The amount of traffic flowing to sites offering suspicious luxury goods is startling and speaks as much to consumer demand as it does to the interactive marketing savvy of site operators. While it’s debatable that the person who purchases a $100 fake handbag is an actual customer for the real item, the fact that suspicious sites promoting these five luxury brands [Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Burberry and Louis Vuitton] generate more than 120 million visits annually indicates that actual prospects are being siphoned away from ‘the real deal’ by suspected counterfeiters.Some readers still wonder why the IPKat is always growling about press releases. On this occasion he will kindly spare the blushes of the company which circulated news of this Brandjacking Index by not disclosing its identity. For the record, in the first line of the press release the PR company (i) mis-spelled the name of its client as MarkMoniter, (ii) spelled Brandjacking, which is part of its client's trade mark, as Brand Jacking and (iii) mis-spelled 'focusing'. In the second line it rendered Chanel as Channel, while in the third it feminised Louis Vuitton to Louise. This creates a dreadful impression. Those who attended the IPKat's seminar of "How to Write an Effective IP Press Release" seminar earlier this month will wonder whatever happened to the proofing and signing off process which they now know all about.
If even 10% of those visits represent valid customer prospects for luxury products, then 12 million visits per year are being led away from their desired destination—and interactive marketers in the luxury segment are paying the price in lost sales. To make matters worse, the legitimate luxury marketers are competing against counterfeiters to purchase their own brands as keywords, driving up the costs of legitimate online marketing campaigns and impacting campaign metrics and ROI [= return on investment].
As the luxury segment—and luxury buyers—continue to embrace the Internet, it’s vital that the industry takes aim at online counterfeiters, paid search scams and other forms of online brand abuse in order to reap the fullest return from their precious brands and carefully cultivated images [cf "Fake Report Stuns EU Shoppers", here, which suggests that there exists a view held by respectable persons that counterfeits may have some beneficial aspects].
There's still time to register for the IPKat's second "How to Write an Effective IP Press Release" seminar on 5 October (click here for further details: the venue is the London office of Olswang LLP, 90 High Holborn).