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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : February 04, 2011

MarkMonitor: Scammers are outbidding legitimate brands

Have you ever wondered how fraudulent brands continue to thrive online? The answer may be simpler than you think. According to a new report from MarkMonitor, scammers are simply out-competing legitimate brands. In many cases businesses who sell counterfit apparel, especially sportswear, are outbidding legitimate brands for keyword placements.

by Kristina Knight

Counterfeit apparel retailers are believed to sell more than one million 'suspicious' sports jerseys online; researchers believe more than 56 million consumers click through to these counterfeit sites annually. Some consumers know what they are doing, some land on counterfeit sites by accident - because they clicked a link that appeared to be legitimate.

"Online fraudsters see a tremendous opportunity in the passion and loyalty of millions of sports fans, taking advantage of both brands and fans online," said Frederick Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor. "These scammers compete with legitimate online advertisers and e-commerce sites, driving up costs for the brands and confusing fans."

These counterfeiters are using search marketing to push website traffic to their sites. During the study, MarkMonitor found that many of these scammers are operating out of Asia. From nearly 480,000 paid search ads and 280 keyword combinations analyzed for the report, about 28% of clicks were promoting suspicious goods.

According to Hitwise, the top retail search terms (week ending January 22, 2011) included 'cheap mens snow boots', 'converse sneakers', 'polo snow boots' and 'steelers apparel'. Consumers were also searching for tax information.

MarkMonitor's suggestion? Brands need to be better with their trademarked items. With roughly 20% of searches conducted for trademarked terms (via comScore and Yahoo), it makes sense for brands to invest heavily in trademarked keywords to drive traffic.

Tags: ecommerce, Hitwise, keyword bidding, MarkMonitor, online shopping, search marketing

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  • It's unfortunate that those promoting suspicious goods are also using viable SEO/SEM techniques to do it. It makes it harder for legitimate suppliers to do business and gives the SEO industry and its professionals a bad reputation. Authorized suppliers have to keep pushing and promoting their website to keep the suspicious ones out of the rankings.



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