Online Counterfeiting in the Fashion Industry
In the world of fashion, the answer to the question “How does one gauge the success of a brand?” is usually, just to look how many want to copy you. There are some that argue that fake goods is the highest form of flattery.
However, many in the fashion industry while thinking this, are convinced that counterfeit goods are here to stay and online counterfeiting will only proliferate more as time marches on.
In the fashion industry, counterfeiting is a huge problem. The greatest asset that a designer has is their design, and counterfeiting steals that outright, and basically hijacks the product itself. All designers suffer from this, and the big fashion houses have the wherewith all to fight it because of their huge legal departments, but what about the independent designer? They don't have the power to fight every instance of counterfeiting their product.
Fighting against counterfeiting in fashion is just as important as it is in other industries. The BFC (British Fashion Council) estimates that the fashion industry is worth over $40B to the UK's economy and is estimated to employ nearly 800,000 people.
Online fashion commerce is growing by leaps and bounds with each passing year. According to the British Retail Consortium, last year almost a quarter of all clothes and 30% of shoes were purchased online. Consumers are more and more flocking to the web to meet their fashion needs.
Online Counterfeiting Surpasses Street Vendors
Many British retailers are ready to admit that their physical stores are just part of marketing, even though online sales are greater than in-store. Shopping online, along with its growth has its share of problems. The office of the US Trade Representative came to the conclusion that online counterfeit sales will eclipse the number that is sold by street vendors.
Another main contributor to this problem is the ease that a website can be set up to look like an authentic brand's. These websites can be launched and shut down just as easily. It is faceless. At least in a market, you can tell who is selling counterfeit goods.
So, what to do in your mission to protect your brand?
Fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci are constantly waging war against counterfeiters, and with their high priced legal teams are able to shut down scores of domains. But, as soon as those domains are shut down, online counterfeiters just launch more. It is never ending.
The Threat of Squatting Tactics
These counterfeiters utilize such tactics as domain and typo squatting. In this dynamic scenario, I can not stress enough how important it is to utilize a brand protection tool. In the real world, it can take some time before a brand identifies a counterfeiter and by that time, the damage is usually done.
By utilizing a brand protection tool, you can identify all violators of your brand by stopping them in their tracks from the beginning. A brand protection tool will monitor the web for violations in a number of different areas.
Ways a Brand Protection Tool Can Help
In a PPC Violation scenario, having the right brand protection tool in place will monitor the web for PPC ads that utilize trademarked or patented keywords and driving traffic to their bogus sites, thereby stemming your losses, both to your bottom line and your reputation.
Additionally, with all the new gTLDs being released, it just increases the chance that cyber thieves out there will find the right domain combination to wreak your brand havoc. A Brand Protection tool will monitor the web for variations of the keywords you stipulate within the tool, and report any potential violations to your brand according to level of threat. The tool will also be able to suggest domains that you should purchase that will help strengthen your brand.
So, if you are a fashion retailer, you should be aware that the online counterfeiting threat is a very real one and one where it pays to implement a brand protection tool.
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