What was Amazon’s response to the House Subcommittee Hearing on ‘Fake and Unsafe Products Online’?
Online marketplaces like Amazon have become massive revenue drivers for brands, but rising authenticity and quality concerns have the potential to destroy consumer trust. We spoke to Kiri Masters, Bobsled CEO & retail contributor for Forbes, about how Amazon recently responded to the House of Representatives.
Hi Kiri! In a nutshell, what’s going on with this hearing?
The House is investigating how stolen, counterfeit, recalled, mislabeled, expired and/or
inappropriately stored products can be sold through online marketplaces such as Amazon, and how this negatively impacts consumers. Amazon sent a representative to last Wednesday’s hearing.
What was Amazon’s response to the claims leveled at them?
An Amazon representative rolled out all of their standard brand protection talking points. Things like Amazon prevents millions of product listing attempts by bad actors per year using state-of-the-art algorithms, they have 8,000 anti-fraud on staff, and that Amazon invested over $500M in 2019 alone to try and solve this problem.
Do you think Amazon’s doing enough to stop counterfeiting on their platform?
No. Some measures have been put in place. But it’s really just scratching the surface. For example, Project Zero, a program that is touted as Amazon’s solution to counterfeiting, has an extremely low enrollment rate. Only 9,000 merchants have signed up since 2019. For context, there are millions of sellers on Amazon.com.
Above: Dharmesh M. Mehta, VP of Worldwide Customer Trust and Partner Support at Amazon.com appearing before the House. Image source: YouTube
What needs to change moving forward?
Amazon needs to improve the Project Zero and Transparency programs so they are more user-friendly and effective at punishing bad actors. There also needs to be better identification of sellers, sharing information between marketplaces, and higher barriers to entry for new sellers. Due to increased pressure from regulators and public attention on the matter, I’m bullish on Amazon making some changes.
Want More Expert Insight From Kiri?
The above is just a snippet of Kiri’s latest Amazon Weekly News Digest, which is delivered via email to subscribers every Friday. Here’s all the topics that were covered in last Friday’s digest.
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