Note — Feb 16, 2020

All Your Favorite Brands, From BSTOEM to ZGGCD

An overview of the fake brands on Amazon, where they come from, where the products come from, how they operate, including what amounts to DDOSing the US trademark registration process.

It’s probably a bad parallel but this looks quite a bit like: Amazon is to fake products has Facebook is to fake news. Meaning; enabling weaponized algos, bad behaviour, stuff that destroys trust, messes up lives and jobs, and where both companies do far less than they could to stop the problems.

These “pseudo-brands,” as some Amazon sellers call them, represent a large and growing portion of the company’s business. These thousands of new product lines, launched onto Amazon by third party sellers with minimal conventional marketing, stocking the site with disparate categories of goods, many evaporating as quickly as they appeared, are challenging what it means to be a brand. […]

But it has been much more successful in recruiting Chinese entrepreneurs to sell abroad, opening “cross-border e-commerce parks,” where sellers can get assistance with logistics, branding, and navigating Amazon’s platform. For the last five years, the company has also hosted summits for Chinese cross-border sellers. Last year’s conference, held in Shanghai, was attended by more than 10,000 sellers, many of whom see, in Amazon, an alternative to increasingly saturated domestic platforms like Taobao. […]

The store is what matters, not the products, not the brand. The thing to be named, cultivated and protected by trademark isn’t a product or a line of products, but rather this thin, valuable conduit to American consumers, particularly to the more than 100 million American subscribers to Amazon Prime.