- Amazon told third-party sellers on its site on Wednesday that it will start displaying the sellers' business names and addresses on its US marketplace, starting in September.
- The move adds transparency to Amazon's US marketplace, and makes it easier for customers or competitors to contact sellers of counterfeit products.
- The move follows a recommendation made by the US Department of Homeland Security in a January report titled "Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods."
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Amazon will start displaying the business names and addresses of the third-party sellers on its US marketplace starting in September, as part of its effort to increase transparency on its site.
On Wednesday, Amazon sent a note to third-party sellers about the change, saying it's intended to give customers more information about the merchants they're buying from. It also adds consistency across its site, the note said, as Amazon already displays seller names and addresses on its marketplaces in Europe, Japan, and Mexico. The change will take place on Sept. 1.
"These features help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products that they are selling," the note said. "We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions."
The move is Amazon's latest in improving transparency on its marketplace. Over half of the products sold on Amazon come from third-party sellers, but until now, their business names and addresses have remained anonymous on the US marketplace, by far the largest one for Amazon. The company has made other changes in recent years, too, by adding a seller profile page and piloting a video conference to vet third-party merchants.
"I like this move because a real business with a real warehouse and real employees will stand out," said Ed Rosenberg, who first shared the news on his online seller group called ASGTG.
Sellers on ASGTG's Facebook page had mixed responses about the change. While some said the added transparency will help track down sketchy sellers of counterfeit products, some expressed concerns of privacy issues.
Juozas Kaziukenas wrote on his site Marketplace Pulse that it's the right step to make sellers's identities public, but it remains to be seen how effective the change will be. It's still possible for sellers to use fake business names and addresses on Amazon, and it's easy to create new accounts even if they get suspended for selling counterfeit products.
Kaziukenas pointed out that the change follows the recommendations made in a January report by the US Department of Homeland Security on how to combat counterfeit and pirated goods. In the report, the DHS wrote that e-commerce platforms should give consumers details about "the identity of storefront owners and/or those responsible for fulfilling a transaction, as well as any allegations of counterfeits being sold by a particular seller."
"To increase transparency on this issue, platforms should significantly improve their pre-sale identification of third-party sellers so that buyers can make informed decisions, potentially factoring in the likelihood of being sold a counterfeit or IPR infringing merchandise," the DHS report said.
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