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Counterfeit Ecommerce Sites Generate Over 120 Million Annual Visits According to Study

Report Reveals How Targeting Luxury Brands Online Results in Significant Traffic for Online Scammers

A report revealed today showed that suspected counterfeit ecommerce sites attract over 120 million annual visits, almost half the traffic generated by the REAL, legitimate dot com Web sites according to the study.

Report Reveals How Targeting Luxury Brands Online Results in Significant Traffic for Online Scammers

A report revealed today showed that suspected counterfeit ecommerce sites attract over 120 million annual visits, almost half the traffic generated by the REAL, legitimate dot com Web sites according to the study.

The report, a special edition of the “Brandjacking Index,” was released today by MarkMonitor and was produced by analyzing publicly available data and using proprietary algorithms to examine five leading global luxury brands.Brandjacking Index

The results of the study showed that fraudsters have been able to generate significant amounts of search engine traffic for the luxury brands by subverting legitimate search engine marketing techniques.

Popular search engine marketing tactics used by the fraudsters include cybersquatting, black hat search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search scams. Not only do such tactics steal business from the legitimate brands, but they also increase the marketing costs for the brands.

Cybersquatting continues to be a popular method of intercepting Internet traffic for fraudsters with over 1,100 sites containing one of the five luxury brand names in the domain name to capitalize on direct navigation behavior and optimize SEO rankings. Fraudsters also invest in paid search advertising with more than 50 suspicious vendors purchasing one of the five luxury brands as keywords to drive traffic to their sites using paid search scams.

“Fraudsters are savvy online marketers and are extremely effective in generating high volumes of traffic,” said Frederick Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor. “These scammers dismiss the rules of professional conduct and have created a highly-visible online ecosystem specializing in criminal behavior and fraud.”

In addition to the marketing and promotion vehicles used by online fraudsters in the luxury segment, the study examined suspicious ecommerce channels, identifying nearly 6,700 suspect counterfeit sellers for the five brands used in the analysis. Wholesale trade websites were the most popular channel for fraudulent activity with nearly 4,000 suppliers generating 12,000 listings on 12 business-to-business (B2B) exchanges. Suppliers promoted manufacturing ability capable of producing thousands of pieces annually, with some offering capacity in excess of a million pieces. The study also identified more than 1,400 suspect counterfeit sellers generating almost 3,600 listings on 10 business-to-consumer (B2C) exchanges, including auction sites and classified ad sites, and 1,200 dedicated e-commerce sites offering suspicious goods.

The special edition of the Brandjacking Index drew conclusions based on data from major search engines, online marketplaces, Whois records and Alexa traffic estimates. The Brandjacking Index does not use customer data or proprietary customer information.

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