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Amazon shoppers, you might see fewer counterfeits

Sellers are getting a new tool for removing fakes.

Paketzentrum Amazon

Amazon is shifting responsibility for dealing with counterfeit items back to other companies.

Holger Hollemann/picture alliance via Getty Images

Amazon is trying to clean up its site by streamlining its anticounterfeiting process.

The e-commerce giant said Thursday that it's giving brands more responsibility for eliminating fakes by letting them immediately take down listings for removal through its new Project Zero program.

As the name implies, Project Zero is an initiative designed to clear Amazon of counterfeits through a mix of its own automated protections and other companies' vigilance.

Up to now, the slow reporting process required brands to highlight alleged fake items, after which Amazon would investigate. The new system gives brands more direct control over handling such items and feeds data to Amazon's automated systems so they're more likely spot counterfeits in future.

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Amazon's also adding a serial code service that creates a unique designation for each product unit, so it can scan them to double-check their authenticity as they pass through its warehouses.

"Our aim is that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon," Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of worldwide customer trust and partner support, said in an emailed statement.

"Project Zero builds on our long-standing work and investments in this area. It allows brands to work with us to leverage our combined strengths to move quickly and at scale to drive counterfeits to zero."

Right now, Project Zero is invite-only -- a bit like Target's marketplace expansion -- but it's "working to add more brands quickly."

The program's name is oddly similar to "Shipment Zero," which was announced last week with the aim of cutting the carbon footprint created by its shipments in half by 2030.

First published at 5:07 a.m. PT.
Updated at 8:36 a.m. PT: Clarifies that the new tool lets brands immediately remove listings for fake items.