Today (June 8th) is World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, and as the counterfeiting market expands it becomes more important for brands to protect themselves in terms of reputation as well as customers.
Counterfeiting is a growing, global problem that affects all industries — from electronics and technology, to luxury fashion goods and low margin consumer goods. The scale of the problem is apparent in both the demand for such goods and the volumes in which they are being produced. China, for example, is the source of approximately $1.2 billion of the $1.7 billion in counterfeit goods confiscated by U.S. law enforcement agencies in 2013.
It is important for brands to protect themselves in terms of their reputations and bottom lines, as well as their customers. But what exactly can be done to tackle the problem, especially with counterfeiters operating on a global platform?
- Attain global visibility
- Monitor points of promotion
- Take proactive action
- Set priorities. Identify the biggest offenders, offering the greatest number of counterfeit goods in the most highly trafficked venues, and address them first.
- Watch for cybersquatters. Brands should actively monitor the Internet for unauthorised use of their branded terms in domain names. This will aid in rapid detection of e-commerce sites selling counterfeit or unauthorised goods — and frequently also uncovers other abuses such as false association with offensive content like pornography.
- Become a difficult target. Brands that visibly, vigorously fight to remove counterfeit goods from online venues often see a dramatic drop in infringement against their brands.
- Use all your weapons. Most online channels provide mechanisms for dealing with counterfeit sales situations. Online marketplaces, for example, typically have policies and procedures enabling brand owners to report listings that infringe their brand
- Get help from friends. Industry relationships can be powerful weapons in the fight against online counterfeiting. When choosing a brand protection solution provider, look for one with established ties with thousands of ISPs and Registrars worldwide.
- Fight online counterfeit sales holistically
- Let online intelligence inform offline defence measures
- Act swiftly — and globally
- Educate your customers.
Online counterfeiting can have a detrimental impact on a brand, affecting its revenue and reputation, and decreasing customer confidence. It is something that simply cannot be ignored. However, brands do have options, from online brand protection strategies to working with experts in the field, making sure that this problem can be addressed efficiently and effectively.
By Charlie Abrahams, senior vice president, MarkMonitor