Combating Counterfeits: Amazon Transparency & Project Zero

Combating Counterfeits: Amazon Transparency & Project Zero

Goodbye, fake handbags. Hello, Amazon Transparency and Project Zero (APZ). Third-party sellers account for over half of all sales on Amazon and while most are legitimate products, the rise of counterfeits has been a problem for the platform. Unknowingly purchasing a counterfeit product off of Amazon can be both frustrating and potentially dangerous. In the health and beauty category, counterfeit cosmetic products may contain harmful ingredients or unwanted chemicals. To protect brands and customers from falling prey to counterfeit products, the marketplace giant implemented Amazon Transparency and Project Zero.

Combating counterfeits has been an ongoing problem for Amazon. They have faced serious backlash from brands and consumers over the issue. In response to safety and financial concerns, Amazon developed Amazon Transparency and APZ, which has received a warm reception from brands who are excited about the chance to have greater control over these fake products that impact their business.


Amazon Transparency is an item-level tracing service that helps brand owners protect their brand and customers from counterfeit products. Transparency allows brands to associate each unit they manufacture with a unique code and allows any customer to authenticate any Transparency-enabled product, regardless of where they purchase the product (Amazon, other e-commerce sites, brick and mortar stores, etc.).

How it works

1. Enroll your products in Transparency. To enroll, you must verify yourself as the brand owner for your products, be able to apply unique Transparency codes on every unit you manufacture and can use a Global Trade Item Number, a UPC or EAN barcode on your products.

2. Apply Transparency codes on your products. Each Transparency code is a unique alphanumeric non-sequential code that can only be generated and issued by Transparency.

3. Amazon scans Transparency codes to ensure only authentic units are shipped to customers. Transparency keeps track of every code along with the brand and product for which it was issued. Units that are fulfilled by Amazon and those that ship directly from selling partners are subject to Transparency checks. Units that fail Transparency checks are investigated for potential counterfeits.

4. Customers can use the Transparency or Amazon Shopping app to authenticate units regardless of where they purchase. Brands can choose to share rich unit-level information with customers upon scanning (e.g. ingredients and manufacturing date and place).

Benefits to Brands

1. Counterfeit protection. Through Amazon’s Transparency checks, counterfeits of Transparency-enabled products are proactively prevented from reaching customers.

2. Authenticity verification by customers. Customers can authenticate any Transparency-enabled product regardless of where they purchase the product.

3. Customer transparency. Brands are able to communicate rich product information to customers through Transparency.

Amazon’s transparency program has been in place for three years now in many countries, allowing brands to help establish their brand’s authenticity worldwide.


APZ is a part of Amazon’s Brand Registry Program that allows brands to easily remove counterfeit listings on Amazon themselves. The goal of APZ is to drive counterfeits to zero on Amazon through automated protections and brand self-service counterfeit removal.

How it works

1. Automated protections. Powered by machine learning, automated protections continuously scan Amazon’s stores and remove suspected counterfeit. Brands provide key data about themselves (e.g. logos and trademarks) and Amazon can scan over 5 billion daily listing update attempts for counterfeit products.

2. Self-service counterfeit removal. By joining APZ, brands don’t need to contact Amazon to remove counterfeit listings from their stores. Instead, they can remove them themselves using APZ’s self-service tool. Brands must maintain an accuracy of at least 99% in order to maintain these privileges.

Eligibility Requirements

1. Your brand must be enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry with a government-registered trademark.

2. You must be the trademark rights owner and have an account with Brand Registry access.

3. You must have submitted reports of potential infringements with an acceptance rate of at least 90% in the last six months.

If you are a brand and have questions about Amazon’s Transparency or Project Zero Programs or need help with Amazon, let’s talk:

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