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How counterfeiters evade brand protection efforts

Posted by Gordon Mcconnell on Friday, Jan 19, 2018

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Red Points study reveals some of the key tactics employed by counterfeits to evade detection on ecommerce sites.

Most brands take their IP very seriously. The threat of counterfeiting has never been higher. As a result, the majority of brands use some type of brand protection. This can take many forms such as a service, in-house staff or software solution but all work on the premise of finding the brand's products online and removing listings that are not genuine.

However, in recent years previously notorious markets, such as Aliexpress, have improved their reporting and removal tools for brands. This combined with greater cooperation with the brands has resulted in noticeably safer shopping experience for both customers and brands. But the problem persists in new ways.

Download full keyword report here

Red Points' brand protection analysts have been researching how and why the problem of counterfeiting on ecommerce sites remains. To do this, our analysts looked at how counterfeit items are described on ecommerce sites and how this description changes over time. They compiled data from the first 6 months of a brand becoming protected. The results show that despite it becoming more difficult to sell a protected brand via ecommerce platforms, counterfeiters will not give up on a sales channel lightly.

The research looks at keywords and their use; in other words how the item is described on an ecommerce site. The document shows that counterfeits change their tactics after they become aware that their keyword is protected.

For example, if the counterfeiter uses the brand's real name, eg. Converse trainers, to describe their counterfeit products, then once a brand protection service is in place, staff or software will find these items quickly and remove them. It takes approximately 1 month of constant removals before the frequency at which the real brand name is used to describe counterfeits decreases. After 1 month of protection, counterfeiters start to use other tactics and describe their products in different ways to maintain sales but evade detection.

The study goes into more detail to describe the different tactics employed and the life cycles of certain keywords. In conclusion, counterfeiters continue to react to improved protection tools by diversifying their own sales methods. With this in mind, brand protection services must remain at the cutting edge in order to maintain an advantage over those who would like to sell illegal counterfeits and replicas.

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About the author

Gordon Mcconnell

Post Written by Gordon Mcconnell

Gordon leads our content team as editor and content marketing manager. He has worked for over 5 years in data journalism and business writing for a range of companies and NGOs.