Amazon already has an interest in cutting down on third-party sellers who offer counterfeit or knock-off products, but one way for a brand to really get Amazon to care about fakes is for that brand to start selling directly to customers through Amazon.
Just ask Nike, whose products have been sold on Amazon-owned Zappos.com, but have never officially been sold by Amazon. There are, however, third-party sellers who sell Nike gear through the site.
That may all change soon, since since “a person familiar with the situation” has told Bloomberg Technology that the two companies are teaming up to offer official Nike products through Amazon’s Brand Registry program.
The Registry, launched in 2016 and recently expanded, allows companies to partner with Amazon so that the e-tailer pays more attention to possible brand impersonators. Sellers that want to offer registered brands will have to pay and demonstrate that they aren’t selling fakes. Amazon eventually hopes that machine learning will help it more proactively identify counterfeit items.
Since the Nike/Amazon deal hasn’t officially been announced yet, we don’t know which products from Nike would be included. Given Amazon’s expansion into its own brands of athletic apparel, it’s likely that some Nike-branded clothes will be included, as well as the company’s frequently-counterfeited sneakers.
Brand Registry means that company representatives as well as random shoppers are able to flag items from third-party sellers that appear to be counterfeit or unauthorized. The company’s goal is to use this information for machine learning, to teach its own systems how to identify infringing items before they’re ever listed.
Other brands taking part in the Brand Registry program include Victoria’s Secret, Toms, and Procter & Gamble.