Amazon and eBay have become global hot spots for good deals, but if the products are counterfeit, it’s a bad deal for everyone. The two competing websites have been battling it out to get the attention of deal-seeking shoppers for years.
Now that both have established themselves as the top players in e-commerce, the time has come to fight the problem of fake name brand items that fill their sites.
What are the Consequences of Selling Counterfeit Goods?
Gone are the days when designers of luxury handbags bore the brunt of the counterfeit industry. Virtually any name brand item is vulnerable to the financial damages of this criminal endeavor.
Companies like Yeti, famous makers of high-quality thermal drinkware and outdoor products, have fallen victim to this insidious vampire on the global economy. A recent investigative report by WSB-TV Atlanta revealed that hot pink and green Yeti cups had turned up in online marketplaces that are almost identical to the real thing. The difference is, Yeti doesn’t make cups in those colors.
This is an example of an easy way to detect counterfeit items. Many products, including very expensive designer knock-offs, so closely resemble the real thing even experts have trouble rooting them out. That’s why it’s become crucial to crack down on the trafficking and distribution of illegal goods from every angle.
The Dangers of Counterfeit Goods on eBay and Amazon
Disreputable manufacturers make these phony products without the oversight of government regulations. Low quality or even dangerous raw materials are often used, as well as poor craftsmanship. When unwitting buyers end up with low-quality products, brand reputations take an undeserved hit.
Because eBay and Amazon have no way to test the products listed on their sites by private sellers, it’s a case of buyer beware. There are, however, some red flags that e-commerce watchdogs use to help sniff out the possible fakes. Researching discrepancies in product color and style, as mentioned in the case of Yeti, as well as bargain basement discount prices are both excellent places to start.
Government Agencies Take Action Against the Counterfeiting Scams
According to the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), the crime of product counterfeiting costs companies billions of dollars each year. In fact, in 2017 alone, ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 34,143 shipments of apparel and other products that violated Intellectual Property Rights.
More recently in May of 2018, roughly 79,000 high-end counterfeit items that infringed on trademarks such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Nike, Apple, Samsung, and Sony were seized in Texas. The approximate retail value was over $16 million.
The profits from counterfeit products often go to fund terrorist organizations and organized crime cartels, making the crackdown even more critical. By cutting off a huge source of income, government agencies can combat these threats to peace and prosperity.
How can Brands Protect Themselves Against Counterfeiters?
Brands, designers, and artists can take matters into their own hands to protect their intellectual property and fight knock-offs. Scouring sites like eBay and Amazon for suspected unlicensed goods is one way to start.
An easy and cost-effective way to thwart the advertising of knock-off goods on Facebook and Amazon is to use Counterfind. This innovative software solution offers a proprietary filtering formula that recognizes, reports, and subsequently removes ads that market counterfeit products on Facebook and Amazon in real time.
Wise brand managers know, the financial impact of intellectual property infringement and counterfeiting runs deep. Taking steps to put an end to piracy using solutions like CounterFind protects creators and consumers alike while preserving a brand’s hard-earned reputation in the process.