The world isn’t local anymore.
Instead of going down to the corner store to buy your next tech gizmo or household item, you will likely first turn to the Internet. Many people use ecommerce sites like Amazon.com for a wide range of items and often for things that you would once have not thought of buying online, such as car tires, chicken coops or even three-ton industrial lathes!
There is no doubt that a greater number of people every year turn to the internet for purchasing everyday items. Indeed, five years have passed since ecommerce transactions broke through the $1 trillion mark. That number nearly doubled last year, and there is no end in sight.
Search engines deliver results for auto body shops or dentists that are customized by location. That makes sense right? The search engines are smart enough to know that, if you are looking for a physical business, you don’t care about one on the other side of town, the state, or in another country.
But did you know that ecommerce sites do something similar? Most ecommerce sites first look at your IP address and then serve up results tailored to your location.
This is part of delivering the most relevant results.
So how is this relevant to brand protection?
It’s very relevant. This affects brand protection efforts in multiple areas: marketplace listings, search engine paid ads or even organic search engine results – they all differ depending on your location.
Here are a few examples:
Let’s say you are a product company trying to monitor and remove counterfeit listings online. You would naturally do a search on any of the hundreds of online exchanges and marketplaces around the globe and type in your brand to see what comes up. That is the logical thing to do – but will only tell you part of the story.
Each ecommerce exchange will likely have its own country page and will serve up results depending on your IP address – so you need to actually be in the country you are searching to see local results from that country.
Let’s take an even more granular example, this time in paid search.
Remember when I discussed searching for a local service, such as a dentist or auto body shop? The search engine knows where you are located and will show you listings based on your physical location. With paid search ads, your location is determined by more than the country you are in: it can also be your state, city or even the part of the city in which you are located.
So if you are a brand owner and have a problem with one of your distributors placing paid ads that violates your advertising policy, and you do a search online for your brand, you are only able to look through a tiny keyhole. You are only getting a small sliver of information.
The only way to solve both of these problems is to search within each and every one of the locations you are monitoring. As a brand owner, this is not possible, because you would need to do a search in every city you wanted to monitor, both domestic and international.
But, as they say in the infomercials, wait – there’s more! Did you know different ads are served up by device type? So your problem is compounded at least three-fold, because you would need to have a laptop, tablet and mobile device in every city doing the search.
The only way to solve this dilemma is with technology. Only by partnering with a company that offers global reach and sends searches through thousands of IP proxies can you hope to widen that keyhole and see more of the room.
Sure, there will still be difficult-to-reach, dark corners, but with a technology provider like MarkMonitor, you can have a chance to see infringers globally, but on a local scale.