Is Amazon “notorious”?
Amazon France and India should be added to US list
An article posted by CNN recently states that a trade group called “The American Apparel and Footwear Association” has recommended that Amazon France and Amazon India should be added to the US “notorious markets” list. This list is put together by the US government each year and tries to highlight markets with counterfeit issues.
Does Amazon have a counterfeit problem?
Amazon often states publicly that it is working hard to stop counterfeit sellers on its platform. But unfortunately, this does not seem to be enough to stop the practice from happening across its global markets. The American Apparel and Footwear Association recommended that the UK, Germany and Canadian sites should be added to the list prior to recommending Amazon India and Amazon France. The association wrote a letter to the U.S Trade Representative on Monday 30th of September to make the suggestion.
A lot of the counterfeit activity comes from Amazon’s third-party seller marketplace. Not only have there been numerous instances of counterfeit products, but many stories of unsafe products have also come to pass. Although Amazon is driving forward an initiative called “Project Zero” to uncover counterfeits, it still falls down to the brands themselves to take care of their own brand protection in most of the cases. Another brand protection feature that Amazon hoped would increase their overall image as a “safe” marketplace to buyers and sellers was their brand registry. This feature is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Amazon itself admitted that it needs to do more to resolve this issue earlier in the year.
(Amazon will see this recommendation as a setback, but it should not impact their other global marketplaces)
What does this mean for Amazon?
Let’s face it: this doesn’t mean a lot for Amazon. Whether it gets put on the notorious markets list or not, it is still likely to have the lion’s share of the countries’ markets it is successful in. In a way, admitting that it has a counterfeit problem has actually benefited the company, as incidences like this do little to harm them.
In a climate where large social media companies hide data harvesting, it’s almost refreshing to users to hear a company as big as Amazon admit they have made a mistake. But where this will potentially hurt Amazon is in markets where it is not the dominant force. Many of the South East Asian platforms that are runaway successes have figured out ahead of the curve how much they need to invest in brand protection.
With the bigger players like Alibaba and Tencent acquiring the smaller ones, it looks like they will have the resources to follow through on this. It was recently reported that Lazada is going to use Alibaba’s IP platform. With many of the SEA marketplaces looking to expand into Europe, they could eventually pose a serious threat to Amazon.
(A screenshot of the platform Alibaba are letting Lazada use)
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