How Do You Protect Consumers from Online Brand Abuse?

Senior Brand Protection Product Marketing Manager

There are two categories of consumers that purchase counterfeit goods online: the well-intentioned, seeking authentic products, who get duped into buying fakes — and those who are determined to buy counterfeits at heavily discounted prices.

To prevent revenue loss and protect consumer experience, you’ll want to focus on the former group, as 27 percent of online shoppers unknowingly purchase counterfeit goods.

Neglecting these well-intentioned consumers creates not only an immediate revenue loss but also a cascading negative impact on brand reputation. As counterfeit products fail, consumers associate them with bad experiences and defer to competitors.

MarkMonitor takes a unique, consumer-centric approach to brand protection. What do I mean by that? Statistically, about 91 percent of people do not look beyond the first page of search engine results, and about 70 percent of consumers don’t go past page one on marketplaces. When it comes to search advertising, the first advertisements on the first page receive significant attention, while only a fraction of users will click on the first advertisement of a second page.   

Such research shows that the well-intentioned consumer rarely goes beyond the first few pages on search results or marketplace listings when looking to buy. They are likely to change the keywords they are using and search again.

There’s a commonly-used term to describe the first few pages that the well-intentioned buyer looks at – the ‘visible pages’.  We focus our technology and best practices on these pages in search listings, marketplaces and paid search ads so that they are as clean as possible from counterfeit, pirated and grey market listings. This way, you can protect the well-intentioned consumer from buying pirated/counterfeit products, while recapturing revenue and ensuring maximum ROI from brand protection investments.

As you think about your online brand protection program, here are some key questions you should be asking:

  1.  Are you prioritizing detection and takedowns based on the most visible sites and listings? Removing brand infringements that are most visible to potential consumers needs to be a priority, so you’ll want to make sure you are protecting people from accessing these counterfeit, impersonating and/or illegitimate sites. If your brand program isn’t prioritizing the most visible pages, you are chasing the long tail, and you may find yourself stuck in a game of whack-a-mole, leaving your well-intentioned consumers (and your revenue) vulnerable.
  2. How are you tracking what consumers see from each country on a global scale? As you know, what a consumer finds on a particular marketplace (such as eBay or Amazon) will be different depending on geographic location. So, while you might have a strategic plan in place for detecting and taking down infringements in America, what about your strategy for China and Germany? Or, for that matter, every locale in the world? Of course, to be strategic, you should prioritize which regions you want to cover first and expand your regional coverage accordingly. For the regions you’ve identified, it’s essential to monitor and detect for infringements using local IP proxies globally. You want to be able to prioritize infringements based on what your local consumers are seeing, as this will make a significant impact to the effectiveness of your program. This is key to ensuring you are taking a consumer-centric approach to your brand protection program. 
  3. Are you tracking repeat offenders and identifying high-value targets (the most egregious offenders to your brand)? It’s key to have cutting-edge technology that connects the dots across all digital channels, such as websites, marketplaces, social media, mobile apps and email. Once you’ve identified the bad threat actor, you can investigate and gain actionable intelligence to help bridge your online and offline brand protection initiatives. Use the data and intelligence to work closely with law enforcement, including litigation, on-the-ground investigations or factory raids.

MarkMonitor has developed specific technology to enable brands to protect the well-intentioned consumer and maximize ROI from brand protection investments. While protecting well-intentioned consumers should be a priority, we also know that some of our clients want to go deeper beyond the most visible pages due to a specific consumer behavior within an industry segment, or due to regulatory requirements.

Our technology has the capability to identify and address infringements as deep and broad as possible on search results and marketplaces. Whether you are managing your brand protection program in-house or using a third-party, ensuring you have flexible technology is critical.

Online counterfeiting and infringement can have crippling impacts on genuine brands, resulting in lost revenue, operational disruption and damage to overall brand reputation. While the threat will never totally disappear, it can be greatly reduced by approaching your strategy from the perspective of consumers and using forward-thinking technology to tackle the problem.

By working with brand protection specialists to identify the traps that consumers are most commonly falling for and dealing with them appropriately, brands maintain a positive reputation and recapture revenue that they have been missing out on for so long through a truly effective strategy.

Get in touch with MarkMonitor today for more details, or you can learn more by downloading this introductory sheet.

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Alison Simpson
With more than 13 years’ experience in the domain industry, Alison has managed all aspects of Corporate Domain Managem... More