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Counterfeits: The Dark Side of E-commerce

It used to be that counterfeit goods were contained to street corners and back alley lanes in Asia, but now in this digital world counterfeit goods are widely available all over the globe, exposing new threats to both businesses and consumers.

Gone are the days when a fake handbag, or counterfeit toy would only be accessible from criminal street vendors in China. The rise in platforms such as Amazon and eBay over the last decade has made it easier than ever for counterfeits to reach an international market of unknowing consumers.

We have first hand experience…

This is a story that SnapDragon founder, Rachel Jones, knows all too well. Rachel created a baby product which was replicated online by counterfeit manufacturers who used major e-commerce sites to attempt to sell the fake product, not only posing a major threat for sales and reputation of the business, but even worse potentially putting children in danger.

Unfortunately, this scenario is far too common throughout industries all over the world.  According to the OECD, 60% of fake goods originate from China and Hong Kong, a statistic that has become too real for the likes of the creators of many award winning products with a global footprint. Small business owners are watching their profits slip into the hands of counterfeit manufactures.

Lack of acknowledgement in the East

Counterfeits across China operate in a system that has a completely different set of rules than in the West, often referred to as ‘Shanzhai’. This term for fakes in China has embodied an eco-system that is virtually immune to IP restrictions that are enforced in the West. It allows anyone to take original designs and re-produce them without major consequences, resulting in hundreds of thousands of sellers across China taking their fake products onto the online global platform. And, in the main, only the larger, richer, global businesses can fight back through the courts.

This lack of acknowledgement for IP in the East, and the difficulties in enforcing it, sadly continue to affect business owners all over the globe. The efforts of e-commerce platforms to remove these counterfeits are not great enough to tackle the mass of fake manufacturers appearing in their thousands every day.

How can we help?

Monitoring counterfeit products online can be extremely time consuming for business owners, who most often do not have the time to do so whilst running a business. That’s where SnapDragon comes in. After SnapDragon founder Rachel Jones experienced counterfeit issues of her own, it ignited a passion to help tackle counterfeits for other businesses. SnapDragon monitors, reports, and removes infringing goods from the world’s most visited online marketplaces including the likes of Amazon and Ebay. With a 98% enforcement success rate, and a bilingual team monitoring over 220 online platforms, SnapDragon can help tackle counterfeit products before they become an issue to your business and even more importantly your customers. While tackling online infringement is one part of the fight against fakes, it’s the cheapest, most cost-effective way for an SME to cut off the oxygen supply, namely the sales channel, from illegal sellers.

If you would like help tackling online counterfeits and guarding the reputation of your business, get in touch here.


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