News Cart for March 13th

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Fear not: It’s back! We’re resurrecting our biweekly e-commerce news roundup to serve you even more business-related tidbits than you already consume.

Please enjoy this ECF News Cart for March 13th, 2019:

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In the News:

Amazon Cracks Down on Counterfeit Products and Fake Reviews

  • Project Zero tackles counterfeits with automated scanning, self-service removals and serial numbers.  (Invite only)
  • Amazon sues the operators of five businesses allegedly selling fake reviews.
  • FTC wins settlement in first-ever lawsuit over fraudulent reviews.

Report: Amazon Lifts Restriction on Sellers Criticized as Anti-Competitive

  • Company to quit blocking third-party sellers from offering lower prices on competing websites.
  • Change follows pressure from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and an investigation by Germany’s antitrust authority

Target Announces Launch of Its Curated, Third-Party Marketplace, Target+

  • Vetting allows Target to dodge the PR nightmare of offensive and/or poor quality merchandise.
  • Target+ shoppers to receive REDcard discounts, free shipping, in-store returns and other Target perks.

Bloomberg Report: Amazon Purging Suppliers in Push to Boost E-Commerce Profits

  • Company wants vendors to sell directly to customers on its marketplace, Bloomberg reports
  • Truth may be more nuanced:  Community members report Amazon staff caught off-guard and scrambling
  • Many sellers saw POs begin again days later assuming they were part of Brand Registry

Nearly Half WTO Members Agree to Negotiate Rules on Global E-Commerce (hat tip to ECF member Miracle Wanzo)

  • The European Union, the United States, China and 46 other WTO members seek to develop more open, predictable regulations on cross-border e-commerce.
  • Comprehensive rules to focus on making global e-commerce safer and more reliable for consumers and businesses, especially smaller ones.
  • Negotiations set to begin this month.

Call to Action: Help California Treasurer Push Back on Sales Tax Requirements

  • California’s treasurer, with the support of state officials, wrote a letter asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to lift sales tax requirements for Amazon FBA sellers. If you’d like to support their efforts, the Online Merchants Guild offers a template letter.
  • Community member Alex Oxford breaks it down here.
  • State lawmakers have also proposed a bill that would raise annual revenue thresholds in California from $100,000 to $500,000 for out-of-state sellers.

Blow to Bitcoin as Mark Zuckerberg Warns Facebook Payments Are Coming

  • Facebook reveals it’s working on its own cryptocurrency for WhatsApp
  • Zuckerberg says future communication will “shift to private, encrypted services.”

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