Amazon blocked 10 billion counterfeit listings and spent $700M fighting fraud on its site last year

(Illustration via Amazon Brand Protection Report)

As part of a continued effort to show that it’s serious about cracking down on counterfeit goods sold on its platform, Amazon said Monday that it blocked more than 10 billion suspected bad listings before they were published in its stores last year.

The number is included in Amazon’s 2020 Brand Protection Report, its first-ever attempt at showcasing — for customers, legitimate brands and legislators — the steps the e-commerce giant is taking to combat counterfeit products on Amazon.com.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen increased attempts by bad actors to commit fraud and offer counterfeit products,” Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of customer trust and partner support at Amazon, wrote in a blog post. “Our teams have continued to innovate to protect our store, helped our selling partners keep their virtual doors open, and ensured that the vast majority of customers continue to shop with confidence from our broad selection of authentic products.”

As overall e-commerce has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon’s net sales jumped dramatically, up 44% over last year to $108.5 billion in this year’s first quarter. Millions of third-party sellers have been drawn to Amazon and those sales make up about 55% of sales on Amazon, according to the market research site Statista. Revenue from third-party seller services hit $23.7 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 60% year-over-year.

Last June, the company announced the creation of a “Counterfeit Crimes Unit” to bolster its fight against knock-off products. In its new report, Amazon said it has invested over $700 million to protect its stores from fraud and abuse and employed more than 10,000 people to work on the effort.

The company says it’s using a combination of “advanced machine learning capabilities” and “expert human investigators” to protect its store proactively “from bad actors and bad products.”

Along with a damaged reputation, Amazon could face serious legal consequences when phony or faulty products get through. Two California legal rulings — one involving an exploding hoverboard battery and the other an exploding laptop battery — could impact Amazon’s liability for dangerous third-party products sold on its platform.

Tags
Amazon Counterfeit goods Crime E-commerce Third-party sellers