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eBay looks to control counterfeiting with new eBay Authenticate service

Posted by David Casellas on Friday, Jan 20, 2017

Over the years eBay has come to be one of the most important internet retailers, with both local and global recognition. Now, in view of the threat posed by counterfeits, and in an attempt to gain trust from its customers, the company has decided to launch a new strategy to eliminate fakes.

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It’s hard to imagine that what is now known as a multi-billion-dollar business with operations in over 30 countries around the world started as a hobby over 20 years ago. In the beginning, eBay was conceived as a free auction-style site where people could bid on any product they wanted. After its huge success, the company became an online marketplace for hundreds of brands offering an endless list of products.

But, as we all know, achieving success is not easy and the latest challenge the site has found is with counterfeit products. Due to the alarming number of fake goods found on the platform, eBay is launching a new anti-counterfeit service, eBay Authenticate, which will allow users to verify the legitimacy of products. Initially this service will target only high-end brands, which people are most skeptical about buying on these types of sites, but this service will ultimately be available for other relevant products.

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eBay Authenticate promises to benefit both buyers and sellers as it will offer them the possibility to opt for the authentication service, through which a team of experts will verify the legitimacy of the products and give their approval. For a fee that is yet to be determined, people who buy high-end goods will have the peace of mind that they are buying an authentic product, while the sellers will have the stamp of approval from the experts.

However, this system seems to have some drawbacks. On one hand, sellers are not required to prove that their products are authentic, so if they do not wish to do so, buyers will have to pay for the service themselves or hope for the best. At the same time, the authentication will be made after the purchase, so the buyer would have to wait longer to receive the products, as the experts would have to review them first.

In the fight against fakes, eBay is not the first online retailer to take a stand against counterfeit. Last year, and after Birkenstock decided to leave, Amazon adopted a “Brand Gating” policy, through which sellers are asked to prove that they can sell branded products and new sellers will have to pay additional fees to sell certain brands. Although this measure received a polemic response from its users, the company stated that this strategy will be just one of the several steps they will be taking to prevent counterfeits on its platform.

Alibaba is another company that has been affected by this issue. The largest online retailer in the world has been the victim of serious criticism over the years from users who are not satisfied with the site’s measures to protect brands, and although they claim they have been making efforts to eliminate fake products, it seems Alibaba’s counterfeit problems continue, resulting in the site being ‘blacklisted’ again by U.S authorities.

As for eBay Authenticate, the only thing we know for sure is that it is still being tested and that the pricing information and release date has yet to be revealed. It remains unclear whether eBay's anti-counterfeiting strategy will satisfy its customers and if it will truly be a solution to this problem, especially since it’s a measure that seems to pressure the customer more than the company itself.

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About the author

David Casellas

Post Written by David Casellas

David Casellas is the Co-founder of Red Points and is head of international strategy and future planning. David is an expert in digital piracy and intellectual property protection. He has over 7 years of experience working with global brands and international bodies.