The ABC — AI, Blockchain, and Crowdsourcing — of Fighting Online Counterfeits
The Global Brand Counterfeiting Report estimates that in 2017, the global losses due to online counterfeiting have amounted to $323 billion.
In the digital age, it has become increasingly difficult to effect anti-counterfeiting measures because e-commerce and social media platforms are giving counterfeiters unfettered access to consumers around the globe.
Although counterfeiting is generally a losing proposition for brands, affecting both their bottom line and image, in some cases, companies may turn a blind eye to counterfeiting for several reasons, the first being that the alternative is too costly. For example, RFID tagging is one of the latest technologies adopted by global brands to battle counterfeits, but it is expensive and raises privacy concerns because it requires acquiring customers’ sensitive personal information, which may become exposed to unscrupulous third parties if the item is later lost or stolen. Second, counterfeits drive a demand for new goods whereby consumers seek out new designs once copied ones become common, and counterfeits also drive a demand for lower-priced branded products.
Therefore, as Samantha Radocchia stresses in her piece on effective anti-counterfeiting methods:
“Any solution must start with the consumer.”
Below, I take a look at simplyBrand, a modern approach for businesses to handle online copyright or trademark infringement that makes consumers part of the solution, rewarding them for identifying and reporting online counterfeits.
simplyBrand’s Anti-Counterfeiting Services
simplyBrand uses a combination of blockchain technology, AI, and crowdsourcing (a form of decentralized verification) to not only identify counterfeit products online, but also to track, monitor, analyze, and provide accurate data to its clients.
Instead of taking the more common track-and-trace route, simplyBrand approaches the issue from a different angle: it uses AI and its ecosystem of human participants to monitor e-commerce and social media platforms for incidents of copyright or trademark infringement and alerts its clients to any suspicious activity.
So, in essence, instead of tracking genuine products (which may not always be traceable), it scans the entire online commerce market and enables brands and consumers to identify and verify which products are authentic or counterfeit. It also works with enforcement agencies and law firms to take down offensive URLs and take appropriate legal action.
simplyBrand uses the blockchain technology to create an incorruptible ledger (the “blacklist”) of websites and online retailers selling confirmed counterfeits. The blacklist essentially records bad actors’ misconduct and can be powerful evidence against counterfeiters in court or other enforcement actions.
Another use for the blacklist is that, when shared publicly, it will educate online shoppers and dampen the demand for goods from blacklisted websites. It will also discourage online counterfeiters from targeting client brands for the fear of being exposed.
simplyBrand presents a fresh approach to anti-counterfeiting, using the latest technology to identify, verify, and remove online counterfeits, as well as rewarding brand loyalists and regular consumers for participating in the process and being part of the solution.
simplyBrand is an advanced ecosystem that draws on artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and crowdsourcing to eliminate counterfeit products in digital commerce. To learn more, visit the simplyBrand website.