Evolving Your Brand Protection Program in an Omnichannel World

Jul 20, 2023 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Fraudulent activities have become increasingly pervasive in the online shopping landscape. In 2022, fraud-related revenue loss reached $8.8 billion, and the sale of counterfeit goods amassed between $1.7 and $4.5 trillion. As brands struggle to mitigate unauthorized sellers, how can you develop a brand protection program to reduce risk?

Brands often lack the resources to offset unauthorized sellers on an omnichannel level. Rather than addressing counterfeit sales with enforcement actions, brands should identify sales objectives to maximize revenue on designated platforms. This may involve analyzing marketplaces, channels, and countries to redirect sales to authorized sellers and filter infringement content. The efficacy of any brand protection program relies on leveraging data-driven insights and collaborating with internal teams to establish constructive tactics.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant welcomes Adam Sherman and Malia Ladd of Vorys eControl to discuss the elements of a successful omnichannel brand protection program. Together, they address the widespread fraud issues brands face and how to manage market manipulation and enforce authorized seller policies. 

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Staggering online purchasing fraud statistics 
  • How counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers impact brands
  • Identifying business goals to develop a brand protection program 
  • The widespread fraud issues brands face and how to mitigate associated risks 
  • Tips for analyzing data to protect your brand and maximize revenue 
  • Addressing market manipulation and enforcing authorized seller policies
  • The significance of an integrated brand protection solution
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Event Partners

Vorys eControl

Vorys eControl is a top 150 law firm that has an expertise in implementing legal strategies to stop unauthorized re-sellers, control MAP pricing, eliminate channel conflict which all ultimately lead to online marketplace sales growth.

Connect with Vorys eControl

Guest Speakers

Malia Ladd LinkedIn

Chief Solutions Officer at Vorys eControl

Malia Ladd is the Chief Solutions Officer at Vorys, where she works with the eControl team to design comprehensive programs that address online intellectual property (IP) infringements across marketplaces, websites, social media platforms, and other channels. With more than 20 years of brand protection experience, she has established global protection and enforcement programs to combat trademark issues, unauthorized sales, counterfeiting, and piracy. Malia is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and serves as the subcommittee chair of Building Bridges. 

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Adam Sherman

Adam Sherman LinkedIn

Partner at Vorys eControl

Adam Sherman is a Partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease LLP, where he leads the eControl group’s enforcement and brand protection practices. As a member of the Vorys eControl team, he works with businesses to implement agreements and policies to gain control of the marketplace by removing unauthorized sellers. Adam is a brand protection attorney who helps companies address unauthorized sales, product diversion, and pricing issues.  

Event Moderator

Malia Ladd LinkedIn

Chief Solutions Officer at Vorys eControl

Malia Ladd is the Chief Solutions Officer at Vorys, where she works with the eControl team to design comprehensive programs that address online intellectual property (IP) infringements across marketplaces, websites, social media platforms, and other channels. With more than 20 years of brand protection experience, she has established global protection and enforcement programs to combat trademark issues, unauthorized sales, counterfeiting, and piracy. Malia is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and serves as the subcommittee chair of Building Bridges. 

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Adam Sherman

Adam Sherman LinkedIn

Partner at Vorys eControl

Adam Sherman is a Partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease LLP, where he leads the eControl group’s enforcement and brand protection practices. As a member of the Vorys eControl team, he works with businesses to implement agreements and policies to gain control of the marketplace by removing unauthorized sellers. Adam is a brand protection attorney who helps companies address unauthorized sales, product diversion, and pricing issues.  

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:18  

Happy Thursday, everybody. My name is Aaron. I'm the co founder Managing Director here at BWG. Connect. We're a giant networking and knowledge sharing group 1000s of brands and we networking knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it might be that shaping digital that includes partners as a whole, and service providers that are out there. I spend the majority of my time just talking to brands 20 to 30 a week to stay on top of those trends. If anybody ever wants to jump on the phone, that's what I spend the majority of my time doing and just absolutely love connecting with brands, more than happy to give you a download of what I'm hearing across the digital landscape. If anybody ever needs any recommendations on partners across the board to help you out, and that's from dropshipping, to SEO to Amazon to whatever it might be brand protection. Don't hesitate to reach out shoot me an email, we've got a shortlist that have been queued. It's been curated by the 9000 brands and the network of the highest recommended and that's actually how we find the partners for both the webinars we do as well as the dinners. If you're in a tier one city, let us know we're probably going to do a dinner there, it'd be great to meet in person. A couple other housekeeping items. And we're starting two to three minutes after the hour. And just so you know, we're going to try to wrap up with at least three minutes left in the hour as well. We're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. We want it to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time, if you have questions, drop in the chat drop, drop them into the q&a, email them to me, Aaron Aaron@bwgconnect.com. Any of those, we weren't trying to answer those real time in most cases we do. And so just drop those in, and we'll tackle them as we go. And so now I think we can go ahead and kind of jump into you know, the topic for the day, as a whole brand protection has been top of mind. I don't know, we're on our sixth year here at BWG Connect. And it's one of the first events we did six years ago with the Vorys eControl team. You know, Darren and Whitney back in the day, it's still top of mind. And at that point in time was mainly focused just on Amazon, but now we're talking about marketplaces as a whole in this omni channel world. And so still great friends, partners, supporters, the network of the team over for ease. Adam, I'm gonna kick it over to you. If you want to jump in brief intro on yourself, and we get over 2 million we can get into the the conversation sounds good.


Adam Sherman  2:35  

Yeah. Thanks a lot, Aaron. My name is Adam Sherman. I'm a partner in the Lori's II control group. I was one of the original members of the group. When we started doing this, I don't know roughly eight or so years ago, I come from an IP litigation background. That kind of morphed into internet related litigation and brand protection issues, and then kind of continued to evolve into what we do now. I spend most of my time helping brands succeed online, whether that is through cleaning up online marketplaces like Amazon, or dealing with online brand protection challenges on any of the online marketplace platforms or other just internet issues in general. There's a lot of different things out there that can cause issues for brands, and you know, our group, you know, works on all of them. So, Malia, I'll turn it over to you.


Malia Ladd  3:29  

Thanks, Adam. My name is Malia Ladd and I've been with Vorys eControl for under a year ago, I recently transitioned from a role where I was the chief product officer at core search, the does online brand protection and was very intrigued by how Vorys partners with eCommerce to help drive sales. But then there's also this component of needing to make sure that you're monitoring and understanding that the other things that are happening to your brand that may not be of your good intent. So it seemed like a really good position to be able to continue my journey to help brands develop really strong brand protection programs. And so I'm delighted to be here with Adam today talking about how to evolve your brand protection programs.


Aaron Conant  4:23  

Awesome. Thanks. Yeah, just a quick reminder, if you have questions, drop into the chat, drop them in the q&a, and we'll answer those real time as we go. So yeah, awesome. So is there a deck today? There is


Malia Ladd  4:36  

and I will share my screen. Everybody can give me a thumbs up. Okay, great.


Adam Sherman  4:48  

Great, thanks a lot, Malia. If you want to go on to the next slide here just to give a little bit more background on our group. You know, Vorys eControl, you know, is our goal is to kind of help brands succeed, particularly on online marketplaces. Throughout the several years we've been doing this, we've worked with over 800 brands, our team has grown from three attorneys to, you know, 70 plus people, including, you know, a couple of dozen attorneys, people that specialize in brand protection, like Malia, our brand analyst team. We have data analysts that work with us, we have dedicated Internet investigators that track down the bad guys, we even formed our, you know, an ancillary business that really focuses on online monitoring, particularly on Amazon in the marketplaces, where we found the current solutions a little bit lacking. We were regularly speaking in opportunities like this, and it conferences around the country and world, we opened up a practice in the UK to kind of, you know, bring our solutions to the UK and the EU, and we're continuing doing.


Malia Ladd  6:07  

So I thought we would just start a little bit with talking about the current landscape. And I think this is a really good infographic that the FTC has put out, where it's a really good representation of the losses online to consumer. So it's hit a staggering 8.8 billion, reported lost in 2022. And in this report, it indicates online shopping is number two on the list of fraud activities, and over 1.2 billion is being lost on social media. So however, you look at these various industry stats, they're staggering. The impact on brands and consumers continues to soar. bad actors are investing heavily in different mechanisms to reach their targets. That includes things like buying domain names, paying for online ads, and using social media to target their victims. We'll talk a little bit about counterfeit. The global sale of counterfeit goods also continues to really grow the estimated number per year. And this is, you know, there's conflicting sources out there, but it's between one point 7,000,000,000,004 point 5 trillion. And while that's a big spread, anything that in that is in the trillions is massive, and has a massive exposure to the exact same person brands.


Aaron Conant  7:31  

Were in trillions. So isn't it? Yes,


Malia Ladd  7:33  

exactly, exactly. So this, this is a pretty simplistic graph that was used in a research report prepared by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. And they did this in collaboration with the USC USPTO and the US Department of Commerce. And what this is showing is the online purchasing lifecycle, starting with the consumer having internet access, using searches or online ads to access a marketplace or a website, then they go through making a payment, and having the items shipped. And while this does seem like a very simple process, and something that we've probably either done today, or will do today, whether it's an Amazon or target or any other type of marketplace, this lifecycle is really shows how it's used in fraud, and the sale of online goods and counterfeit goods. So that can be setting up rogue domain names or website. It can be diverting your ads, to buyer traffic to illicit goods. And then platform marketplaces like the Walmart, the Amazon's e base, and the list goes on and on and 1000s and 1000s. While are legitimate in nature, they created distribution and opportunity for fake goods. So there's also many other schemes that target payment processing. This continues to increase, you know, used to only be able to use MasterCard or Visa to pay online and now there's Pay Pal and with the addition of Zell Venmo, and others, that also creates an environment where fraud occurs. And then lastly, it used to be when looking at counterfeit goods, the focus would be on large pallets of goods and containers. But now there's a significant growth and counterfeits actually just being shipped in small packages. The purchasing lifecycle leaves much opportunity for fraudulent type of activity scheme scams, you name it, that will happen and Adam will talk about how this is further connected in the omni channel environment.


Adam Sherman  9:46  

Yeah, so we could literally fill up pages and pages of slides giving different examples of the types of schemes that we're seeing online. It's constantly evolving right now as we're talking there's probably someone working somewhere comm Hang up with the next scheme that's gonna, you're gonna see in the next couple of months, but I wanted to kind of give some highlights of what we're seeing now and kind of talk about how it affects brands in general. Obviously, the existence of counterfeit products, not only do you lose sales, it can affect your reputation, because the products are never the quality of the manufacturer, it can also cause price erosion, if someone is able to get cheaper products listed, put it on your listing and sell it for a cheaper price. Maybe your authorized sellers are pressured to match that. And that can obviously cause tons of problems. The way marketplaces are set up, you can have rogue product listings, people can you know, you can have your authorized seller selling the products, how you want it, someone simply makes a copy of that listing, and then uses that to compete with your active listing. And of course, your authorized sellers, not on this rogue listing. So it could be a lot easier to divert sales, and it's a lot harder for your authorized seller to maintain them. You know, being online makes it really easy to duplicate your intellectual property and have fake listings fake websites, it may it gives the air of legitimacy because it's your the same content that you've developed the same high quality photos. And because it's online, and no one can get to see or touch the products behind them, they can present what looks like to be a very legitimate offer for your products. Social media is absolutely huge and diverting people away from your authorized channels. You know, the social media companies are more than willing to take anyone's money to come up with an ad and send people to any website that the advertiser wants. And it's it's a very useful tool for these counterfeiters and bad actors to run targeted social media ads and then direct traffic over to their website, which may be set up to look exactly like your website, because they went on and they plundered your images directly from your website. Cheap counterfeiters have she counterfeit listings have an effect offline too. I mean, they can lead we hear all the time, from brick and mortar stores that are upset that products are cheaper online, that only gets exacerbated when you have to deal with with counterfeits as well, which which are often cheaper a, you know really bring that problem to the forefront. Also, what we're seeing a lot of now, which is very frustrating for brands is that a brand may have a counterfeiting problem, they may be working with a platform to deal with that. But because these platforms are so big and so complex, they're not always talking internally, and we've had situations where a brand gets their legitimate product listings restricted due to Consumer Reports about counterfeits being on the platform. And that that causes huge problems, because it just makes the whole situation worse, because the legitimate offers can get removed, whereas counterfeiters, you know, less more offers, and the whole thing kind of spirals out of control. So there are just huge problems caused by these sorts of issues online.


Aaron Conant  13:11  

It's just interesting how this has gotten so complex, so much more complicated over the past few years. Right. For the longest time, the biggest issue. I mean, counterfeits been out there. People have been dealing with it for a while, but you know, the rogue product sellers, right? They're getting your product somewhere, they're driving down the price, you can go out, whack them over the head enough times where you know, depending on you know, the resources you have behind you. Maybe they come down, maybe they don't. But now we've gotten into this. And we do have a go ahead. We got a question that popped into.


Adam Sherman  13:43  

Oh, sure. See if I can see that.


Aaron Conant  13:47  

Yeah, well, yeah, really quick. I'll kick it over to you. How has or will the new inform act help or hurt in the process of three P discovery? Well,


Adam Sherman  13:58  

I think the good news is it's not going to hurt. I think it kind of remains to be seen how it's going to help. I think it may help a little bit. I'm a little skeptical that it is going to make a big material difference, because I think it's you know, online sellers are pretty sophisticated. And they understand that, you know, they're their information is going to be published, it's going to be vetted by the platform's more in response to the law. But we're already kind of seeing the sellers take the next steps needed to kind of clear those hurdles. And while they may previously have, you know, been more open to using like real business information or information connected with the real world, this may just push them to do things like form LLC in Wyoming, which doesn't really require you to disclose any other information but provides you with a legitimate business registration. They're already finding ways to get through the vetting process that you know, for example, you No, Amazon is sometimes interviewing sellers now and having them show their information. But still, we're seeing a bunch of sellers kind of slip through and get through that process and continuing to sell counterfeits or, you know, unauthorized products or other infringing products. So I do think this law is going to put is going to raise the floor a little bit with the type of information that's available on the platforms, because still, some platforms aren't in the US aren't providing any of that information. And now they're going to have to to comply with the law. But I do think that sellers are just going to be more sophisticated about it. And while you make more information may be available, it may not be easily to connect that to anything real, you know, other than like an LLC registration. So I'm hopeful that it'll raise, you know, help us a little bit, but it's not going to solve the problem.


Aaron Conant  15:51  

No. Awesome. Another kind of specific one. Automotive Industry insurance companies already endorsed like products or remanufactured non OEM, essentially. Right. So how does someone combat this as these products appear online for the do it yourselfer?


Adam Sherman  16:09  

Yeah, so I think, you know, you're generally allowed to say that your product is compatible with a, with an OEM part or something along those lines, or an OEM product, you know, like, like a filter for a, you know, a water filter or something like that it's compatible with the filtration equipment. And, you know, a lot of times though, the people making compatible products will go beyond what they're allowed to do in terms of using your trademarks to identify compatibility. So there are opportunities sometimes to deal with their listings, if they're using too much of your trademark, if they're making claims that aren't accurate. What one of the thing that we're seeing more and more of is that just, you know, a compat, just saying your product is compatible doesn't really get you off the hook, if it's not truly compatible, we see all the time, you know, people claiming compatible products that aren't truly up to the standards of the OEM products. And I kind of make the analogy to, you know, back in the old days, when you had a fuse box, we all have circuit breakers now, but you know, you blew a fuse, you could go ahead and like stick a penny or stick a coin in there is that compatible with a fuse? Well, the power will turn back on, but it's not performing the function that a fuse is supposed to. So I think you have to dig in, really, and make sure that you know, the products are truly compatible, because if they're not, you may have some legal claims, we may have some reporting that you can do to the platform's to get them to start making those false claims of compatibility. Malia, you want to move on to the next slide. So I want to talk a little bit about, you know, how we kind of approached the problem, because what we saw out there in the industry, there's often a lot of, you know, focus on the activity, as opposed to the impact. And what I mean by that is, a lot of monitoring companies will talk about all the size of the web, the number of websites that they monitor the channels, how many times a day they monitor, they'll emphasize how many infringement takedowns they can do in a month, how many, you know, violation letter set, how many countries that are present in and just really kind of report you on the number of enforcement actions. But there's less emphasis often placed on what is the impact of that? What are the goals, and our approach is to kind of start with the goals and look at what we can do to make the brand more successful on a particular platform, whether that is getting sales, to your authorized sellers, whether it is infringement saturation. So when someone searches for your brand on a platform, they see legit a greater concentration of legitimate content as rather than infringing or unauthorized content. And we really try to work with the brand to kind of look at the marketplaces, the websites, that's most the countries that are most important to them, then really make sure that we're monitoring we have KPIs to report to actually show progress, rather than just the number of enforcement actions that we are taking at any given time. So the problems, you know, of focusing on activity are, you know, a brand usually doesn't have, you know, the resources to approach this problem globally on all the platforms. Right. There's so many out there now. And what if we think it's important to kind of take a look at well, what which ones are most important to your company? What geo geographies are most important to your company? What what websites are most important? What platforms are most important? We want to look for the where we're seeing the most infringement and kind of focus on those sorts of situations. And we also want to look behind that and say, Well, why are we seeing on All this all these problems on a particular platform? Is there a particular issue in the background that we can address our products getting diverted to that country? Because there's a cheap source for them? are, you know, are we seeing counterfeits being targeted, that country is a brand really popular, and there's just a lot of infringement there, can we can we address some of those root causes. And, you know, by doing that, we can kind of reduce some of the whack a mole that you see, I mean, in some instances, you're just going to have to regularly maintain enforcement, because, you know, you have a popular product, and you're gonna see more infringers. And it's just, you're gonna want to focus your resources, all that, but you also want to try to, you know, get the problem at its root cause. And, you know, a lot of times, if you're just, you know, measuring impact, you're just unable to, you know, deliver a return on investment for the company, and we want to look at, you know, setting goals, so we can really make sure that your enforcement budget is well spent a


Aaron Conant  21:01  

couple of comments that that have just popped in here, that I just love to hear some thoughts on, you know, when we're talking about, you know, products actually being sold legitimately. Right also includes buying in store only items, and then listing them on platforms with marketplace listings that aren't the same product, right. So you have a separation between in store product offering digital product offering, and then you know, another one from trial. There's also some challenges with authorized dealers who are struggling in their brick and mortar. So you got somebody your authorized selling to struggling with brick and mortar stores and starting to list and sell those branded products at lower is lower than desired prices on marketplaces. Right? Regardless of map, right? So they're treating it one way they're buying it in store, and they might be upholding map and store, and now they're authorized, but they're now selling online.


Adam Sherman  21:53  

Right? I you know, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have, you know, an authorized distribution strategy and to have policies in place and be willing to enforce that. Otherwise, you will continue to see things like that, you know, oftentimes, you know, one of the first things we do when we're working with a brand is where we take a look at their distribution, we you know, and then we put in, help them put in policies that affect every channel where products are distributed. So if you're an authorized reseller, there's going to be certain things that the brand is going to let you do. And when you're talking about online that are your brick and mortar retail, or maybe like, if you're, you may be, you know, obviously you sell it, but your brick and mortar, we're going to let you sell online, but only on your own.com you're not going to be authorized to sell on online marketplaces. And if we see that you are selling on online marketplaces that is going to cause us to end the relationship. So you really have to set expectations with these brands, and you have to be willing to enforce them. Otherwise, you get a lot of those problems.


Aaron Conant  22:58  

Yeah, we might have tangled drop questions and comments in the chat or the q&a. And we'll get them answered. Yeah.


Malia Ladd  23:04  

Sounds good. So just a little bit more on problems that brands face. Each brand is unique, and where you know, the problems that they face or on online are uniquely different. And so I there's just a kind of a laundry list here of different things that can impact brands, whether it's counterfeit, which we've talked a little bit about today, fake domains and websites, intellectual property, infringement, diversion, etc. It can be amazing and and a struggle to kind of figure out where do we go? What do we do? How do we do this? We don't have unlimited time, resource and budget. And when you look at this across from a geographic standpoint, to this really plays a role. So you know, key geographies have different concerns. And you have to think about where do you market sell or license your brands to be sold? But then in doing that, you also have to understand where do you have your intellectual property rights. And sometimes where you have your intellectual property rights and where you're selling, it doesn't mean that you're immune to counterfeit happening, and maybe Asian marketplaces. And so you know, looking at where you're most exposed by, you know, listing volume online, and activity happening online is really important in order to kind of narrow this down. If these answers aren't in alignment, you can have you know, some high exposure and doing this, the landscape continues to grow mobile apps, marketplaces, search engines, websites, domain, social media, and f t and really being able to identify the critical channels for your brand in particular, quantify that risk and then be able to prioritize a program that makes sense on how you can move the needle is is important. And we thought today that we would just kind of cover off a couple different examples that are fairly recent, just to kind of show you the different activity that happens. And so Adam was going to talk a little bit about nfts. This has been, you know, newer one to the landscape that's impacting brand holders. And there's a couple of recent cases here.


Aaron Conant  25:14  

Yeah, it's just so it's so interesting how, how many new things there are to tackle to you? Or do you, when you engage your brand, you do a holistic, deep dive on all these different ones and say, Hey, these are the issues for you. And these aren't, and hey, we need to tackle these or is it a workshop?


Malia Ladd  25:35  

We do? We do. We'll talk a little bit more about as part of this. And Right, right. It can be a little overwhelming, absolutely.


Adam Sherman  25:45  

Okay. Yeah, I think, you know, a lot of times a brand will come to us, and they'll they'll know certain issues that they face, we'll like to do a landscape report and say, These are the other issues that we're seeing out there. And sometimes the brand cares about them, sometimes they don't. Sometimes we have a discussion about why they should care about this. So yeah, we want to, we want to address the problems that the brand sees is most important, but we also want to make sure that they're aware of everything that's out there. And before I jump into the, the NFT issue a little bit, just a quick question from the chat, about, you know, Amazon price matching, you know, brick and mortar, and that causing all sorts of problems. And that is a big problem. Amazon is very aggressive about price matching, and generally they will go out, and they will monitor what they can online, and they will, if you're if you sell one piece to Amazon, if you're in vendor Central, they are going to match prices, whatever they find. So that's one of the dangers of having a vendor relationship with Amazon, the positive is that Amazon is going to, you know, get the sales because they're going to match price. But you know, but that also can tend to get your price erosion. So it's really important to kind of, you know, touch those people that are dropping prices and enforce your MAP policy. And that policy is great. But it's only as you know, it's only strong if you're willing to enforce it. So we all wouldn't ever we're talking with a brand about a MAP policy, we make sure that before you go ahead and put in that policy, you need to be committed to following it. So that's really important. So with that FTS is kind of a newer thing that we're seeing, and obviously the markets go up and down. So sometimes this is a big deal. Sometimes it's not, I do think this is going to be a growing issue going forward. The good news is is that most of the major marketplaces where NF T's are sold and traded. They are very, very brand friendly at the moment, meaning that unlike the Amazons of the world, the Facebook's the social media, all those that are a little bit more skeptical of IP rights holders claims and they're going to scrutinize them a little bit more. Right now we're seeing a lot of cooperation from the major NFT marketplaces. So if the if there's a copyright issue, if there's a trademark issue, they are pretty responsive in removing the infringing content. And we're starting to see that being supported by the sub case law as these issues work their way through the courts. This year, Hermes won the meta Birkins lawsuit, someone created NF T's based on Hermes intellectual property, this went to a jury trial, they were successful. So that is a good early test that you know, of the First Amendment creating artwork that's an NFT form based on a company's intellectual property, just because it's artwork that's not necessarily going to shield you from trademark liability. And we saw something similar and an Italian court that ruled that the unauthorized creation of NF t's the advertising and sale of them can infringe the trademark holders, right. So those are good early signs for rights holders in this area. But, uh, go on to the next slide. So we'll talk about this. So Malia, this is the fake sites, this is probably one of the most common problems that we see with brands. And it can be really unnerving because we see these fake websites that are essentially impersonating the brand. And you know, it oftentimes it's coupled with someone using advertising or social media, to direct people to these websites. So this is a major problem. And really, if you want to talk a little bit about how


Malia Ladd  29:38  

we absolutely so the example that I'm showing here is if you're familiar recently, you know, threads was a recent launch of a mobile app earlier this month, and it's a mobile app, but in one day over 700 Fake domains were actually registered redirecting consumers to malicious sites that will either collect your information, your personal information, or distribute malware. So, you know, this, this is just a little bit of a fresh example where you know, it's quite extreme because it's a, you know, meta launch this new new app. And you've seen the news about meta and, you know, threads and Twitter, that the key thing on fake sites is to really make sure that, you know, a lot of times you want to look at the design and the quality of the sites, the tactic is to, to have typos in the domain name. So if you're typing it in a search engine, and you can pull it up that way. Typically, the the security of the site is something that you also want to look at online reviews, if you're, if you are at all curious of whether or not you've landed on a site that, you know, might be too good to be true, you might want to go and research online reviews. It also sometimes is how did you get to that site? Where you did you click on it through a social media link, um, did you get it through, you know, search engine or a paid ad. And typically to sometimes the information is not complete. So in the in the content can be very suspicious on these sites as well. So making sure you do your due diligence before you do business is critical. But this is something that really impacts brand holders. And so we help monitor for this type of activity and remove this, whether it's content or the domain names, to ensure that, you know, consumers are going where, where they should be going.


Adam Sherman  31:44  

And this problem is so troubling, because, you know, the registrar's and the web hosts are less and less inclined to kind of help out with this. And even when they do, it's very easy to set up another website at a different web host. So we've been exploring a lot of more aggressive actions to take here, including some rather creative use of like the laws in India to get kind of injunctions going against these websites that can constantly add new sites as they pop up. So it is an ongoing arms race between, you know, the the infringers, and people trying to stop these websites.


Malia Ladd  32:24  

Yeah, and the barrier to entry, you make a really good point. And the barrier to entry to buy a domain name is very inexpensive to use that, that entry point. So, the other, we've talked a little bit about counterfeit, and on the bottom right, you'll see, you know, similar to what we just talked about on domain names, you know, whether or not prices are too good to be true, you know, if somebody's offering you a pair of boots that are normally are $200, and they've got a really great deal for 85 Chances are that, you know, you could have a problem. You also here want to make sure where you're where you're buying it is a trusted site. For customer reviews come into contact here, quite a bit. Blame contact us. So, you know, typically, counterfeit counterfeiters don't like to be contacted about their products, so you're not going to have an easy way to, to reach them through their their website and their web forms. And then also looking at where's the item being sold from and to, because the channels of sale are good indicators of of how you know where that product is coming from, and whether it could be legitimate or not. Image quality is another one to look at as well what images they're using, if they're using your copyrighted images as a brand. And then how accurate are there are their item descriptions. And so, you know, again, these are different kinds of indicators that when we monitor for activity online, we're looking at those those types of factors to determine whether, you know, the item could be potential counterfeit. And just to kind of show you this was one an article I came across. Recently, it was US Customs and Border Patrol case. That from Louisville, Kentucky, and in one day, on May 8 of this year, you know, 3165 counterfeit items were were were were found and it was a $3.1 million in value that's just in one day. And the thing that was interesting about this, if you recall earlier when we were talking about that lifecycle of a consumer sale, these are in you know, relatively smaller packages at this point that they're getting at from a customer's border control. So the first shipment was over 1000 necklaces. You can see Van Cleef and Arpels trademarks were impacted the journey These were all sourced from Hong Kong. This one went to Miami. The second one was 10, fakes, Rolex watches, going to Ontario Canada address. And then the third was to Laredo, Texas, and it was earrings and Louis Vuitton bags. And, you know, so this is constantly, you know, where the channel of sale happens online, but it also meets that physical environment of working with border control and investigations and that type of thing to work through. And, you know, it gets harder and harder, because instead of looking at containers, you're looking at packages, and that really changes the game for brand holders and being able to connect the dots on different cases. Anything else to add on that? Adam? No, yes? So


Aaron Conant  35:54  

just you have some questions stacking up, but I want to make sure we get through the slides, too. So everybody that's dropped them in, we're gonna get to him. Okay, we just want to make sure we get through there. Yeah,


Malia Ladd  36:06  

sure. Sure. So we'll we'll kind of we'll kind of fast forward here to make sure we were getting getting through this. But you know, these are just some basic risks that you can have, you know, why are we spending this time talking about the bad things that can happen to brands online, and it's really because it negates so much of the hard work that you do to invest and promote your brand. And the things like loss of consumer trust, for brand reputation, you know, that leaky bucket of revenue, you know, real health and safety concerns, getting out to consumers, when they're not getting legitimate goods, those could ultimately result in some significant issues. And there's, you know, variety of different legal issues that, you know, Adam will probably highlight going through as we continue to go through this, but one of the things that we're going to do is just guide you through some tips to align your ever evolving brand protection program in a way that aligns with your actual business goals. So to help you with get get that return. And so Adam, I'll just go ahead and have you maybe start talking about how do you balance all of this?


Adam Sherman  37:09  

Yeah, and I, we've talked a little bit about this, but we think it's of critical importance, like we want to focus your brand protection on what's going to help the business the most. And a lot of times for many of the brands we work with, it's focusing on the sales platforms where they have an authorized seller, and this activity is harming the sales that they that they're authorized seller is expecting to get. So we try to focus our brand protection, primarily they are, because that's where you know, that's where the dollar effect is. And that, you know, so when we meet with a brand, we want to kind of say like, what do you see as the biggest problems, we look at the data that we have from our monitoring, and we develop a strategy to kind of focus on getting that revenue into the hands of your, you know, your authorized channel, as, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We want to produce, you know, we want the the efforts that we're doing to produce the best results that we can measure. And we're going to use whatever ways are necessary in order to do that, whether that's submitting things to the platform, whether it's engaging with the offenders directly, we're going to focus our approach depending on you know, what we think is going to get you the best results in the quickest amount of time, we're going to move to the next slide. So when, when a new brand comes in, we kind of start with wanting to understand what the exposure and the impact is on the digital landscape, we have a team that will go out and look at the online landscape with information provided by the brand and kind of you know, develop a heat map where we're seeing the most activity where we're seeing the most potential to kind of clean things up. We want to talk to the brain and we want to know what their biggest challenges are where, where they want to focus their efforts, where they see the biggest business problems. And then we kind of work with all that to design, whether the what are the goals, what are we trying to achieve here, we want to make sure that the brand and every other stakeholders at the brand are aligned in what those goals are, we want to make sure that we have a budget that is going to help you know it's going to be sufficient to meet those goals. And then we want to be able to create, you know, KPIs to measure that because we don't want you to take our word that the brand protection efforts are having an effect, we want to be able to show that through, you know, measured data that we can track on a you know, a month to month basis and see an improvement. So


Malia Ladd  39:48  

run into some enforcement pieces that Adam run us through too.


Adam Sherman  39:52  

Yeah. So what are the things that we think is absolutely important is that you want to make sure that you're using the right info enforcement tactic in the right situation. And this all starts with having good data that you can rely on. You know, wherever possible, we want to, you know, get as granular as we can with the data. And we want to make sure that the data is, you know, the thing that the business cares about the most. So when we're talking about an online marketplace, it all comes down to sales. So we want to, you know, that's the, that's the, what we look at the most, you know, the revenue data are, you know, what's the revenue, what's the unauthorized revenue, versus the authorized revenue, we want to see unauthorized go down and authorized go up. And, you know, unless you have really good data, you know, it could be hard to kind of see that impact. So we want to make sure that we have data that fits the enforcement and the goals that we're trying to do, we want to make sure that, you know, we were using the right tactics, a lot of times, you know, a brand protection company will focus on, you know, reporting to the marketplace where you can IP report and copyright trademark, and to get listings down, and that can be very effective. But it can also, it's also one of those things that feels like whack a mole. So we'll try to work with the brand, when they come in to make sure that they have the proper distribution controls, they have the authorized reseller policies that are really going to help get this problem under control. And when then, you know, will attack the problem, you know, in the best way possible. Sometimes that's going to be through marketplace and IP reporting, we're going to use, if there's marketplace policies that have been violated, we're going to report those to the platform and try to get those removed, we also want to make sure we're taking steps to cut off the source of the infringement, the source of the products that are on the online platform, whether that is you know, having a brand and revisits liquidation efforts, whether it's finding your distributors that are selling to people, they shut it and getting them to stop or terminate the relationship with them, if that's in the best business interests of the company, sometimes we you know, we see brands that have very aggressive discounting, without limits on it. So they would have like these 30% offs on their website, and they would, we would find through their sales data that Oh, wow, one person is buying 1000s of products, well, that's probably the source of your diversion, we need to do something about that. Either. It's, you know, adjusting the discount, or it's putting limits on what people can buy, it's looking through your data to see if you have people that are abusing those sorts of sales and cutting them off. Then we also, you know, as a law firm, you know, you could do legal enforcement, right, you could send cease and desist letters, you can send preservation demands, you can kind of escalate that with seek with letters that show how serious you are, you could send rash complaints, you can send letters, you know, asking for them to verify the authenticity of their product, or if necessary, you can file a lawsuit that doesn't happen all that much, because of all the other tools at our disposal. But it's, it's nice to be able to do that when the business when there's business justifications for it. So, you know, I, it's really important, in my view, to have a diverse, you know, team that is working on your enforcement issues, you know, in what, what I like about how we've set it up is that you've got, like the attorney there that can advise you on what tactics to take, and when, or which are going to be most efficient and cost effective, and when, but you're going to have legal tactics available for when you need them. So, for example, on our team, we have, you know, brand protection analysts that used to work for one of the larger brand protection companies, they're really good at reporting things to the platforms and getting that removed. It's good to have a dedicated team of investigators that can find out who the people are behind these screen names that are causing the problems. And you know, the investigators can sometimes do test spies in order to help figure out who they are, but it's oftentimes just through investigation of open source to the use of, you know, databases that have information in them about individuals and addresses. Oftentimes, you know, in order to figure out where unauthorized products are coming to, we'll we'll work with the brand to get information about who, who they sell to and who their distributors are selling to. And we'll run data analytics to figure out, you know, where these products are coming from through the use of lock codes and other things like that. But it's both it's a, the lesson is, it's important to kind of approach it from all ends from the sellers that you're seeing from reporting to the platform from kind of cut off the sources. Because this gets to get to the, to solve the problem. You're gonna have to use every resource at your disposal


Aaron Conant  44:53  

to really create along that line, the question that comes in and we can jump into some other ones as well. Sir, if you missed it, but do you have advice As in how to address unauthorized drop shipping or market manipulation. For example, listing of products that a seller doesn't possess.


Adam Sherman  45:10  

That is such a big problem that we see all the time. And just to use Amazon as example, Amazon has a very, very explicit policy that prohibits that sort of Conte con, you know, conduct. You know, you wouldn't if you are a seller on Amazon, and you dropship, something from Walmart, or even from another Amazon seller, that is plainly against Amazon's rules, it's there in black and white, but Amazon cares, so very little about enforcing them. But you can have, you can get some results in that situation, we work with, with with, with Amazon regularly to kind of shut down these drop shippers. And sometimes it takes a lot of data, kind of really pushing, putting it in their face. Because we've conducted, you know, multiple test buys, we can show that this is a, this is a, you know, a regular problem. But it's not as simple as is reporting a policy violation to brand registry and getting it taken care of. So we don't, you know, if it's a small problem, we're not going to necessarily push it. But if we see a dropship, or through our monitoring data, that is accounting for 1000s of dollars of sales, we're going to make that a priority and really push Amazon to take action there. But it's not an easy solution. It's not as easy as simply reporting it. But it's something that we're constantly working with Amazon about because they have a very clear policy, and we want to make sure that they're you know, living up to their own policies,


Aaron Conant  46:36  

then just employing that thread just a little bit more about, yeah, you know, taking people down. You know, I'm gonna go back, Olivia sent one in, we have a strong MAP policy, we sent out weekly violations, you know, add people to the list, we're at 50 map, now we're at 180 map violations, they're authentic products, but selling them for drastically lower than map, this gets into that division of map is great. An Unauthorized or an authorized reseller policy is the key, which goes down to a comment that Julian and put in which was around authorized reseller policies as a whole. Right, which is you do have the ability to yank people down it is there is a legal route to getting that done. Correct.


Adam Sherman  47:25  

So, you know, if there's two, there's two sorts of problems there, right, you've got the authorized seller that's doing something that they're not supposed to do. And in that situation, if you know who they are, you can address that through the business, right, you're not following our policies, you're not following your agreement, you need to stop, or we're going to stop doing business with you, or, if appropriate, take further legal action. Unauthorized sellers are not going to care about your policies at all, they're not bound by them, they don't care what your MAP policy is. So that's not going to be helpful against them, you're gonna have to have another book against them. And you know, but having those policies in place are important because those can serve as a foundation that establishes your legal claims against unauthorized sellers. And, you know, you can approach unauthorized sellers directly in those circumstances and say, Hey, because you don't follow our quality controls, established by our authorized seller program, your products infringe our trademark, so we have legal claims against you. Oftentimes, the marketplaces aren't necessarily going to help you, you're not just gonna be able to report that to them and get them removed, you might have to go after the authorized seller yourself. But any brand that puts in the right policies, is going to be able to have things to do against their authorized sellers who are violating those policies, and the unauthorized sellers, who are, you know, sourcing their products indirectly through unknown means,


Aaron Conant  48:54  

then how much of a company's budget should be allocated these types of services and most instance, cost and internal control become obstacles to doing the right.


Adam Sherman  49:04  

And that's, yeah, that's a good point. And that's why we want to measure the ROI very closely, we want to be able to show the business that a because of the brand protection efforts that you're taking, now, all of a sudden, your authorized seller has gone from getting 60% of the sales on the platform to getting 90% sales or more on the platform. And that all is real dollars in your pocket. So most of the time, a brand can easily justify its spend on brand protection efforts by the increase in the sales that they're getting. So you know, whenever we have a situation where we're going to be able to get revenue data, that's the gold standard, right? We want to show increased revenue for the brand.


Aaron Conant  49:51  

That's another question that comes in right on that. How accurate it from Bill, how accurate is your marketplace revenue data?


Adam Sherman  49:58  

So that depends is on the marketplace, that I'm going to use Amazon as example, because that's usually the marketplace that brands we talk to care about the most. And I think the data that we have, is about as good as you can get. Given the challenges on Amazon, Amazon is not giving out the data on sales for other sellers, other than, you know, a third party seller, they'll give you the data, that of what that third party seller is selling. If they're your authorized seller, you should know that if you're one P to Amazon, if you're if you're in vendor Central, you'll know how much Amazon is selling, but they're not going to tell you how much the unauthorized sellers are selling. So you kind of have to back into that data, you want to use the actual sales data through the third party account or through vendor Central, but then you're going but then the monitoring is going to have to go out and check the Buy Box multiple times a day, figuring out which sellers are in the buy box for what amount of time and then using that Buy Box data in combined with the actual sales data from vendor Central or seller central to get a good estimate of who are the unauthorized sellers that are having the greatest impact on revenue. And I think the monitoring that are answered ancillary business precision ie control does is the best data you're gonna get, is it 100% Perfect, no, but we know that you know, the Buy Box winner is going to get the sales roughly 90% of the time. So it's going to be a very good estimate of who your most impactful sellers are. And you're gonna be able to validate that by seeing your authorized sellers revenue go up as you start to take care of the unauthorized sellers. Because revenue is the gold standard. But we also want to look and make, you know, another another platforms that may be infringement saturation, when someone looks for your brand, we want them to see your authorized content and a greater percentage than your unauthorized content. So we'll measure the infringement saturation, but we will, the important thing is is to use whatever the best data is that you can get for that particular platform.


Malia Ladd  52:06  

So we'll quickly cover, you know, why an integrated solution is is important. And it's really a fragmented market. And part of it is that you know, the size of organizations, there's not a single point of contact that manages or is responsible for all of this, but nor are there you know, partners that can help solve this entire problem. And, and from that legal foundation piece all the way over monitoring, insights, investigations, etc. And so, you know, looking at kind of that multiple vendor piece versus an integrated solution, it's really a balance of coordinating your internal teams and your partner, to really make sure that you can move the needle. And so under the multiple vendor aspect, where every every, you know, component where you're responsible within the organization, it's kind of an every man for themselves activity. This is really taking a focused approach with an integrated solution and help you reach and target your activity in the right sequence to gain impactful results in a legally compliant way. And, you know, these are some of the ways at Bories that we have integrated the control 360 solution platform. What this does is it allows our experts to design the right program using data driven insights, which Adam talked about, to help achieve the right outcomes for your brands. So we look at your unique brand, we understand those challenges you're facing, and where you want to go with your with with, from a strategy standpoint, we do this in a workshop, make recommendations on how to really move that needle in the right direction. So it looks a little bit something like this, where some pretty basic steps where we understand what's out there with that landscape assessment, we put together a solution recommendation, we do a cross functional strategy workshop, which you know, encompasses maybe your marketing, your eCommerce sales, legal brand management folks to be a part of that, and then finalize a solution plan and implement it. And this is where the, you know, measurements are really important to make sure that we're spending the money. I think somebody was asking about how do you budget for all of this. And I think that making sure that you're measuring your activity and your results is really a key component of this as well and continuing to be able to reassess going through. So you know, we take this approach to really help you evolve your program and make sure that your investments are going in in a way that's really helping you make progress towards your brand and kind of you know bouncing what you know above the waterline with maybe some of the things that you don't know below it. And Adam, I don't know if you want to wrap up quickly With just


Adam Sherman  55:02  

real quick just to emphasize how important it is you want to have good data, you want to have a goal in mind, you want to be really clear on what that goal is you want to have the ability to use legal options when needed. And you want, you know, someone managing this to make sure that the most efficient tactics are used. And that's the key to success of any brand protection program


Malia Ladd  55:21  

now. Awesome. It looks like we're wrapping up right on time.


Aaron Conant  55:30  

Very well done. I think we got almost all the questions answered. There is one around price matching around volume and fluid ounces. Gear. Well, you I have a follow up conversation I worked at a large pharma company, I don't think there's anything they're going to price match, however they see fit. And that was super, super frustrating when they're matching a bulk size to a smaller size and then discounting the smaller size. But with that, I'd encourage anybody you're looking for more information in this follow up with the team here at voisey control. They're great partners, supporters of the network and have been for ever since we've kicked this thing off six years ago. Tons of brands come highly recommended. Look for a follow up email for me as well. I'd love to have a conversation with you. We'd love to pick your brains on topics for dinners or webinars but also never hesitate across the board. If you're looking for a solution, service provider, shoot me an email and I'll get back to you usually within a day around, Hey, these are the top ones vetted out by the network as a whole. With that we're going to wrap up this this webinar. Thanks everybody for dialing in and hope everybody takes care stay safe and look forward to having you at a future event. Thanks again everybody. Thank you.

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