Listen And Learn: Industry Leaders Talk Online Brand Protection

Last month, we were excited to host a special webinar together with World IP Review. The webinar discussed real, current cases of increasingly sophisticated scams and how technology can prevent them. 

Several industry leaders participated in the webinar. Peter Scott, the Editor In Chief of Worldwide IP Review hosted the session with guests Rob Tadlock, Associate General Counsel of Brand and Activism at Patagonia, Shelley Back, IP Director EMEA at Techtronic Industries (TTI), and Spencer Yu, Senior Director of Sales at BrandShield. 

Speaking From Experience 

Online threats are growing in both frequency and severity, especially during the Covid era. 

During the pandemic, there was a 25% increase in online fraud attempts in the US alone. In addition, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported a 69% increase in complaints over the previous year. 

Patagonia is a leading sporting apparel company which takes pride in their sustainable goods and in being environmentally conscious. Rob Tadlock explained that Patagonia has been the target of several attacks, with scammers taking advantage of social media channels that allow them to approach customers with tempting, fake offers. The company receives hundreds of inquiries each week and removes a similar number of fraudulent websites and social media profiles featuring fake goods and ads. Customers have approached the company with complaints regarding purchases of fake products; whether or not they realized their purchase was counterfeit, they still demand answers from the company.

TTI, a giant in the field of electronic component production, sees a similar phenomenon on marketplaces like AliExpress, Taobao, eBay, Allegro, and others. Social media networks like Facebook and Instagram are also popular with scammers. During the pandemic, Back reported that the rise in online shopping caused the number of fraudulent sites and listings to spike. While they previously monitored counterfeit sales and trademark infringement, they worked with BrandShield to add fraud to their brand protection program and have had great success detecting and removing these risks. 

Want to see what we can do to improve your online brand protection? 

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

In order for brands to win this battle, said Yu, they’ll need to be persistent and work with the right partners and technologies. And this is where BrandShield’s online brand protection technology steps in. 

Patagonia has been collaborating with BrandShield since early 2021. The company removed 784 fraudulent social media accounts related to phishing scams during the first month. Speed plays a critical role in cybersecurity, as cybercriminals reach massive crowds right away. That’s why identifying the threat and removing it fast enough is essential. 

Rob Tadlock explained that for Patagonia, responsiveness was one of the core advantages in working with BrandShield. “Part of why the speed is so effective is the skill set and customer service of BrandShield’s team. The technology is great, but this enables us to take the time and learn how to work the tools, understand our priorities, and then push what needs to be pushed.” 

In the case of TTI, the company reports that once fraudulent listings have been removed, they rarely reappear. In 2021, TTI’s security success included a 97.9% removal rate for fake websites, 98.4% for marketplaces, and 99% for social media profiles. 

Shelley Back asserted that, “BrandShield is very good at identifying marketplaces, listing sellers, etc. You can just go through markers of risk, and they'll be dealt with for you really quickly.”


What We’ve Learned

The key takeaway is clearly that it is crucial to manage online fraud within the brand protection program of a company. Other points to be noted are:

  • It’s easy to scam: Scammers have to deal with very little friction when issuing a phishing attack. Establishing a fake website or social media account is simple, which creates a serious online brand protection challenge for companies everywhere. To deal with this issue, companies have to be constantly present and alert, monitoring every registered asset and acting swiftly. 
  • Prioritizing is essential: Counterfeits can be found on platforms of all sizes, and companies have limited time and resources, so focusing efforts is key. BrandShield’s focal points include social media accounts and paid advertising scams presenting fake goods as the real deal. 
  • Understand platforms’ workflow: In some cases, speed is important because the platform used for the attack has its own process to complete. Facebook, for example, may take up to 48 hours to respond to complaints. By that time, fake ads can be seen by the thousand, considering the network’s 3-billion user base. Getting busy social media networks to move faster is a lot harder than creating a fake profile, and companies must take that into account. 

Given the above factors, BrandShield makes it a priority to act as quickly as possible, identifying the threat and handling the takedown process immediately. To reach successful results like Patagonia and TTI, contact BrandShield today, and we’ll establish an online brand protection strategy. There’s no time to waste. To learn more:

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