http://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/amazon-co ... tarch.html
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-revi ... 4YZ1757VDL
Essentially, Amazon assigns a unique ID to each product on its platform. Depending on which programs the brand participates in, a variety of sellers can provide inventory for each SKU (stock keeping unit). For example, if you buy Huggies diapers on Amazon, you may be buying diapers that the manufacturer shipped directly to Amazon, or you may be buying diapers that a third party procured and shipped to Amazon. The problem arises when that third party sends in fake goods
Richard added, "[T]he consumer always thinks the chain is: Manufacturer » Amazon » Me. But the reality is that is pretty much never guaranteed. The only way that's guaranteed is if you find the manufacturer's listing on Amazon.com and buy via [F]ulfilled by Amazon directly from them, AND they happen to choose to opt out of commingled inventory. In every other scenario there's a chance that you get inventory that didn't come from the manufacturer."
It appears that Amazon has a growing counterfeit issue. There is a lot of discussion on what is causing this exactly, but the explanations range from:
* "Entrepreneurs" have figured out how to start a company, buy crap from Alibaba (the Chinese competitor to Amazon), and then resell things in Amazon.
* "Fulfilled By Amazon" is potentially commingling goods together. That is, if you have 3 different suppliers (lets call them Alpha, Beta, and Delta) who are selling from a single "Fulfilled by Amazon" slot, even if the consumer buys from Alpha... the specific good may come from Delta. Amazon has an opt-in program to keep stuff from commingling, but it doesn't seem to be very well known among legitimate marketplace sellers.
* A combination of these two points leads to several "Fulfilled by Amazon" marketplace people in abusing the system. Straight up counterfeit goods may be sold on Amazon: lowering the quality of the primary supplier (in this case: "No Starch Press" has gotten a lot of 1-star reviews about shoddy quality from counterfeit books), while the counterfeiters profit off of the damage to other people's reputation.