South Africa: Amazon: Lessons From The World's Biggest Brand

Last Updated: 3 May 2019
Article by Rachel Sikwane

Most Read Contributor in South Africa, July 2019

Some brands simply seem to play a major role in our lives – Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix. These are brands that for many of us have become something of an ever present. One brand that surely belongs on that list is Amazon, one of the most important, influential and high-profile brands in the world. Brand Finance recently declared Amazon to be the world's most valuable brand, valuing it at USD50-billion. So, it makes sense to keep abreast of what is going on there.

Fighting fakes

The publication World Trademark Review recently reported on developments regarding Amazon and counterfeits. The counterfeiting problem has, of course, moved online, and there have long been concerns about the number of counterfeit products that are available on Amazon. The company has for some time been under pressure from big brand owners who are, unsurprisingly, unhappy about the fact that people can buy cheap knock-offs of their products on Amazon. So, the company recently launched an initiative called Project Zero, with the "zero" apparently signifying the number of counterfeit goods that will eventually be available on Amazon. Project Zero is described as a "self-service takedown tool" for brand owners. 

Project Zero will comprise three steps. Step one will require brand owners to provide Amazon with their logos and other trade mark data. Amazon will then apparently scan five-billion product listings every day, with the intention of finding the counterfeits. Amazon promises that this system will be 100 times more effective than its present anti-counterfeiting system which, provided that Amazon's present success rate is any number above zero, has to be a good thing!

Step two involves DIY. What will happen here, is that the brand owner will itself be able to remove counterfeit listings that relate to its brand. Amazon has made it clear that it will not tolerate any misuse of the tool. This, we assume, means that brand owners will not be able to use the tool to get rid of the listings of competitors, or perhaps even parallel importers. 

Step three is described as a "product serialisation" service, which will involve companies creating unique codes for every single product that they manufacture, thus enabling Amazon to scan and confirm the authenticity of any product bought. The idea here is to stop any counterfeit product from ever reaching a customer. This service will involve a cost for brand owners, ranging from USD.001 to .005 per unit.

Project Zero will be rolled out in stages and, at present, 15 companies are participating in a pilot scheme. In order to use Project Zero, brand owners will need to provide Amazon with details of their trade mark registrations, and they will need to enroll their brands in Amazon's brand registry. 

Brand owners will undoubtedly welcome any efforts made by the world's largest retailer to tackle the scourge of counterfeiting!

Amazon's own brand is not a threat 

Amazon has for some time been selling own-brand products, and these "house brands" often appear higher in Amazon's search results than third-party brands. Yet, despite this preferential listing policy, research suggests that Amazon's brands are no great threat to other brand owners. According to Bloomberg (18 March 2019), "most Amazon-branded goods are flops that don't threaten other businesses at all." 

The study has shown "shoppers aren't more inclined to buy Amazon brands even when the company elevates them in search results." The publication goes on to say that "popular political and media narratives about Amazon's market power are overblown, despite the company capturing 52.4% of all online spending in the U.S." More specifically, the study suggests that whereas own brands have been successful in some basic product areas like batteries – "where shoppers are inclined to seek generic alternatives to save money" – that success certainly doesn't extend to areas like luxury goods. 

Although a finding that your brands aren't doing very well would normally be seen as bad news, in this case it might actually be good news. That's because it might take the heat off Amazon a bit – there have been concerns about the company's perceived dominance and market power, and a leading US senator has been threatening to take steps to break the company up.

The finding that Amazon's own brands don't threaten other brands is perhaps a bit surprising in the light of a survey reported on in World Trademark Review that suggests that brand loyalty is down. According to the report, consumers are more willing than ever to shift brands. Unsurprisingly, this is seen as a consequence of the digital age, where purchases are a mere click away. 

With these and other developments, Amazon remains a company and a brand to watch. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions