I've gotten counterfeit huggies diapers from amazon (invalid serial number for huggies 'points' and different build quality), Mach 3 razor blades, GE MWF Water filters, even a counterfeit baby bath.
The baby bath counterfeit was obvious I got a box with only chinese characters on the box:
Here is there response:
We had a recent issue with an Amazon seller selling “knock-off” Blooming Baths on our Amazon account. We have since had this seller removed entirely from Amazon, as these are counterfeit items and NOT the Blooming Bath. The product you have received is not ours, I suggest returning it and ordering again from Amazon or from www.bloomingbath.com. Just make sure the seller you buy from is “Blooming Bath” if you buy from Amazon.
Very sorry for this inconvenience.
I no longer trust amazon for anything health related - it just seems too easy to get counterfeit products into their system.
The problem is that "other sellers" keep beating us to the buy box for certain SKUs. Amazon keeps asking us to sell to them for a lower price. The funny thing is, Amazon already gets the lowest price, by far, compared to all other distributors. I know, we are the manufacturer. Some of the SKUs we don't even sell to anyone else anymore but Amazon, yet still these random businesses seem to be selling our products. Some are fake, some are watered down. Some are… I don't even know. I have a lot of trouble figuring out who these people are and how they are getting our products or look-a-likes at prices low enough to resell, since we don't sell them to anyone at these prices!
Amazon needs to double down on the vetting they do for new sellers.
Starting in 2018 I'm going to re-SKU/UPC every product we sell to Amazon and start closing the listings on old corrupt ones. It's going to be a pain in the ass, but I see no other choice. We have about 300 SKUs and trying to manage them all and fend off all these shitty sellers is becoming a huge burden on me and our brand.
And ideally, actually, I'd like Amazon to offer a feature that essentially "bans" third parties from listing a SKU at the manufacturers request. I'd gladly pay to few thousand a year to ensure that the only one that can sell our products is Amazon themselves.
I don't think you'll gain much from re-skuing products. You'll lose all your reviews and ranking, and at best will get a few months until the counterfeiters find the new listings.
Also, you can't fully close the old ones, so people will still sell on them, there will be multiple search results, bad customer experience, etc.
The better approach is to go after the sellers through Amazon, send infringement notices, etc. Might take some time, but once done they'll be gone forever.
If you'd be interested in having a conversation with me about these issues, we can set something up, email's in my profile. I'm heading back from the ASD show right now and I'll be swamped for a few days but email and we can work something out.
Won't they just open a new account? I doubt a new identity and bank account are major obstacles to counterfeiters.
And it may be possible to get new identity and accounts, but they aren't easy or unlimited. Scammers will go after the lowest hanging fruit.
Also, check out sellercentral forums for a community of folks there too. It's not HN but it's pretty active.
Apparently even worse at alibaba:
You would think hat Amazon would just tell everyone who isn't Apple who is trying to list that SKU to get lost.
(If the answer is no, you don't want to talk about it or don't have time, that's obviously totally okay!)
It seems crazy to me that they don't have an easy process to support this. Amazon must have as much to gain by being the sole reseller as you do from them blocking other suppliers. I don't see why they don't offer a one-click agreement that a manufacturer can sign saying essentially "we won't sell this through any other channels if you won't accept any other sellers"
There's no excuse for Amazon selling and profiting from counterfeits though. Buck stops with them.
Other retailers do this all the time. In fact, that used to be the status quo—signing an exclusive with a retailer.
Isn't this what owning a trademark is for? Can people advertise that they have M&M's for sale without the permission of Mars Candy Inc?
Lets say I buy a box of M&Ms. I didn't get around to eating them. Next month I decide to change my diet and get rid of the M&Ms. Copyright and trademark does not (and should not) prevent me from advertising "1 box M&Ms, $10" and then a buyer giving me $10 for my M&Ms.
The first sale doctrine gives me this right. Retail would be totally and completely non-functional otherwise.
Amazon, however, is free to disallow someone from selling something if they want to.
So yeah is it to much to ask from amazon to respect trademark and/or copyright. Specially considering they are the dominant online book sellers.
I think people should start considering that when the DOJ hitted hard on Apple last year as they proposed an altenative to the near monopoly of Amazon maybe they hit the wrong target.
It's a massive burden to hunt these people down. You have to buy product from them and inspect it. They often hide behind a series of LLCs. You have to work with the site listing it to get it taken down and prove you are the manufacturer. It becomes a full time job very quickly.
Rode, the microphone company, has taken an approach I like which is that they don't sell on Amazon FBA at all. Even still, they have problems. I'd like to get big enough that we can just eliminate Amazon and go direct, but we aren't there yet.
The key phrase I look for that I haven't seen discussed in this thread explicitly is: "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."
(That is the current status shown for the No Starch book prompting the thread.)
Based on some youtube videos showing FBA stocking bins at the warehouse, I can see where multiple 3rd-party seller using FBA Fulfillment by Amazon have comingled inventories.
Is there also evidence that 3rd-party sellers have contaminated Amazon's internal inventory? The short tweets from No Starch doesn't make it clear that you get counterfeit books when even when you choose "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."
(If the amazon product page returns 404, this is the screenshot of what it looked like: http://imgur.com/a/gzrxF)
- Anything eaten
- Anything that consumes or stores power (too much fire risk)
- Anything worn on the body (even socks)
I literally just had mine delivered yesterday from amazon. Now I'm a little woried
So, where do you get, for example, external batteries for phones from? Amazon, eBay and Alibaba are pretty much the only online sources for these things, and I trust eBay and Alibaba even less than I trust Amazon.
Amazon is due for a reckoning. They've let this get completely out of control.
Even at that, I recently bought two books, both arrived damaged. Returned them (I really don't want to have to do that, and I thought "fulfilled by" would reduce that likelihood), and the replacements were damaged. I gave up.
The first pair arrived in a plan white box, and were damaged (not due to the courier).
I returned them to Amazon for replacement, and the pair I got back were in a fully branded box, with a lot more accessories than the first pair (storage bag, shape retainers).
So I'm left thinking that even though these were "Fulfilled by Amazon" there must have been some counterfeit mixed in with legit inventory. Otherwise I can't explain how the first pair seemed so... illegitimate in light of what I received as a replacement.
Shipped and Sold by Amazon is your last line of defense and I'm still convinced it's a trustworthy way to buy. What Amazon better do is assure that it remains that way AND give us an option to filter out EVERYTHING else.
Regardless, it was a bad experience.
You might also find it worthwhile to simply find other providers who may be slightly more expensive but with better reliability - places like B&H Photo Video come to mind.
As far as I know, there is no way to know whether an FBA seller uses commingled inventory before purchase. The only option is to ask and hope they're telling the truth.
I guess amazon has a new brilliant business plan where thy make money from returns. Or Bezos has given up on AMZN and decided to buy UPS stock.
Amazon is getting very strict re: counterfeit and knockoff products, as they've absolutely flooded the marketplace, and they're starting to take the reputation hit from it.
Ask any FBA seller, especially those who do product arbitrage, and they'll tell you that Amazon is getting very aggressive with account suspensions and requiring a lot of documentation that the seller's original supplier is either the brand owner themselves or an authorized distributor.
I know a guy who did arbitrage with imports (authentic products, but "not authorized" because they were factory overruns). He made some good money for 2-3 months, but almost all of his products got removed for lack of verifiable paper trail and he ended up in a pretty bad spot.
These are counterfeit products. When you contract with a factory to make 10K units with your brand on them, they aren't allowed to use your brand to sell any number of "overruns" past that.
To most people, "counterfeit" does not mean literally the same product, produced by literally the same people, even if the company who commissioned the build didn't want some of those units to be released onto the market.
Personally, I dislike the suggestion that an identical product is "counterfeit" merely because the company that commissioned the product is seeking to constrain supply and keep their price point artificially high.
The contracts between the manufacturer and the client are unknown to buyers. If the contract is being breached, the client would probably be wise to seek to enforce the agreement.
I understand there are potential trademark implications (but afaik they're not necessarily cut and dry, IANAL), but IMO this doesn't classify something as a counterfeit product, at least as far as general usage is concerned. I make no comment on the legal classification/terminology.
>To most people, "counterfeit" does not mean literally the same product, produced by literally the same people, even if the company who commissioned the build didn't want some of those units to be released onto the market.
And gone through the same quality control process, and subject to the same defect rejection standards? A huge part of why consumers trust the trademark is that it puts the reputation of the marking company on the line with the product - the manufacturer is saying that they stand behind the product and have ensured that it's to standard. Following the same process with the same tools and using the same people doesn't have that, and it's fraud to represent that it does.
>Personally, I dislike the suggestion that an identical product is "counterfeit" merely because the company that commissioned the product is seeking to constrain supply and keep their price point artificially high.
Being able to claim the benefits of your brand by controlling the supply is incredibly important to functioning market economies. If you make a widget with a novel feature that customers like, you can capitalize on it adding your trade mark and commanding a price premium. This pays for things like creating novel features, or adding to build quality, or going through more stringent defect rejection, or whatnot.
Consumers want and are willing to pay for these features. If the manufacturer can get undercut by a marginal-cost-only supplier that doesn't have to amortize the development of these features, then we end up not creating the high quality products that consumers want.
To be eligible for warranty claims, one frequently must register the product in advance and provide proof that it was purchased from an authorized retailer. There are a variety of other conditions that disqualify products for warranty coverage, so much so that it's practically always a crap shoot whether a given manufacturer will process the warranty claim or reject it with a flimsy justification.
Second-hand purchases are also generally not respected for warranty claims, but we don't consider everything sold used counterfeit.
If you anticipate utilizing warranty coverage, you have to cross all the is and dot all the ts. That's a class of consumer that isn't just going to buy from a third-party seller on Amazon without making sure that they're authorized and legitimate.
I'll also take this opportunity to note that this entire tangent arose out of a parenthetical statement where I indicated that I know someone who was selling what I consider to be non-counterfeit items from factory overruns. Nitpicks over the definition are not really related to the claim I was originally making. The anecdote remains valuable in its original context, which is that Amazon is policing FBA sellers more and more aggressively. Didn't mean to trigger a long subthread about the precise definition of "counterfeit" and whether or not a product has to be eligible for warranty to be authentic. ;)
Is there an easy way to determine this?
Not only will doing a chargeback destroy your amazon account, issuing a chargeback without first asking for a refund is probably against your credit card's ToS. A chargeback should be a measure of last resort, not the first solution you jump to.
If you purchase from Amazon and don't check that it's "shipped and sold by Amazon" then you are asking for trouble.
The biggest issue is that Amazon has allowed, because of corporate greed, Amazon to become the new Chinese Ebay. The crap you have to wade through to find trusted sources is ridiculous. Amazon has lost a huge amount of trust because of this.
That said if you take the time to verify who the seller is you WILL get items from that seller and NOT from some other random seller. They are not just tossed into inventory together.
Source: Amazon seller
If a seller chooses commingled inventory when setting up their account, they have no obligation to re-label the product, as amazon uses the existing barcode on the product. If you order a pack of pencils from XYZ_Pencilmart and they are using commingled inventory, amazon will just grab any old item from all the commingled sellers, then deduct an imaginary unit from XYZ_Pencilmart's account.
This is why commingled inventory is a nightmare for resellers - it's your reputation on the line, but someone else's inventory.
Anyways, I used Fakespot on a lot of these listings and it was pretty interesting to see just how many had questionable and outright blatantly fake reviews. Found the one I wanted, almost $20 and a couple of hours later. The flashlight definitely lived up to what it promised but I can't help but wonder if it would've just been easier to do this at a brick and mortar retail spot, like Fry's Electronics.
You need a trusted third party to collate all of the information about a product category and then filter out all the crap. I have conveniently already done this for flashlights:
(Yes, I run it and yes it uses affiliate links.)
Also, AAA cells are terrible for flashlights. A single AAA cells is okay for a compact penlight but many use 3xAAA cells and 95% of the time 3xAAA lights have the worst engineering of any flashlight.
Who can guarantee the third party is either trusted or impartial?
Of course that is not possible. At best you can grade someone's past behavior according to a set of criteria. Though in this case most of https://reddit.com/r/flashlight/ would probably say that I am trustworthy and impartial ^_^
This is called a "private label." You can find the exact un-branded product and order direct from China from either Alibaba or Ali-Express or eBay for like half the price of Amazon (if you don't mind waiting for something to ship from China)
and then Anker, because the cats won't chew through those.
This is a brilliant strategy on Amazon's part.
Indeed. I was recently in the market for a small mono/tripod to bring with me on vacation.
Looking at the "Best Sellers" for this category, it's blatantly obvious that Amazon is just taking the existing top 3 models, copying them almost 1:1, and then undercutting the original product price with their "Amazon Basics" branded product.
How are you supposed to survive selling a product when even Amazon is out there copying it and selling it for less?
Amazon is selling it for less, and putting their branding on the product.
I'm hardly a widget manufacturer, but to me this would be a nonsensical choice for a them to manufacture as an ODM for Amazon when they're also selling their own product through Amazon.
At least I was pretty sure they're Apple MFI certified. I've never had any issues with them at all, they're well priced, and so far, reliable. And they have a 1 year warranty, which is nice for a cable.
the Amazon Basics line has a lot of stuff. Dishes too!
However if they (Amazon) are doing their job then the risk to reward ratio should be far too high on this.
It seems to me that most stores either sell counterfeit products, or all mid-tier brands have given up and sell low-tier products for the same old prices. It's no surprise then that consumers are flocking to low-price, low-tier stores: at least they know what they get.
But you can't be sure Target hasn't asked Levis to counterfeit themselves.
Do you mean selling the same exact product made by Levis under the Target label?
Ah ha, it looks like FakeSpot is fooled when Amazon removes the bad reviews. Have a look at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010NEW9JM/. That's obviously some low quality bullshit. Find in page for 'honest' and it has the trigger phrase.
> I received this set at a discounted price in exchange for my fair and honest review.
> My wife and I review products that we receive either free or at a discount in exchange for our honest and unbiased reviews.
> Disclaimer: I received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest/unbiased review.
I wish we could kill these products and sellers with some secondary review process.
Also, Amazon should understand that we generally don't want these reviews removed because that effectively creates an antibiotic-resistant version of fake reviewers. Much better to leave them in so I can killfile them.
I'm not sure how the average person has a snowball's chance in hell of spotting stuff like this on Amazon. It's getting very sketchy.
And related, I've had very good luck with just going with The Wirecutter's/The Sweethome's picks when I don't feel like poring through a bunch of reviews on things. As a warning, though, I'm normally immune to the desire to buy random crap I don't really need, but they seem to break through that for some reason.
Ending up buying one directly from Leatherman's website.
I'm fairly certain it started around 4 years ago with Matt Clark's "Amazon Selling Machine." A friend who paid the $1000 let me watch the course and it was a pretty simple (and old) tactic.
Buy wholesale and sell at markup. Except this time you would have it under your own "private label" (i.e a Chinese factory would slap your logo on a generic and sell it to you).
Apparently he made a killing doing the same thing with silicone spatulas.
Wow. Surely the best advice such a course could possibly give would be 'convince people you can teach them to make money, and charge a lot for it'.
Who gets rich in a goldfish, the miners or the person selling the tools?
Edit: Humorless. Sad.
I think it must be the diver because he found the treasure chest, assuming that it isn't counterfeit:
So the answer to your question is the latter.
See, for example, http://www.frugalhack.me/2017/02/23/private-labeling-101-int...
There is only one way, to bring those evil-doers back to the light of justice. Tax them for whatever they stole! Oh, sorry, wrong century, wrong villain!
These things tend to fail into the ON state, which is not good. Or they melt down or catch fire under full load.
The issue here remains, if Amazon profits from fake items, why are they not responsible for the outcomes?
Do they live in some alternate reality where they don't have to play by the same rules?
I feel this is problematic - one would think that AMZN would want to at least have a 'heads up' with respect to these issues very quickly to look into them, you know, to protect their brand?
Because if Amazon is selling you 'XYZ' and it's a knock-off - they are part of the crime.
I think I chose "Item not as described" as the reason in a drop-down, and entered "Counterfeit" in a comment box, but someone later changed it to some benign-sounding reason. I got a refund on my credit card, but now have the impression that Amazon just does not care. That experience and stories like this here convinced me to first look elsewhere when I need something.
Mark the reason as "item not as described" and don't add any additional text that would allow the seller to claim the feedback was "product related / a product review".
Speaking from experience as an FBA seller for the past seven years, those are nearly impossible to dispute with Amazon's seller support staff...even when the buyer is incorrect (ie they contact you via the messaging system and admit to buying the wrong product or misreading the product description). Enough negative feedback ratings and the seller's account can go under review and/or be closed.
If you've opened a dialogue with the seller via the messaging system, you should attach a picture of the item with its packaging. IF the seller is innocent (and consistent in their processes re: labeling), they might be able to open a case with Amazon along the lines of "this was commingled inventory - we always apply our label vertically over the item's barcode and our customer received an item packaged with the barcode applied horizontally...therefore you sent the customer another seller's inventory."
That would be a semi-tenuous case to make, but would have a flying chance of working, particularly if the seller had an inbound shipment for the same SKU that was due to arrive at an Amazon warehouse and had left prior to the customer's issue surfacing.
In general though, if there's a shred of doubt...don't worry about the innocent seller. The seller (hopefully) has enough sales volume that your feedback will be lost in the crowd. If not, well, maybe they aren't a good fit for Amazon and you're doing everyone a favor.
If they use a fulfilment service which cannot reliably achieve that, it's their problem, just as it would be if they used an unreliable courier.
It's possibly 'they may care' but are overwhelmed, and just ignore the little stuff, or can't reasonably hunt down every entity.
It's also possible that they don't care, and will only clam down on it enough to stay out of jail.
It's also possible they do care, and they make money from it.
For direct sales though - this is a problem. If it's some 3rd party - that's one thing - but from their inventory? Bad. Very bad.
We soon discovered these people were actually hijacking our high resolution main image and actually using that to make their own signs. Amazon is strict about watermarking so we went very conservative on the markings on the files. When they received an order they printed out the high res file of ours and stuck it to a parking blank. The reviews they were getting it was obvious they weren't selling good quality, but people were confusing them with US! Almost worse than any of it Amazon puts so much power into other sellers using the buy box feature that if you searched for my customer the Chinese sellers would often default to the preferred seller.
In the end Amazon has banned the two sellers, but moving forward it is difficult to police 3,000 listings so we have not been expanding what we are doing on there.
As an example, I wanted to by a genuine Lenovo charger for my X230 laptop. If you want to share my pain, try finding the real McCoy on Amazon.com. I also had to replace my keyboard. That was even worse than the chargers. The products say they are manufactured by Lenovo but they are clearly not. In the end, I suspect the keyboard and charger I got (which I paid quite a bit more than the clearly fake items) are still fakes. They have Lenovo's brand marks on them but they don't look exactly like the originals.
Another good example of counterfeits are cell phone batteries. I tried to buy a replacement battery for a Nexus phone. I had to give up because wading through the endless listings of counterfeit products is just too time consuming.
I don't think Amazon is doing nearly enough to stop this.
Is that one a fake too? Going by the "Lenovo" seller and the fact that the seller also sells a ton of other Lenovo branded stuff makes me feel better, but who knows...
I'm not sure it is a fake or not. I looks a little "off" to me. Maybe real but intended for a foreign market? Hasn't burnt my house down yet, so that's something.
Does the API still return offer count? If you're truly the only legit seller, set up an alert if offerCount >> 1. Even without the API this should be pretty trivial to scrape.
> first sale doctrine means there can be other legit sellers
This is not necessarily true on Amazon.
There are larger brands that make deals with Amazon, preventing their products from being sold as new by anyone but themselves. Other people can sell it, but it must be listed as used. An end-run around first sale, but that's the way it is.
Other options would be to require bonding or otherwise validating sellers, particularly over a certain volume. Amazon (and other retailers) might collectivise or bundle sellers, with an intermediate serving as a vouchsafe for quality and origin, if necessary.
Otherwise, this whole situation is a massive trust breakdown, for both sellers and buyers, and a major problem for Amazon generally.
So if I make a thing that can't be digitally copied easily I'm safe???
Imagine if every product on Amazon was custom made for you. A Chinese seller could do it sure but you might get suspicious of the 4-6 week shipping time and it would be blatantly obvious where it was coming from.
With the cost of 3D printing, CNC, and laser engraving dropping faster than a Miami facelift it's inevitable.
Yes, you'll see some degree of custom manufacture, as exists now in furniture and a few other areas. But in too many cases, the costs of mass production and available efficiencies are simply too great to compete with.
Apple's devices, as an example, are not custom-specified, but are offered from an exceptionally small number of variants.
I'm tired of the refrain "It's too much effort / money / investment to check X, Y, Z on our system" when that system is the only goddamn reason a company exists in the first place. Want to be a Middle Man? You get the Profits and Responsibilities of one. Caveat venditor.
I think eBay should verify items that are being sold by eBay, and Amazon should verify items that are being sold by Amazon, but eBay shouldn't be responsible for items being sold VIA eBay, nor should Amazon be responsible for items being sold VIA Amazon.
If they are saying Amazon is producing and selling these themselves, then that's a big deal. If they got a shipment of them that are counterfeit and are selling those, then it's a slightly less big deal IMHO, but still a serious problem.
If that's the case, ironically enough counterfeit sellers might actually end up having original products shipped / fulfilled by Amazon, which might add to the confusion, e.g. positive customer reviews on a bad listing.
I'd like to avoid being unrealistic in that I don't think a marketplace can 100% verify every item and grow to scale, but I'm also extremely annoyed at the "all or nothing" kind of false dichotomy you've presented.
I'm not trying to be insulting or glib with the following, but if you'd like to peruse several different threads in this discussion it appears Amazon has more than enough reasonable data to address an issue, but has heretofore turned a blind-yet-financially-beneficial-in-principle-eye to the situation. If a bunch of humans sitting around and spit balling can hammer down a half-dozen examples and concerns out of altruism then I think any attempts of offloading that 'check and balance' into the Amazon system is quite significant.
If they get around to it, I'd classify their pragmatic motivation as akin to "I'm sorry your feelings were hurt" moreso than "What I did hurt you and was wrong."
If the book was digital then I would say preemptive verification should be done. However, for a physical paper book how could you verify legitimacy at scale?
It's a hard problem. I can't think of a way that doesn't involve destroying a physical copy to OCR, and that's a lot of manual effort.
What would you propose? Not trying to be confrontational, legitimately curious!
I've worked at places with serious quality management systems, the problem isn't hard. The answer is easy and obvious: incoming inspection.
Unless "scale" means the percentage of product that passes through inspection is zero. In which case the problem is only hard because the problem isn't how to do something, the problem is how get the benefit of having done something without doing it (whether through inspection, not co-mingling, etc...).
In the case of No Starch Press, the build quality issues were noticeable without scanning the book. And even cutting the spine and covers off of a book to scan it isn't that much manual effort with the right hardware. One of the offices at my college had the cutter and bulk scanner, it was so not a big deal for them to use that they'd digitize a semester's worth of course textbooks for anyone who asked.
If Amazon require a machine-readable mechanism, they've the heft to provide one.
PKI or Blockchain-all-the-things.
I mean, Fulfilled by Amazon is providing a storefront and fulfillment services for things people ship to them. If you are making the argument they should verify every item they ship then that should extend to all fulfillment providers, no?
Don't get me wrong, I think FBA and 3rd party sellers are a huge mistake for Amazon as a whole. I just disagree that the onus should be on Amazon to make sure the items people fulfill using their services are not fakes.
Out of curiousity: how much is that? How much should Amazon pay? Would you support the same penalty if your local bookseller was found to have purchased a batch of counterfeits? You realize that happens all the time in retail, right? Many smaller retailers have little to no ability to control their supply chain in the way you're demanding from Amazon.
I mean... this is bad. It should stop. Vendors need to be careful. Amazon's partner programs create some bad incentives that put too much of the risk on consumers. All of that is true.
But guys... the Amazon hate in this thread is just out of control. Counterfeits happen. A lot.
The difference is that Amazon a sophisticated, knowledgeable seller with a lot of smart people who undoubtedly understand the problem and how to solve it quickly (eliminate co-mingled inventory). I would say a local bookseller is likely to be much less sophisticated when it comes to counterfeit products and how they enter the supply chain.
No, Amazon is a huge multinational company, selling 1000s of this crap every singe day. Can you say the same about your local bookseller, moving 20 books in total a day?
It's quite a stretch to assume that Amazon is unaware of the breadth of counterfeiting happening on their platform, and yet they continue to provide the platform. So on the whole, it seems they are willfully infringing.
If the pirate attempted to use an existing ISBN (required to match up the listings) I am pretty sure Createspace would automatically flag it [ETA: Not so sure anymore. See http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,248831.msg3466774.htm...]. There is no Amazon or Createspace branding applied to the book; the only clue that it’s POD is a barcode on the last blank page with “Made In USA” (digital short run and offset do not have to do this).
Another POD service, Ingramspark, also feeds into Amazon via third-party sellers but there will definitely be a block if an existing ISBN is used.
Another possibility is the pirates are using the POD services and a different ISBN, then make the Amazon listing using the original ISBN and ship the copy themselves (that is, not using fulfillment by Amazon). They could sticker over the bogus ISBN or not; nobody except for victims bothers to check.
Or, perhaps the pirates are using a cheap independent digital short run service and put whatever they want on the cover (printers don’t care) and then sell it on Amazon as the real thing.
If you don't mind me asking, is there a POD block printed on the bottom of the last blank page? Typically it's a barcode and something like "Printed in USA, Lexington KY" and the date.
Also on the Twitter thread someone mentioned that the contents were copied from a PDF you sell on the site -- are they the same press-ready PDFs used for the book, or PDFs formatted for 8.5 x 11? I ask because we sell PDFs too for letter-sized paper, and I always assumed it would be difficult to pirate for a 6x9 how-to guide.
It's possible it's someone doing digital short run and then selling it as a third party seller. If the price is low enoughI think that helps them get the buy box.
As far as I remember though, the same book wasn't flagged by Createspace.
I am not a lawyer and nothing here should be considered legal advice merely personal opinion
It's even worse for the Fulfilled by Amazon people-- there have been DVD resellers selling >$40k/mo legitimately getting banned because pirated items are being shipped to fulfill the same listings.
I've chosen to buy from smaller sites to be more assured of quality-- especially for commonly faked items like batteries and replacement parts.
I know plenty of 7 figure sellers who only do commingle with no issues.
I just went through something similar with some kitchen equipment purchased through Soap.com. I tried to claim warranty with the manufacturer, and they earned a new customer:
Thank you for your inquiry. Soap.com is not an authorized retailer of our
items and we have had some problems with counterfeit <REDACTED>
that are having this type of problem. That being said, we can honor the
warranty and replace it with the genuine article, however in the future if you
choose to purchase our items please be sure that you are purchasing from
someone we have authorized to do business with. Is the address you list below
your current address to receive the replacement?
Then saw that maybe one of the Twitterati has guessed it right:
@marziah: Wait, how? Is someone copying the book and using Amazon as the printer? And they don't screen their direct prints?
First result. Google docs. Free book.
Edit: Not sure if modded down for pointing out Google is pirating the book in nearly the same way as Amazon (HN loves Google, it can do no wrong) or if it's because I linked to Google's pirate link (Oh no! You're bankrupting the author, dirty commenter!).
Google has just exploited a loophole in the law that allows them to provide all the technical expertise and infrastructure to profit from piracy, while remaining legally non-liable.
Neither is Amazon as I understand it.
>It is being hosted on Google Docs.
Amazon is just printing the book.
>This is no different than if someone put the PDF on Dropbox and made it public.
This is exactly what's happening on Amazon. Someone uploaded the pirated file, as their own. Amazon is simply printing the book, and helping you find it via a search interface. I'm still failing to see a distinction here between what Google and Amazon are doing, beyond the fact that Google's approach is digital, and therefore zero cost.
Both Google and Amazon benefit from the piracy. Amazon directly through sale of product, Google directly through search ad revenue. Both Google and Amazon provide the platform for the piracy. Both Google and Amazon provide search discovery for the pirated product.
The book on Google Docs is similar to someone's cocaine falling out of their pocket and hiding in your couch cushions. You didn't know it was there, and when your partner finds it, you flush it.
The book being printed by Amazon is you finding the bag of coke, cutting it and selling it, splitting the take with your friend.
I'll note that "benefit from" is a construction that can do a huge amount of work. I have "benefited from" some truly horrific historic crimes, despite having nothing to do with them (or even having been born yet). I bet you have, too.
Using less attenuated language that makes clear what's going on is a lot more convincing. It also tends to expose differences, like what is going on here.
I used to order an expensive conditioner (olaplex) through Amazon but got burned by this. The company that produces the shampoo started selling direct through their website (at amazon's price with free shipping) because they were losing out on sales through fake inventory that was being sold to amazon.