Every week, Hendrik Laubscher will be providing third party sellers with a selection of news stories that they need to be aware of. As a Prosper Show participant we strive to ensure that you can focus on your business while we handle all the industry news. The past week contained some very interesting news – the FBI is working closely with marketplaces over fraudulent / knock off products. Then for some or other reason Amazon decided to surprise all of their sellers with a new updated Seller Central. Lastly, a third party found that Walmart is the most expensive Big-Box retailer in consumer electronics.

The FBI announced on Friday that it was launching a new strategy in collaboration with the Department of Justice, working with with third-party marketplaces — such as eBay and Amazon — to enforce intellectual property laws by giving them analytical tools to work out when people might be selling fake goods. The strategy will also award more than $3.2 million to local law enforcement forces to train them in how to police copyright infringement, money that is to be split into chunks, with police departments — including those in Austin, Baltimore, New Jersey, and other major urban centers — awarded between $400,000 and $120,000 to combat piracy. Any marketplace no matter the scale struggles with dealing with potential fake goods. This is a huge additional service for marketplaces to ensure that customers can purchase products from them without worries over fakes etc. Read more here.

Amazon sellers got a surprise this week when they went to the section called Seller Central where they manage their orders. Amazon rolled out a new design, and like any event that impacts a seller’s daily routine, not everyone enjoyed the change. Sellers agreed that the fonts were bigger and that the page design was simpler. But not everyone agreed the implementation made for a positive experience. The fonts are too big, and the blue font is hard to read, were common complaints. The timing of this change is interesting and the lack over communication to merchants make me believe that this was a routine update that did not contain new functionality. Read more here.

According to the Boomerang Commerce Retail Analytics Report for Consumer Electronics, competition among retailers is fiercest among the most popular (or “head”) products. Amazon’s closest competitor Walmart offers only 39.3 percent of the sample product assortment and is priced more than 8.3 percent higher. Despite Amazon’s clear domination, competing retailers could lure consumer electronics consumers by substantially expanding their assortments and offering lower average prices to improve consumers’ price perception.This is a very interesting report that is worth a read as it highlights that Walmart is expensive with regards to consumer electronics. Overall Jet most closely matches Amazon on price, averaging only 1.4 percent higher in the set of data tested. Pricing is a very interesting and complex part of marketplace selling. Read more here.

Till next week. Onwards.