Amazon plans to start soon a public listing of the names and addresses of US-based third-party sellers on its Marketplace platform as a measure to fight counterfeiters, as per reports from Business Insider.
The change was announced in a note sent to sellers on Wednesday, and the change goes into effect from September 1st.
“These features help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products that they are selling,” the note says, as per a copy of the note obtained by Business Insider.
It further went on to state “We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.” This change in policy will make it tougher to stay an anonymous seller on Marketplace, and will further create transparency as customers will know exactly which person or entity they’re buying from and where they are located.
“Over the years, we have developed many ways for sellers to share more about their business, including through features like the seller profile pages, ‘Store’ pages for brand owners, and Handmade ‘Maker Profile’ pages,” a company spokesperson says. “These features help customers learn more about sellers’ businesses and their products. Beginning September 1, we will also display sellers’ business name and address on their Amazon.com seller profile page to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.” was a statement given to The Verge, as Amazon confirmed the change in policy.
Business Insider commented that the impetus for providing more transparency around e-commerce transactions was influenced from a January based counterfeiting report from the Department of Homeland Security
“To increase transparency on this issue, platforms should significantly improve their pre-sale identification of third-party sellers so that buyers can make informed decisions, potentially factoring in the likelihood of being sold a counterfeit or IPR infringing merchandise,” the report read.
Amazon has in the past encountered counterfeiting in the Marketplace, which is now responsible for more than half of all of the company’s e-commerce sales. The company has tried a number of tactics over the years, including monitoring suspicious listings and sellers using various automated software and taking action against sellers of items that are prone to price gouging and other forms of fraud, which include face masks and hand sanitizer, during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
The company has also had a strategic understanding with big sellers, like Apple and Nike (which ended its deal last year), to create dedicated storefronts for brands on its platform, although deals like those have had the adverse effect of delisting of some genuine third party sellers,
Last month, Amazon went to the extent to launch a Counterfeit Crimes Unit made up of “former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts” to “go on the offensive” against counterfeiters.
Amazon said it spent $500 million last year to fight fraud, abuse, and counterfeit products, and that it took down 2.5 million potential bad actor accounts shut down 6 billion suspicious listings.
Amazon’s aggressive enforcement in this matter also adheres to the fact that it has had a rocky relationship with the Trump administration, which stems in part from the ongoing feud between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and President Trump over the Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post.
In April, the Office of the US Trade Representative placed five of Amazon’s international websites on the annual ” Notorious Markets” list, in effect labeling Amazon’s international businesses as hot spots for sales of counterfeits. Amazon responded by stating that it was a victim of Trump’s vendetta.
Nonetheless, Amazon has taken active steps in recent months to show that it is seriously taking the issue of counterfeiting.