’s legal team was likely trying to catch the wave of attention created by another case filed in Germany by legendary footwear brand Birkenstock, which has had a contentious relationship with Amazon and has tried everything to keeps its iconic sandals from being listed on the marketplace.

Counterfeiters are part of the so-called Amazon “gray market,” which is also comprised of dropshippers and unauthorized sellers willing to bend the rules to either make a quick buck or gain a competitive edge by means of cutthroat tactics. Any brand or merchant on Amazon can be affected by gray market practitioners. The problem is that many newcomers incorrectly assume that Amazon’s seemingly infinite resources will protect them from these scoundrels. The truth is that Amazon has had a pretty hard time dealing with gray market operations in its midst. At any rate, the company stands to benefit from every sale made.

Now that Amazon is feeling the heat of civil court cases, the company has rolled out a couple of programs to help sellers handle rogue merchants and counterfeiters. As of early 2018, here are the 3 best ways to deal with these unpleasant saboteurs of the e-commerce world:

      1. Brand Registry and Brand Gating

These are the two aforementioned programs that Amazon has introduced in recent years to alleviate the issue of counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers. Brand Registry is for businesses that have properly registered their trademarks in the jurisdictions where they intend to market and sell their products. This program is more effective in terms of intellectual property protection than actually preventing your product listings falling prey to hijackers. Brand Gating started off as a way to entice Nike to offer its products on Amazon while allowing the sporting goods giant to control its iconic brand and investigate counterfeiting on the marketplace. While Brand Gating is no longer confined to major brands, it involves a complicated approval process for smaller merchants.

      1. Active Monitoring of Amazon Products

Sellers should not assume that their Brand Registry and Brand Gating applications will be approved immediately; nor should they assume that rogue sellers would not be able to find ways to get around these systems. Active monitoring, the type Nike brand representatives conduct on Amazon on a daily basis, is the best practice that sellers can adopt to protect their products since it allows them to take early action. To this effect, sellers who have introduced 10 or more new products to the marketplace should look into solutions such as Brandlox, a subscription service that monitors the retail activity of items that have been assigned Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs). Each time Brandlox spots suspicious ASIN activity, sellers are immediately notified, which allows them to take appropriate measures described in the next step.

      1. Cease and Desist, Test Purchases and Seller Support

Brandlox subscribers also have the option to target unauthorized sellers and counterfeiters with cease and desist letters as well as test purchases. Doing so will create the digital trail and evidence necessary for Amazon to take action and suspend the accounts of rogue sellers if needed. Most unauthorized sellers who are not aware of Brand Gating will comply upon receiving a notice. Counterfeiters will likely be flushed out by Amazon Seller Support the moment they are detected.

Contact a Brandlox representative to learn more about this protective solution for your Amazon business.

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