“Ditching Amazon” to Avoid Counterfeits — Does It Work?


The answer is no.

The Verge published an article yesterday titled Amazon still sells counterfeit goods despite efforts to clean up, outlining the problems brands face regarding fake and unauthorized goods being sold on the Amazon marketplace. In 2016, Apple performed an audit on a 3rd-party seller and found that “nearly 90 percent of the goods were fakes.” Amazon responded by launching (and shortly after, enhancing) Brand Registry, a tool for brands to differentiate themselves from counterfeits.

Ditching Amazon

“The number of counterfeits on Amazon’s Marketplace has convinced several retailers to ditch the service,” the article reads, “including brands like Birkenstock and Swiss watchmaker Swatch.” But it’s far from that simple. Let’s take a look at a quick search for “Birkenstock” on Amazon:

With over 1,000 results, paid sponsors, and Amazon awarding an Amazon’s Choice badge to a product, it’s clear that Birkenstock is far from removed from the marketplace. The same is true for Swatch. Amazon is the Wild West, and by “ditching” the platform, brands are choosing to fire the only sheriff in town.

A practical solution

According to Amazon via The Guardian, “brands in Brand Registry on average are finding and reporting 99 percent fewer suspected infringements than before the launch of Brand Registry.” This statement alone makes Brand Registry sound like an ideal solution, but there’s more to the story. Brand Registry is a tool — it simply provides brands with some of the resources they need to identify and report counterfeit sellers, but it requires a dedicated workforce to function.

We see from the Birkenstock example that shoppers will continue buying products on Amazon — even from brands that do not participate on the marketplace. An active Amazon presence can be a solution to protecting a brand’s image, providing authentic products, and delivering on-brand experiences, particularly as an increasing number of shoppers choose to use the platform.

This article is part of a series of daily posts called Quick Bites.

For more about this subject, read CEO Brian Golsalves’ 2016 article Get In or Get Out: Control is a Choice For Brands on Amazon.