Best Practices for Battling Online Counterfeiters

Now that the holiday shopping season is behind us, it’s an opportune time to evaluate the lessons learned and prepare your brand for continued success in digital channels.  An alarming trend we continue to notice is the increasing number of savvy counterfeiters targeting online shoppers, especially bargain hunters. Follow the best practices below to ensure your customers aren’t being lured by the counterfeiters’ clutches.

First and foremost, pay attention to search terms surrounding your brand.  Counterfeiters are linking your brand name with discount-related terms in search engine marketing to steer your customers to their sites. Whether you discount or not- don’t lose a customer to a poor brand experience after they learn the product they purchased through a discount-related search is a fake.  Stay one step ahead of counterfeiters and buy search terms like ‘discount’, ‘outlet’ and ‘bargain.’

Counterfeiters will also try to  lure bargain-hunters by registering domain names including a popular brand and a term like ‘cheap’, ‘outlet’ or ‘discount’ – brandoutlet.com or cheapbranddeals.com.  Pre-empt the counterfeiters and don’t let them benefit from this practice, known as cybersquatting. Register domain names with these bargain-related terms yourself to ensure potential customers find your site when searching.

Scammers can easily impersonate a brand via social media channels as well.  In a digital twist on an age-old problem, counterfeiters promote e-commerce sites selling fake goods through spoofed social media accounts. By posting links on their fake profiles or fake pages featuring your brand’s logo and legitimate product photos, they may mislead consumers into purchasing counterfeit wares.

The key is to prevent these imposters from fooling consumers into thinking they’re engaging with your brand.  Establish accounts for your brand across all standard and emerging social media channels, using account verification whenever possible. Monitor social media channels for impersonation and misuse of branded terms on an ongoing basis.  Social media sites want to offer their users’ positive brand experiences, just as you do, and the sites’ Terms of Service usually provide guidelines on how to take action against counterfeiters.

Every time a shopper engaging with your brand online is intercepted by a counterfeiter, you risk losing revenue and customer loyalty.  With the increase in bargain-hunting web traffic, protect your brand and products from counterfeiters and stay ahead of their game.

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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