Archive for July 12, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Amazon’s Chinese Counterfeit Problem Is Getting Worse

Ari Levy (via John Gordon and John Gruber):

In May, reported on a Facebook group, now consisting of over 600 people, whose members have seen their designs for t-shirts, coffee mugs and iPhone cases show up on Amazon at a fraction of the price of the originals. The designers described it as a game of whack-a-mole, where fakes pop up more quickly than they’re taken down.


To unsuspecting consumers, fake products can appear legitimate because of the Fulfillment by Amazon program, which lets manufacturers send their goods to Amazon’s fulfillment centers and hand over a bigger commission, gaining the stamp of approval that comes with an FBA tag.


Making matters worse, when buyers unhappy with the cheaper alternatives leave a bad review, it drags down Bergman’s standing because the reviews are all thrown together.


As a marketplace, Amazon isn’t legally responsible for keeping counterfeit material off the site as long as it responds to complaints and takes action when it’s brought to the company’s attention.

Amazon faces a sort of strategy tax.

Update (2016-07-21): Ari Levy (via John Gruber):

Birkenstock is walking away from

Plagued by counterfeits and unauthorized selling on the online shopping site, the sandals company will no longer supply products to Amazon in the U.S. starting Jan. 1. Additionally, Birkenstock won’t authorize third-party merchants to sell on the site, according to a letter the company sent to several thousand retail partners on July 5.


The only way to get Amazon’s support in creating a clean environment, according to Kahan, is by selling the entire catalog to Amazon. It’s part of the online retailer’s effort to be the one-stop shop for anything and everything.


Birkenstock will be telling consumers to purchase only from authorized retailers, and that any products listed on Amazon can’t be trusted. “So, buyer beware,” he wrote.

Update (2016-08-19): Nick Heer:

It’s not just counterfeit goods on Amazon that are a problem for legitimate businesses. Jason Feifer writes for Entrepreneur magazine on a new scheme that marries Amazon’s generally low prices and dubious eBay sellers[…]