Online marketplaces are websites where a third-party can sell their products or services, but with the website owner processing the transactions. Some of the most well-known examples of these are Amazon, ebay, Alibaba and Taobao. Unfortunately, these types of marketplaces have also become a breeding ground for rogue traders, and are actually the most popular trading place for counterfeiters. Site owners are trying to tackle counterfeiting, but they remain a battleground for many brand owners who see their assets abused, copied and sold in enormous quantities on these online selling platforms.
An enormous challenge
The first retail transaction on the Internet took place on August 11, 1994. Twenty years later, online sales reached $1.5 trillion and, according to eMarketer, that number will soar to $2.5 trillion by 2018 – more than the annual GDP of France. Today, there are some 1000 online marketplaces, with new ones emerging on a regular basis. The space is dominated by a few giants – including e-Bay and Amazon – but the largest is Alibaba and its small-seller platform, Taobao. The latter generated almost $400 billion in sales in 2014.
Not surprisingly, online marketplaces have become the number one venue for counterfeiters. The scale of the fakery is enormous – it is widely believed that at least 80% of all branded products sold on some of the best-known platforms are counterfeits. Fakes cover every product category you could possible imagine, from simple fashion items to heavy industrial equipment.
Site owners are finally fighting back
When asked what would happen to online marketplaces if they took down every illegal listing, a wise person replied,
They’d all go bankrupt. Though doubtless true, site owners are nevertheless beginning to take counterfeiting seriously. Recently, Alibaba announced a partnership with 20 leading global brands under the banner
Alibaba Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance. Amazon is pursuing similar initiatives, making fighting fakes a major goal for 2017. The company issued a statement expressing
zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeit items on our site.
For brand owners, the most important proactive step you can take is to register your IP rights in all key markets. Then you’ll be ready to pursue a more reactive strategy when you need to. Conversely, without the rights in place, it is impossible to take legal action.
What we do
Using the broadest search technology in the industry, Yellow Brand Protection is able to track and monitor over 1,000 websites daily, exploring and organising information using tools such as big data clustering, cross-checking contact information and identifying key threats – including major distributors and manufacturers of fake goods. To do this successfully, we use computing power and lots of it. And while we are the first to admit that technology is indispensable in our line of work, it has to be complemented by a human touch. That is why we have built good working relations with site owners around the world, allowing us to remove illicit listings without fuss or delay.
Our success rate is consistently over 94%. And because we have offices on three continents, staffed by experienced multi-lingual teams of analysts, we have the communication skills needed to ensure clients' interests are being protected.