Brandjackers Target Tablet Market with Clones and Suspected Counterfeits According to MarkMonitor Report
Internet provides instantaneous promotion channels, representing a hidden competitor to well-known brands as holiday shopping season approaches
SAN FRANCISCO, November 1, 2011– MarkMonitor®, the global leader in enterprise brand protection, today released a special edition of the Brandjacking Index®, focused on tablet PCs. MarkMonitor discovered more than 23,000 listings for clones, suspected counterfeits or gray market tablet computers in a single day, as well as over 6,600 cybersquatted sites generating more than 75 million annual visits.
To produce the report, MarkMonitor analyzed five leading tablet brands over the course of a single day during the third quarter of 2011. MarkMonitor examined listings promoting those brands drawn from 23 business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) online marketplaces. In addition, MarkMonitor used Alexa and domain registration data to identify cybersquatted sites and the traffic that they generated.
“Online brandjackers pay close attention to market trends, especially those involving well-known brands, and are quick to put those trends and brand names to their own use,” said Frederick Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor. “As we head into the holiday shopping season, consumers should beware these ‘brand impersonators’ who are hidden in plain sight while brands need to be extra vigilant in foiling those who seek to profit at their expense.”
The online tablet business is booming, and brandjackers are profiting richly as they target consumers searching for bargains. After examining the 23,000 suspicious marketplace listings, MarkMonitor categorized the findings into three groups: clones, suspected counterfeits and gray market. MarkMonitor also identified 15 manufacturers of clone tablets and almost 8,000 individual sellers, including 766 selling bulk quantities of suspected counterfeit tablets.
Almost 20% of the listings promoting clones used branded terms so that consumers searching for the genuine brand would find the clone tablets listed alongside the branded goods. In contrast, suspected counterfeiters often employed tactics other than the use of branded terms to create an association with the legitimate brands while attempting to evade detection and action by legitimate manufacturers.
One common tactic included using photos of branded goods in listings without mentioning the brand and, in some instances, blurring the brand names in photos. Another tactic was to use the term ‘OEM’ in listings to imply that the tablet was part of an unauthorized run by a legitimate manufacturer. Another tip-off to possible counterfeiting was in timing of product availability. Twenty-six wholesale sellers of suspected counterfeit tablets offered their wares up to a month in advance of actual product availability. Pricing for these tablets was usually set at 50% of the price of legitimate goods.
In contrast, gray market sellers priced their genuine goods at a premium to authorized channels, with prices averaging 15% higher than manufacturer’s suggested retail price, and, in some cases, almost 50% higher in geographies where the genuine product is not yet available.
“The Internet provides instantaneous insight into trends which brandjackers are adept at exploiting in order to siphon traffic and revenue from legitimate brands,” said Felman. “Brands must combat these ‘hidden competitors’ in order to protect their customers, their marketing investments and their brand equity.”
MarkMonitor, the global leader in enterprise brand protection, offers comprehensive solutions and services that safeguard brands, reputation and revenue from online risks. With end-to-end solutions that address the growing threats of online fraud, brand abuse and unauthorized channels, MarkMonitor enables a secure Internet for businesses and their customers. The company’s exclusive access to data combined with its patented real-time prevention, detection and response capabilities provide wide-ranging protection to the ever-changing online risks faced by brands today. For more information, visit www.markmonitor.com.
Te Smith, MarkMonitor
Zeno Group for MarkMonitor