‘Deterring The Ill-Intentioned’: Amazon Ramps Up Efforts To Screen Out Bad Actors On Its Marketplace, But It Still Needs To Do More


< fbs-ticker data-name= "AMZN" data-href =" https://www.forbes.com/companies/amazon" > AMZN. is trialling 2 brand-new programs to screen brand-new sellers on its online marketplace, acknowledging an issue with fly-by-night operators, scammers, and counterfeiters. These programs, both of which are only active in extremely particular markets, are a great start. There is much more the retail giant could be doing to secure both brands and consumers.

Rick Case, CEO and Creator of Nite Ize at a shipping and circulation center in Stone. The business … [+] used an International Trade Order to force Amazon to quickly stop fakes and copies of its popular Steelie phone mount. June 15, 2018 in Stone, Colorado. (Image by Joe Amon/The Denver Post through Getty Images)

The new programs

One approach, which was presented on a pilot basis in choose markets, requires new sellers to get verified through a video call. , more than 1,000 sellers had actually used the video confirmation program as of April. “As we practice social distancing, we are evaluating a process that enables us to confirm prospective sellers’ recognition via video conferencing. This pilot allows us to link one-on-one with potential sellers while making it much more hard for fraudsters to conceal,” Amazon said in a declaration to Techcrunch.

Amazon is also presently marketing three positions for a ‘ Seller Onboarding Associate‘ whose main responsibilities include “gathering the required details and documentation and performing the pertinent verification” prior to the merchant can begin selling on Amazon. The verification and onboarding jobs the Partner is required to do might take location on Amazon’s properties, or at the seller’s business. There are presently task openings in New York, Santa Monica, and Seattle.

Seller verification is something that Amazon has actually mainly automated in the past, counting on screening tools to avoid rogue merchants from defrauding customers. For brands selling on Amazon and numerous consumers who’ve received phony items, it’s clear that primarily relying on machine-led systems was not enough. Hand-to-hand fight is needed, and bad actors require to know the risk of being captured is high.

It’s still not enough

The issue with these programs is that they are really limited in their scope. Could 3 Seller Onboarding Associates fulfill every new seller in the U.S. face to face? Unlikely, considered that the research study company Marketplace Pulse counts 70,000 brand-new sellers on the Amazon United States market in 2020 so far.

The most notorious source of counterfeiting and scams comes from China. In 2015, the Wall Street Journal discussed Amazon’s heavy recruitment of Chinese sellers as being a significant source of this activity. It’s unclear if any extra difficulties have actually been created for brand-new Chinese-based sellers.

Amazon needs to do what they do best: scale up their onboarding and verification programs. And completely automating it is not the answer. I have actually experienced many devastating examples of false-positives brought on by Amazon algorithms just recently: items being suspended for incorrect price-gouging claims throughout the pandemic, and new merchants having their accounts suspended due to the fact that rivals vengefully reported their products as being fake. While Amazon does require to scale up its detection systems, they also require more human intervention and thoughtful judgement calls.

More difficulties are required

Video screening and in-person gos to require to be supplemented with other difficulties that will discourage and catch bad actors.

I have written formerly about a little change that will put more pressure on merchants, one which is already in location in most worldwide Amazon markets however confoundingly, not in the U.S. market: merely releasing the seller’s physical address and company details to their seller page. Doing so would put more public responsibility on sellers and allow customers to do their own due diligence. Sunshine is an excellent disinfectant.

Here are some other things that Amazon could be doing.

None of these must be deal-breakers on their own, but data points that Amazon might utilize to examine outliers. All of this must be done without telling the new seller about the verification tools. This will catch bad actors who supply false details.

All these things sound quite straight-forward and scalable to enact, especially for one of the most powerful business on earth. In 2019, Amazon spent $500MM on anti-counterfeiting programs and eliminating bad stars. Relative to their gross product volume, this is a percentage, all while public concern over fakes and fraud seemingly intensifies. It asks the question, does Amazon actually wish to fix this issue, or do the 2,527 sellers joining the market every day actually present more chance?