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Amazon is teaming up with a government watchdog group to investigate suspected fake products on the company's online marketplace, the company announced Tuesday.
Working with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center — which is overseen by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement — Amazon intends to use the partnership to protect consumers and combat the selling of counterfeit goods, an increasingly prevalent issue for the ecommerce site in recent years. Bloomberg first reported the government partnership.
Amazon said in a press release that the joint project, dubbed "Operation Fulfilled Action, will "analyze data and conduct targeted inspections aimed at preventing counterfeit products from entering the US supply chain" to hold bad actors accountable. The company told Business Insider that it will be conducting physical inspections of goods as they cross the border into the US.
In the announcement, the company said it invested more than $500 million into anti-counterfeit measures in 2019. In June, Amazon also established a Counterfeit Crimes Unit as a means to look into suspected fake items and even levy legal action against them.
Amazon's online marketplace is home to scores of third-party sellers, which opens the door to counterfeit products being listed on the site. In Q2 of this year, 53% of items purchased on the site were sold by third-party sellers, according to data from Statista, and Amazon raked in $53.8 billion in revenue from third-party seller service in 2019.
Counterfeit goods have so heavily infiltrated Amazon's marketplace that brands have stopped selling official products on the platform.
Nike pulled its listings from the site to focus on "more direct, personal relationships." And Birkenstock has stopped selling its popular shoes on Amazon — its CEO accused the company of "modern-day piracy."
Amazon filed a lawsuit against two social media influencers in early November, alleging that they were working with 11 businesses or individuals in listing luxury designer knock-offs on the company's web store and promoting them on their Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook accounts. The two women were previously members of Amazon's influencer marketing program until the company removed them for peddling counterfeit items.
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