Any Brands out there protect their whole catalog with Transparency?

I had a meeting with the Amazon Transparency Team and the head of our category yesterday and I thought I would bring this up here to get some feedback.

We are already part of the transparency program for about 8 of our top-selling SKUs. I will tell you that the program has been super effective with those products.

I didn’t feel the need to add more SKUs until more issues came up, but the Amazon team presented me with an opportunity.

So apparently Amazon has been working on getting major brands to enroll their full catalog as transparency items and they gave me a list of brands that are already doing in our category.

They will launch or already launched a filter for transparency-only items similar to the prime filter. And this is their way to counteract counterfeit items flooding in.

To give you more context we have about 300+ products and 150 of those are FBA (which is a huge jump), they are offering us a promotion period (can not go into details) and our category is getting flooded with more and more copy-cats and competitors.

I know I will have to make this decision regarding our business, however, I wanted to see if anyone has any experience or comments on this.


I’ve always wondered why Amazon has never pushed this program harder, as it basically puts the full responsibility of IP issues onto the brand.

It is a fairly costly program though, as you have to pay for the codes, and pay for the costs associated with labeling every unit, as well as the overhead work of maintaining a database of codes and tracking which codes are for which SKU and which ones are used. And these costs are for ALL units manufactured, not just ones sold on Amazon. The program has been around since 2017 and it really hasn’t had much uptake despite being a guarantee of resolving any counterfeiting issues.


Yeah, I agree with your points- They are giving us a promo so it will at least be free for some time, and we do in-house transparency printing so that does reduce the cost/ having to manage all the labels, we can just print as needed.

However, the management and the cost of applying the labels is a commitment.


I would imagine that buying the codes is the smallest part of the total cost of being in the program. (And of course you’ll still have to pay for the codes after the promo period is up).

The fact you’re doing it in house means you’re already ahead of the game compared to others, but managing the process for hundreds of SKUs is a completely different animal than for 8. I don’t know what happens if you send in FBA inventory with invalid transparency codes (from mixing up which codes belong to which SKU), but it can’t possibly be good. Implementing some kind of process to handle code management, as well as a process to check that the correct codes were applied to each product is probably critical.

I’ve talked to a brand about transparency before (as they had some counterfeiting issues), and they decided against it mainly because they didn’t want to manage keeping track of codes, and they didn’t have the ability to do variable data printing on their product packaging (and didn’t want to stick a code label on all of their products separately as it doesn’t look good). There’s benefits to the program, but it’s a fairly large commitment for a company to do it across all their products.

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Moved to Brand Registry , added brand-registry and transparency-program tags

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There have been anecdotal reports of brands enrolling in transparency, and then selling products to distributors without the transparency barcodes, thus making their legit products look counterfeit to Amazon if sold by 3rd party sellers.

The 3rd party sellers, buying from distributors, complain, but get nowhere, even though Amazon claims that all participants must barcode ALL their production.

I find it amazing that any other company would be subject to the same trademark law as has always existed, but Amazon has (re)defined itself (and won in Court on this point) as “not a reseller”, even when the listings say “sold and shipped by Amazon” for FBA items.

This is similar set of lies to those told by “app” companies (Uber, et al) who posture that they do not employ any workers, but are merely a communications channel and payment processing platform between drivers and riders.

So, Amazon has the brand registry, and now wants to be paid for EVERY UNIT one makes, simply to make piracy and counterfeiting on THEIR platform less of a problem.

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Yes, there’s a lot of issues with the program mostly for the reasons you mentioned. The program is frequently abused and there’s no consequences for it (I’ve never heard of a seller/brand registry account being suspended for transparency program abuse).

Amazon’s got some flashy headlines on the subject as well

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“A World Without Counterfeiters” - what a narcissistic fantasy Amazon has!

The “transparency” system only works for Amazon, nowhere else. So, it is only useful when selling to Amazon customers, using Amazon software.

Sure, they’d love to see the scheme adopted elsewhere, but there isn’t the same level of problem on other platforms. Even eBay is more responsive in terms of respecting a demand for a listing takedown from a brand owner (fill out a form, and the listing is gone, no fuss, no muss, no prior registration required, no fees, no eBay seller account required).

To be fair, Amazon had a massive false infringement claim problem, it might’ve even been a bigger problem than actual counterfeits. When anyone can anonymously issue a takedown notice with false information (all Amazon verified is the email address, and people could file claims with gmail accounts!) to knock out a competitor, it’s bound to be abused.

Another issue with that headline is “counterfeiting” is not a world problem, it’s a country problem. Trademarks are valid in the country they’re issued in. If a country does not have a trademark system or a brand is not registered in that country, anyone can produce and sell whatever they want. Like a gucci bag not made by gucci isn’t counterfeit until it enters a country where gucci has a registered trademark. This is also why it’s so hard to stop the items from being produced, because in some cases the actual production of the items isn’t a crime, it’s importing it into the US that’s the crime.

As far as transparency outside of Amazon goes, technically Amazon could offer a system (and charge money for it of course) to other platforms to allow them to validate transparency codes as well. This already somewhat exists in the form the transparency app. Anyone can scan a transparency code and the app will tell you whether it’s valid and what product that code is assigned to. So this does actually have some benefits in other channels as well. One of the best things transparency does for a brand though is it’s a deterrent. Very few brands use the system so if yours is enrolled someone who’s looking to make knock offs will find an easier target.

The bigger problem is not counterfeits at all - its “Amazon Basics”… they copy products that sell well, and undercut the quality brand name product with a kinda-sorta “good enough for Amazon customers” version.

Here’s ONE example:

The famous “Ape Case”, which, for $50, protects my massive Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 vibration reduction autofocus lens during my travels, and even has room to also hold any camera body I wish to attach:

…and the $17 Amazon knock-off, which looks similar, but will not accommodate such a long lens, but still would be a decent case for cameras and lenses smaller than howitzers.

That is very true about it being a deterrent. They now report on how many people try to add a listing of your products without a transparency code. We have had over 50 people try on one listing.

We sticker at the manufacturing level, so the issue with offering some without the code should not be an issue they will all have it (which adds to the cost).

Thank you both for your input. I still have not decided because I’m still doing a cost evaluation.


Do you have any idea what the definition of “try” here is?

Does it mean…

  • Someone searching for the ASIN in add a product
  • Clicking “Show limitations”
  • Clicking Apply to sell
  • Clicking Request approval
  • Actually submitting the application with invalid transparency codes

I routinely apply/request for ASINs that I have no intention of actually selling to check if I’ll be auto approved or not. So someone clicking through the workflow doesn’t mean they intended to sell your product unless they actually submit a false application.

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This is the description Amazon provides:
Number of times listing attempt was abandoned or did not pass authenticity check when code was requested.

My guess is after clicking Apply to sell approval it counts as an “attempt.”

Well, that doesn’t say a ton since people (or bots) will click through that workflow with no real intention of selling a product.

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