Amazon Announces Plan to Fight Counterfeits

AlphaAtlas

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Despite Amazon's best efforts so far, the retailer's online storefront is still filled with counterfeit or bogus products that are frequently accompanied by fake 5-star reviews. Earlier this month, the FTC brought the hammer down on one such merchant with a $12.8 million dollar fine, and today, Amazon announced a new initiative designed to fight counterfeit products. The company claims "Amazon Zero" allows brands to remove counterfeit listings themselves, rather than having to go through Amazon first. The counterfeits companies take down will then be fed into a machine-learning powered automated protection mechanism, which they say will "continuously scan our stores and proactively remove suspected counterfeits." Amazon is also introducing a product serialization service that can supposedly stop counterfeits that slip through, before they reach customers.

Brands provide us with their logos, trademarks, and other key data about their brand, and we scan over 5 billion product listing updates every day, looking for suspected counterfeits. We've been testing these automated protections with a number of brands, and on average, our automated protections proactively stop 100 times more suspected counterfeit products as compared to what we reactively remove based on reports from brands... Project Zero is currently an invite-only experience, and we're working to add more brands quickly.
 

SamuelL421

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The first thing they should do is look at anything imported from China as being suspicious. Assume it's counterfeit and only offer it for sale after it has been deemed legitimate.
They should do exactly that, but they won't since scrutinizing Chinese sellers goes against making money for Amazon. This is only happening now because of that settlement from the other day.

Related: this is worth a listen if you're interested in the topic of Amazon, chinese fakes, and questionable sellers:
https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/124
 

James Robinson

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The first thing they should do is look at anything imported from China as being suspicious. Assume it's counterfeit and only offer it for sale after it has been deemed legitimate.
Except there are more then 30 countries pouring the fakes into the supply stream. I spend horrendous amounts of time investigating this issue, and informing purchasers of the facts, getting Vendors shut-down.

The single LARGEST issue is that Amazon has started farming out logistics and Vendor Support to countries like India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Brazil... NONE of them have any tools, access to merchandise data, or even photos. They bury ISS and investigators in nonsense claims and ticket requests, often outright lying and conflating in support of the offending Vendor. For every step forward we've taken 3 steps back and the job is turning into a living hell with Senior Ops having not the slightest clue how to actually manage, and making decisions with no basis on representative fact. It's maddening.
 

c3k

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Except there are more then 30 countries pouring the fakes into the supply stream. I spend horrendous amounts of time investigating this issue, and informing purchasers of the facts, getting Vendors shut-down.

The single LARGEST issue is that Amazon has started farming out logistics and Vendor Support to countries like India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Brazil... NONE of them have any tools, access to merchandise data, or even photos. They bury ISS and investigators in nonsense claims and ticket requests, often outright lying and conflating in support of the offending Vendor. For every step forward we've taken 3 steps back and the job is turning into a living hell with Senior Ops having not the slightest clue how to actually manage, and making decisions with no basis on representative fact. It's maddening.
Very interesting.

Of the 30 countries which are pouring in fakes, which one is the top, by sales volume (items) and which one is top by sales amount (cost)? How far distant is number 2, number 3?

I'm curious, not trying to poke holes or anything. If China accounts for 90% of fakes (some "fakes" are made in the SAME factory by the SAME workers as the legitimate items...that's Chinese business for ya'), then the other 29 countries only account for 10%. That'd be good to know. If China is just 10%, well, that puts a whole new light on it, don't you think?

Thanks.
 

DukenukemX

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I don't have a problem with counterfeit's as they drive the price of products lower. If someone in China can make your glasses for a fraction of the price but still look and function the same then there's something really wrong here. On the other hand I don't want counterfeit electronics, like phones and car parts. I have had personal experience with a fake Denso O2 sensor that I bought off Ebay that triggered a lean code and wouldn't go away until I got an actual Denso O2 sensor from RockAuto. I also don't want Apple removing refurbished iPhone parts like they did with Louis Rossmann.

It's a difficult situation to get done right.

 

ThatsAgood1jay

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Maybe Amazon shouldn't allow any joe schmoe become a seller? The biggest contributor to the fakes problem is the 'drop ship' sellers that host out of amazon warehouses. I won't buy off of amazon unless it states 'shipped and sold by amazon'
 
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I don't see cheap/fake products as much of an issue, they are easy enough to spot. What they SHOULD start on with this is their mixed inventory system. 20 sellers listing the same thing? Well 5 are selling legit items, the other 15 are selling knock offs, but Amazon, if they are the ones shipping, mix all of them together so you are left with a chance to get what you ordered or a knock off. This is seen often with SD/USB drives and the like. PLEASE STOP THIS.
 

MrDeaf

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If amazon keeps allowing counterfeits onto their store, this will affect their brand integrity and consequentially, it will mean less official sellers wanting to deal with amazon.

A lot of startups have problems with how amazon endorses counterfeits of the startup's product that they sell exclusively with amazon.
 

James Robinson

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Related: this is worth a listen if you're interested in the topic of Amazon, chinese fakes, and questionable sellers:
https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/124
Actually a good listen. btw. the 'tempered glass' item they refer to was phone screens. HUGE counterfeiter market with those... but what the link fails to address is the other half... fake reviews left on competitors items to drive down their spot and sales.. it is a MUCH larger issue and easier then building up your own brand or product.
 

c3k

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I don't have a problem with counterfeit's as they drive the price of products lower. If someone in China can make your glasses for a fraction of the price but still look and function the same then there's something really wrong here. On the other hand I don't want counterfeit electronics, like phones and car parts. I have had personal experience with a fake Denso O2 sensor that I bought off Ebay that triggered a lean code and wouldn't go away until I got an actual Denso O2 sensor from RockAuto. I also don't want Apple removing refurbished iPhone parts like they did with Louis Rossmann.

It's a difficult situation to get done right.

If you owned a glasses company, you'd have a different view. (Oh, I'm very punny...)
 

odditory

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Yep, same thought. This will be used to remove a vendor's competitor from Amazon.
As someone that does a lot of Amazon selling, this was exactly my first thought. 9 times out of 10 when I get a bullshit copyright claim it's another chinese merchant that just arrived and is trying to troll and thin out number of competing merchants. I always win and get their bogus claim rejected but it's a war of attrition and they know it - they keep showing up with new accounts and just spam relentlessly.

Who Amazon Zero will really help is the big name brands, since they'll be able to just autokill any competing seller - even sellers of the exact same legit retail product. They already do this to an extent.
 
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SamuelL421

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I don't have a problem with counterfeit's as they drive the price of products lower. If someone in China can make your glasses for a fraction of the price but still look and function the same then there's something really wrong here. On the other hand I don't want counterfeit electronics, like phones and car parts. I have had personal experience with a fake Denso O2 sensor that I bought off Ebay that triggered a lean code and wouldn't go away until I got an actual Denso O2 sensor from RockAuto. I also don't want Apple removing refurbished iPhone parts like they did with Louis Rossmann.

It's a difficult situation to get done right.

The fake car parts kill me, I have a relative who consistently purchases the cheapo sensors on ebay. I can't tell you how many he has been through on various makes and models in the family. On this point, I have banged my head against a wall time and time again with him... he is convinced the parts are "just as good" because one or two times (out of, lets say, 30) that statement was true. It just goes to show that price wins out every time: even if you sell something that is a third of the quality of "name-brand", you will always find buyers so long as it is half the price.
 

Darunion

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I don't have a problem with counterfeit's as they drive the price of products lower. If someone in China can make your glasses for a fraction of the price but still look and function the same then there's something really wrong here. On the other hand I don't want counterfeit electronics, like phones and car parts. I have had personal experience with a fake Denso O2 sensor that I bought off Ebay that triggered a lean code and wouldn't go away until I got an actual Denso O2 sensor from RockAuto. I also don't want Apple removing refurbished iPhone parts like they did with Louis Rossmann.

It's a difficult situation to get done right.

Just to help clarify this is exactly what they are wanting to eliminate. Not competition but direct copies made with gray market crap. Fake UL listings, not rohs compliant, untested products etc. And then labeled with a different name, sometimes even just using someone elses logo or maybe altering it slightly.

Competition is good, I often buy somethings from chinese vendors that I have looked at for items I use because not all chinese stuff is trash.

Where I work we have had companies use our logo, our circuit boards, and even photos of our employees in marketing to sell their crap. Those ones we can get removed from amazon and blocked and customs. When they use our design but make their own and use their own logo, that is fair competition and not something we can contest.

The problem is amazon doesn't care, they let you call it what you want and sell it. And you squash the company and they dissolve and come back with a different name and you play whack-a-mole forever

It is odd you would support copying as long as it doesn't affect you personally. I mean someone made your 02 sensor from copying and selling at a lower price, it just didn't work properly, this is really the case with most of these copies sold at low cost. The reason is they have no development to recoup, they didn't have to design it and they have no skin in the game so they don't care about quality either. Which in the case of using the same names, also harms the brand of the original company.

Many people who have no idea what they are buying buy fake stuff and then give the original product a bad review. And also in our case, call us up demanding refunds or replacements when they didn't buy our product they bought a copy and didn't know better.
 

c3k

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It'd be interesting to make Amazon liable for damages equal to the cost of the REAL part. So, I buy a $20 fake. I get my $20 back...and AMAZON has pay ANOTHER $20 to me. After a few quarters, Amazon may take a little more care about the products they pass off as legitimate.
 

DukenukemX

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The fake car parts kill me, I have a relative who consistently purchases the cheapo sensors on ebay. I can't tell you how many he has been through on various makes and models in the family. On this point, I have banged my head against a wall time and time again with him... he is convinced the parts are "just as good" because one or two times (out of, lets say, 30) that statement was true. It just goes to show that price wins out every time: even if you sell something that is a third of the quality of "name-brand", you will always find buyers so long as it is half the price.
I generally go for the lowest priced part cause often one website wants twice as much as another for the same part. RockAuto wanted $120 for a Denso O2 while on Ebay it was $50. Says Denso on the sensor and the box says Lexus/Toyota, so I figure it was genuine. If it said something like China #1 instead of Denso then at least I knew that I was getting a cheap Chinese sensor and treat it accordingly. I wouldn't care as long as it worked but I spent months diagnosing the issue and avoided looking at the sensor cause it was brand new.

I did make a video explaining the whole ordeal and warning others not to fall into this trap.
 

TheOne&OnlyZeke

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The system should have something in place that if a competitor causes a store to go offline then they themselves are subject to a ban

Something like that
 

Lakados

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They should do exactly that, but they won't since scrutinizing Chinese sellers goes against making money for Amazon. This is only happening now because of that settlement from the other day.

Related: this is worth a listen if you're interested in the topic of Amazon, chinese fakes, and questionable sellers:
https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/124
I doubt they built all that in just a day, retailers and regulators have been riding Amazon for a while. The merchant processors and credit companies especially as they are usually left holding the bill when people dispute charges for fraudulent items. This has been a long time coming and I hope it works.
 

clockdogg

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The new system will probably fix nothing (except making Amazon more money). Interesting article on the subject (it's old but still relevant): https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.th...place-scams-seller-court-appeal-reinstatement
Bad sellers will keep finding ways to screw legitimate ones...
That's a scammy link! Using the internet's biggest scammer, Google, to provide/aggregate/steal content from the (sleazy) verge, for an article about Amazon's scam.

Could use the direct link: https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/19...place-scams-seller-court-appeal-reinstatement but then it's still the verge, so you still get google spyware, Vox trackers and adds served by Amazon. However, the article is hilarious in the description of a retail monopolist gone automated Vogon poetry festival. The net has become a deep scam economy. Only the patient and persistent survive.
 

Vaulter98c

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I don't have a problem with counterfeit's as they drive the price of products lower. If someone in China can make your glasses for a fraction of the price but still look and function the same then there's something really wrong here. On the other hand I don't want counterfeit electronics, like phones and car parts. I have had personal experience with a fake Denso O2 sensor that I bought off Ebay that triggered a lean code and wouldn't go away until I got an actual Denso O2 sensor from RockAuto. I also don't want Apple removing refurbished iPhone parts like they did with Louis Rossmann.

It's a difficult situation to get done right.

There's a huge difference between market-place competition and counterfeit products. If you spent hundreds of thousands or even millions on R&D and product test runs to create a great product, you have to sell that product at a price to recoup that. How would you feel if some Chinese ass hat came along and stole all your work, subbed out some cheap quality components, and then took over half your market by copying everything you did, usually including even your advertisement and product descriptions or website designs, and then undercut your price by half? Now you can't payback the cost of R&D and you either have to cut employees or cut corners trying to make your next product, which just hurts your brand name even more and it becomes a never ending cycle because there's always that Chinese company ready to undercut and screw you over.

Then you literally go on to tell a story about how you yourself got screwed because you bought a knock off part...

It seems like you don't mind everyone losing crap loads of money because it's not your money and hard-work that went into it to start with. In my opinion that's a horrible view to have on the topic.
 

DukenukemX

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There's a huge difference between market-place competition and counterfeit products. If you spent hundreds of thousands or even millions on R&D and product test runs to create a great product, you have to sell that product at a price to recoup that. How would you feel if some Chinese ass hat came along and stole all your work, subbed out some cheap quality components, and then took over half your market by copying everything you did, usually including even your advertisement and product descriptions or website designs, and then undercut your price by half? Now you can't payback the cost of R&D and you either have to cut employees or cut corners trying to make your next product, which just hurts your brand name even more and it becomes a never ending cycle because there's always that Chinese company ready to undercut and screw you over.
With the recent fiasco of overpriced memory, I don't have sympathy for companies bottom line.
Then you literally go on to tell a story about how you yourself got screwed because you bought a knock off part...
LIke I said I don't like knock off electronics. Obviously they didn't copy it 100% otherwise the damn thing would work. As long as they don't call their knock offs Apple, Samsung, or whatever then I'm fine.

It seems like you don't mind everyone losing crap loads of money because it's not your money and hard-work that went into it to start with. In my opinion that's a horrible view to have on the topic.
After the ram industry made insane profits from price fixing I couldn't care less what happens to any company. People losing vs companies, which do I care about?
 

kju1

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If you owned a glasses company, you'd have a different view. (Oh, I'm very punny...)
Except the majority of eyeglasses are made/owned by ONE company: Luxotica. They also own the major chain eye doctors and insurance plans (vsp).
 

Brian_B

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Try ordering something as benign as AA batteries from Amazon.

Sure, it says Duracell on the package.... and 1 out of 18 of them will have any charge, the other 17 filled with cement, or say "Best By 2010".
 

kju1

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Try ordering something as benign as AA batteries from Amazon.

Sure, it says Duracell on the package.... and 1 out of 18 of them will have any charge, the other 17 filled with cement, or say "Best By 2010".
Stop buying from RandoTheChinamen seller and buy from amazon instead? I’ve literally never gotten a fake.

But then I pay attention. Here’s a hint: if it’s too good to be true it probably is. That $2000 TV you found on RandoTheChinamens store for $800? Fake or stolen.

Imo this will solve nothing except to provide an avenue for abuse.
 

Vaulter98c

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With the recent fiasco of overpriced memory, I don't have sympathy for companies bottom line.

LIke I said I don't like knock off electronics. Obviously they didn't copy it 100% otherwise the damn thing would work. As long as they don't call their knock offs Apple, Samsung, or whatever then I'm fine.


After the ram industry made insane profits from price fixing I couldn't care less what happens to any company. People losing vs companies, which do I care about?
Combine this with your replies in the piracy story and I now realize I'm not going to get anywhere with you, you just want to get everything free or cheap and screw big bad companies for wanting the same price for games they've charged for like 3 decades besides costs going through the damn roof. Between that and having no fundamental understanding of why blu-rays got cheaper I know this is a lost cause.

I'll leave you with this though. All those movie and game companies that you admit to stealing from and the companys who you encourage knock offs against, does it occur to you when you root for these guys to fail that A: there won't be any more good products for you to steal if that continues, and B: the big bad companies you are rooting against are filled with random Joe's just like you that like getting their paychecks as much as you do. But hey, screw companies, they are in no way connected to "people"
 

Darunion

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Try ordering something as benign as AA batteries from Amazon.

Sure, it says Duracell on the package.... and 1 out of 18 of them will have any charge, the other 17 filled with cement, or say "Best By 2010".
Batteries are rough, problem is amazon warehouses end up mixing crap up. Its so bad my people in purchasing won't let me order any from amazon anymore. Energizer doesn't even list amazon as an authorized distributor for some of their batteries even if sold on there.
 

DukenukemX

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Combine this with your replies in the piracy story and I now realize I'm not going to get anywhere with you, you just want to get everything free or cheap
By George I think he gets it.
OTyJ7Po.gif

and screw big bad companies for wanting the same price for games they've charged for like 3 decades besides costs going through the damn roof. Between that and having no fundamental understanding of why blu-rays got cheaper I know this is a lost cause.
Then let me explain it to you, seeing as you can't. Back in my day a game was $50, but those games were on catridges. Very expensive catridges, that sometimes had batteries to save games, or a co-processor to help speed up the game cause the Super Nintendo wasn't very powerful. Then we moved to CD's and it got a lot cheaper cause printing CD's costs next to nothing compared to cartridges. Then we moved to digital downloads which costs like a penny or less. But yet the cost of games has gone up to $60, so says Microsoft and Sony and we've never questioned this since. Games have larger reach than ever before, so more copies are sold than ever before. Sometimes we double or triple dip with "remasters" or "emulators" that gets resold to us. Last I checked creating movies have gone up in price too and the cost of watching movies has actually gone down. What the fuck is up with that?

I'll leave you with this though. All those movie and game companies that you admit to stealing from and the companys who you encourage knock offs against, does it occur to you when you root for these guys to fail that A: there won't be any more good products for you to steal if that continues, and B: the big bad companies you are rooting against are filled with random Joe's just like you that like getting their paychecks as much as you do. But hey, screw companies, they are in no way connected to "people"
Are we talking about piracy or counterfeit goods? Anything I like I buy when it comes to games, so that way I support the companies who make good games. Companies who make bad games or mediocre games gets no sale. If you can't make good games then don't be in this industry, simple as that. Don't waste my time with bad games. As for counterfeit goods then lower prices. Physical objects that aren't electronic I don't care who makes it so long as it works. Most of the profit making is from brand recognition and I don't buy into that shit. That's why we have Chevy making a commercial trying to convince people they make the most reliable brand of cars, cause the consensus is they don't, and they rather spend money on marketing rather than putting it into making better cars. This includes glasses, bags, cloths, and etc. Brand names fuck me over as much as the counterfeits anyway so I might as well be a good capitalist and go with the cheaper price.
 
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GoldenTiger

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There's a huge difference between market-place competition and counterfeit products. If you spent hundreds of thousands or even millions on R&D and product test runs to create a great product, you have to sell that product at a price to recoup that. How would you feel if some Chinese ass hat came along and stole all your work, subbed out some cheap quality components, and then took over half your market by copying everything you did, usually including even your advertisement and product descriptions or website designs, and then undercut your price by half? Now you can't payback the cost of R&D and you either have to cut employees or cut corners trying to make your next product, which just hurts your brand name even more and it becomes a never ending cycle because there's always that Chinese company ready to undercut and screw you over.

Then you literally go on to tell a story about how you yourself got screwed because you bought a knock off part...

It seems like you don't mind everyone losing crap loads of money because it's not your money and hard-work that went into it to start with. In my opinion that's a horrible view to have on the topic.
That's about right. He also posts about how he pirates all the time too.
 

Vaulter98c

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"Back in my day" lol. You mean NES and SNES when games were $50 to $75 at the store, had a development team of like 15 people and took a couple months for people to code up on like 8 computers? Yes, there's no way that a game like Cyberpunk 2077 that's taken a team of what, 80-100 folks like 6+ years to make, should cost that same amount, and I'm not even going to bother with trying to explain inflation yet still hitting the same price...

Even Super Mario Bros 3, which pushed a basic cart and NES config to nearly it's max was made by a team of under 20 folks, and had a budget of under a million, and that was a flagship send off title from one of the best in house teams ever! ( Fun fact, still one of the best selling games of all times, so there goes your nowadays people buy more argument because this was decades ago)

What about a lesser title, Mega Man? This was a 6 man team, and they even did all the box work and instruction manuals, virtually everything besides assembling the games and shipping them themselves. But yes, lets compare that to todays hit titles teams and dev cycles....

Another Fun fact, buying a game for even just your quoted $50 (which there were way more expensive games in the 80s and 90s) that would equate to almost $115 in todays market
So, to break it down barney style for the less capable amongst us:
We've increased dev time by 2-5 times depending on the title (wage increases play in here too)
We've increased the dev team size by 2-15 times depending on the title (wage increases and logistics play in here too)
We've increased the amount of countries we sell games to (infrastructure & logistics isn't free you know)
And yet we've managed to keep the game prices the same besides inflation saying the games should be nearly twice as expensive, all while allowing for the above increases...

We've Literally upped our game by an exponential factor yet kept the average launch price to almost 50% of what it should be if it was a static trend....

But yea, keep stealing and promoting theft of IP because it makes you feel superior

Not even going to waste my time explaining how much of a worse breakdown it is when a company gets a counterfeit design stolen from them and sold to undercut them
 

kinjo

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This will end up fucking legitimate resellers as brands scramble to protect exclusivity and fix market prices by flagging everyone that sells their product for even a penny less than MSRP. This is one of the dumbest ideas Amazon has rolled out in a long time.
 

Staples

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Amazon has been trying? I didn't think they cared. Money talks. That is Jeff Bezos's moto.
 

Uvaman2

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Counterfeit, " fake" and imitation... Big difference. I like to have the options of imitation when possible.
 
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