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5 Tips to Protect Your Brand When Selling on Amazon

Last week, we gave 6 tips to help Amazon sellers avoid counterfeit complaints. This week, we’re trying
to increase counterfeit complaints. What’s going on? Well, brand owners sell on Amazon, too, and we
want to help protect them from black hat sellers looking to profit illegally off of their products. The
bottom line is we’re always on the side of the good guys: innocent sellers brought down by false
counterfeit claims AND legitimate brand owners looking to stop real counterfeits.

As we discussed last week, Amazon cares much more about the second group, at the expense of the
first. In an effort to get counterfeits in its marketplace to zero, Amazon catches a lot of innocent sellers
in its crossfire. But despite this clear preference, we find that many legitimate brand owners still aren’t
aware of all of the resources Amazon gives them to protect themselves. Worse, Amazon sometimes
gives those sellers bad information that ends up causing considerable damage. So, we’re here to help. If
you’re a brand owner, use these 5 tips to protect your products from counterfeit on Amazon.

Account Suspension

1. Understand Amazon’s View
Normally we advise our Amazon seller clients on how to navigate the challenges that come with Amazon
always siding with the customer. After all, sellers are often presumed guilty until proven innocent, and
they have to keep up with Amazon’s ever-growing and ever-changing policies. In the case of protecting
your brand, however, Amazon is on your side! Indeed, Amazon’s number one priority is to ensure its
customers have a great experience, and receiving knock-off goods is not a great experience. So, by
helping you protect your brand, Amazon is helping its customers.

This is important context to have because you should never feel alone on any counterfeit issues. If you
think your products are getting knocked off – or simply sold without your permission – or someone is
stealing your intellectual property, don’t worry that stopping them is too tough and allow them to get
away with it. Amazon has your back, and you should take advantage of the resources available to you to
fight back.

2. Register Your Brand
First up among those resources is brand registry. If you are a legitimate brand owner on Amazon and
you have not yet registered your brand, stop reading and do that right now. According to Amazon,
sellers who register their brand report a 99% reduction in suspected infringement. That is why we advise
all brand owners to take this step immediately. While brand registry is simple for most, we are here to
help if you run into any hiccups or want advice on the best way to do it and ensure your protection.

3. Take Advantage of Project Zero
Once your brand is registered, you have several additional resources to protect it under
Amazon’s Project Zero efforts. Project Zero is Amazon’s three-year-old focus of driving counterfeits
to…you guess it, zero. First up, and easiest for you, Amazon’s AI will get to work on your behalf right
away. Based on the data you submitted during brand registry, Amazon’s robots scan billions of listing
updates each day to ensure no one is trying to infringe on your protected products.

Even more impactfully, you now have the power to remove counterfeit listings as you see them. Here,
Amazon’s guilty until proven innocent outlook helps you. You can remove infringing listings quickly, and
the bad actor will have to prove to Amazon that they are not, in fact, counterfeit.

Careful here, though. Do NOT use this feature to falsely target competitors. Not just because that’s
unethical, but because it’s also a clear violation of Amazon’s policies, and Amazon will catch you. Sellers using Project Zero protections must maintain at least a 90% accuracy rate in reporting infringements. If
you fall below that, Amazon will take away your ability to remove future violations, and if it thinks you
are intentionally submitting false claims, it will almost certainly suspend you. If your account has been
suspended for this, or if you think you are being unfairly targeted by a competitor, let us know – we can
help.

4. Enroll in Transparency
Transparency is another program Amazon offers to brand-registered sellers to reassure customers and
root out counterfeits. With Transparency, brand owners put a code on each unit they produce, which
Amazon then scans before it goes out to ensure the product is authentic. Not only will this catch most
counterfeits before they are shipped to customers, but customers can participate too. Anyone who buys
your good can scan the code for themselves and confirm that the product is legitimate. That builds trust
for you, and it gives you an army of people able to report if they receive a counterfeit good that falls
under one of your brands. You can learn more and sign up using Amazon’s brand services.

5. Don’t File Claims Against Yourself
This last one sounds obvious, but there’s a wrinkle – and it’s one not all Amazon representatives have
figured out. We had a client whose listing got hijacked. Hijacking is when a black hat seller finds an ASIN
that is performing well, or has a strong sales history, and then they change the ASIN into something
completely different. In this case, the listing went from toilet seat covers to a microphone! New picture,
new description, same ASIN. Unfortunately, this is becoming increasingly common on Amazon.

Our client was understandably devastated, and she called Amazon for help. The person on the phone
told her to file an infringement claim, and she did. But here’s the problem: it was a claim against her
own ASIN. Once she got her listing back, it was still disabled because it had a copyright complaint filed
not against the bad seller, but against the ASIN itself. Even more frustrated and not sure where to go
next, the seller enlisted our support. This one took a while to get Amazon to discover the error and
reinstate our client so she could start selling again – but we got it done.

And we can for you too. If you’re struggling with a false counterfeit claim that you or someone else
made – or you’re a brand owner looking to protect your products and aren’t sure where to start – let us
know. As long as you’re one of the good guys, we’d be glad to help.

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