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Amazon offers tool to help brands fight against fake goods

The growing problem of fake online reviews

Amazon is pushing back against counterfeit products by providing a tool that allows brands to remove listings from its site that they consider to be fakes.

The online giant, which has long struggled with third-party sellers listing fake products, said on its blog Thursday that brands previously had to report fake products to them and the items would be removed after an investigation into the claim. The new self-service tool will speed up the process to remove listings.

"Our aim is that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon," the company said in the blog post. 

Amazon is also launching a product serialization service, which allows brands to put unique codes on their products during the manufacturing process. Amazon can then scan the codes to confirm the authenticity of a brand's products when purchased in Amazon's stores. Amazon announced the actions, named Project Zero, on its blog Thursday.

"Every unit we sell through Amazon has a unique, serialized barcode, and our counterfeit problem has nearly disappeared in the United States," said Phil Blizzard, CEO of pet-product company Thunderworks, said in the blog post. 

The company said Project Zero is currently only available to brands invited to the program. 

Separately, fake reviews are increasingly prevalent across many top retailer websites, according to a study from Fakespot, which analyzes online customer reviews for fake or unreliable reviews. As many as half of reviews on Walmart.com may be "inauthentic and unreliable," while about 30 percent of Amazon reviews are considered suspect, Fakespot estimates. 

FakeSpot CEO Saoud Khalifah said counterfeit products can also receive a boost from fake reviews, which can be posted by bots or by people who are paid by the counterfeiters to write positive reviews. Such reviews can make it harder for consumers to detect whether a product is fake. 

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