Online Brand Protection: The Risks That Go Unnoticed
Reaching a high level of online brand protection is never easy, but when businesses and vendors aren’t looking in all the right places, things go from challenging to impossible. Missing, inaccurate information is the risk of all risks, leading brands to believe they have sufficient online brand protection when that could not be further from the truth.
The result is severe damage in revenue loss, reputational harm, legal liability, and more. As eCommerce expert and author Jason Boyce describes it, “Legitimate merchants pay the greatest price when fake, often unsafe merchandise is sold below market value beside their honest products.”
Swiss Cheese Solutions: Online Brand Protection Is Full of Holes
Common brand protection flaws tend to fall into the following categories:
- Partial coverage: Solutions that only cover websites and leave social media and apps unprotected, failing to meet current standards of online brand protection. Even worse, they leave a dangerous gap for scammers to exploit. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, last year, fake social media accounts offering fraudulent discounts caused a revenue loss of $216 million. At this point in 2021, we’ve already seen 1.3 billion fake Facebook accounts taken down, and these are only the ones that have been detected and handled.
This insufficient coverage is also evident in other online arenas, leaving eCommerce markets exposed to counterfeit scams. As new platforms join the party and grow rapidly, online brand protection technologies struggle to keep up and fail to address critical channels. The result is a half-trillion-dollar industry of pirated goods.
- Visual fraud: Brand protection solutions tend to focus on text-based detection, which is a questionable choice in a world full of visual information. In doing so, they often allow telling visuals to escape their technology. Fake logos and product images might go undetected for quite a while, misleading innocent buyers and harming brands. Considering the heavy use of images in eCommerce, brand protection technology that doesn’t support image detection is simply not good enough.
Scammers are aware of this discrepancy between visual and text-based detection. They often take advantage of this by promoting counterfeit products using simply an image containing the brand name or logo, rather than using the brand name in the title or description. This allows them to avoid being detected by text-based crawler bots.
- Automated takedown capabilities: Automation and AI-based platforms can do wonders for online brand protection. Cyber security executive Ray Irving is correct in saying that, “The development in the degree of automation and correlation possible with machine learning is impressive.” Unfortunately, we see many technologies that lack AI or machine learning capabilities. Even when using automated takedowns, the current technology is likely to send faulty takedown notices as they miss images, and are generally incapable of making the right decisions in complex cases. This can lead to expensive delays in takedowns or even missed takedowns. This in turn leads to a lack of trust and cooperation by the platforms required to remove the site, listing or social page. When the takedown process is handled manually, human error and insufficient resources will leave some threats unresolved.
- Internal collaboration: A holistic workflow that keeps different teams on the same page is always essential, even more so when it comes to brand protection. Most brand protection vendors simply are not able to show you the risks your brand faces. There are several aspects that need to work together to protect your brand; security teams studying the latest scams, marketing teams in charge of the company’s social networks, and legal departments handling formal takedown procedures.
Going the Extra Mile: Additional Solutions to Consider
Brands should remember that every corner they leave unprotected is one that scammers will discover and take advantage of. Social media networks and apps are counterfeiters’ favorite playgrounds, and ignoring them means taking an uncalculated risk. The best way forward is to select a brand protection vendor that can implement a holistic, comprehensive solution. This solution should cover both the visual and textual aspects of brand protection, across not only websites but social media and apps as well. Selecting a brand protection solution that incorporates all these aspects will allow your business to continue functioning with the knowledge that your brand and customers are safe.
In order to meet the highest online brand protection standards, these solutions should also be incorporated:
- Creative and efficient legal work: Trademark rights protection is a complex and slow process. Legal teams using advanced tech solutions can remove several fake accounts or websites at once, more quickly.
- Clustering accounts: Security teams and advanced technology can expose entire networks, tracking every channel linked to the same counterfeiter. This helps create a safer environment for brands and hurts attackers’ ability to cause damage for longer.
To understand how advanced online brand protection works, speak to a BrandShield expert today.