Easy Access Marketplace Breeds Fakes, Counterfeits, And Misbranded Products.
Easy Is Good Only When Easy Is Safe.
Since the dawn of the Internet huge $multi-billion$ enterprises have emerged to sell you stuff online. The Ebay's, Amazon's, Alibaba's, Pricefall's and others have created easy to use Online Marketplaces that even small sellers can use to reach a national and international market. A Grandmother can setup an account and start selling her custom baby bibs in almost no time.
There is, as with most things that are quick and easy, a dark side that can be just as easily exploited. The sheer volume of product moving through massive warehouses makes it almost impossible to police, so fake product and mis-branded knock-offs can easily sneak into the flow and corrupt the whole process. This has been a problem since the early days of online markets, and it's getting worse, and it's getting worse faster and faster.
Traditional Brick & Mortar Stores Are Doing It Too.
Large department stores, such as Walmart, are getting in on the game as well. Look carefully and you will see that many items are sold and shipped by 3rd party vendors. With retail sales in big trouble in recent years stores of all shapes and sizes are looking for every avenue to squeeze out a few extra pennies to add to the bottom line. It's a lucrative add on to traditional services and some marketplace creators such as Amazon get over a third of their revenue from 3rd party sellers. The revenue from 3rd party sellers can make the difference between a profit and a loss. The various articles listed on this page (click the pictures to see the articles) investigate the scope of the practice, and the problems.
We Are Watching The Development Of The Problems, And The Solutions.
At The Super Cyber Mall we keep our eye on all aspects of online sales and will do our best to mitigate any problems that we see. If we learn that some products that we promote are fakes we will de-list that item. It's a difficult problem to address, though, so some counterfeits will still sneak through, but hopefully very few.
When Is A Counterfeit Not A Fake?
One vexing problem manufacturers have encountered with foreign production companies is those few extra products they don't tell you about. For example if a big brand shoe company orders a million shoes from a shoe factory in Malaysia, they may make a few extra thousand, or 10 thousand shoes. These extra shoes are sold to local shops or online sellers at a tiny fraction of the brand name price. If these shoes enter a marketplace, such as Amazons, they have a big advantage over the brand name shoes since their acquisition cost was so low. But wait! These ARE the brand name shoes, made on the same assembly line, with the same materials, and the same logo stitched on the side. How can you tell the difference between the real thing and the fake when the fake is actually the real thing. The victim here is the big brand company who can't compete on price with their own product that was illicitly sold in the same market place. These interlopers sneak in and suck the profits from the marketplace leaving the creators and owners of the brand with much less profit than they should have received.
The Resolution Solution, Or Not
A long standing problem with online sales is that you can't pick up the product and give it a close look like you can in a traditional store. Today's high speed Internet and super high resolution screens have mitigated that problem by providing very high resolution pictures. If you're shopping for a pillow case you can click the plus sign next to the image and see a super high resolution picture that shows the individual threads. If you're shopping for a jacket you can click on the picture and see a high resolution shot that clearly shows if the buttons are sewn on or riveted, or if the zipper is metal or plastic. These are powerful enhancements to the online shopping experience.
So what's wrong with high resolution? Lets say you're a knock off artist in a foreign land. With high resolution pics just a click away you can whip out a knock off so close in resemblance to the branded product that only an expert could tell the difference. What's good for the shopper is also good for the copier, and shipping containers filled with fakes arrive on our shores.
A Hijacking On The Information Superhighway.
It is not uncommon for a truck filled with product to be hijacked, the product stolen and sold for cheap. The equivalent of a truck load of product in the online world is the product listings that the seller provides to the marketplace database. Each data item in the list is carefully crafted with a description, the price, picture thumbnails and high res pictures. The colors are coordinated with the page background, borders, and the overall theme for the page. Then, suddenly, on your carefully crafted page other items that have nothing to do with your brand show up on your listing. Then your content and images disappear completely and other junk replaces it. Your listing got hijacked, and all the hard earned traffic leading to your brand now goes to some junk some mysterious person put on your listing.
Why this is even possible is a question. You would think that the marketplace creators would have set it up differently, but they didn't. There are ways to make hijacking more difficult for the perpetrator to pull off. Click the bandit image to the left to read more about that.
Finding The Best Deals On The Right Stuff.
At The Super Cyber Mall we are constantly searching for the best prices on the best products. That makes us especially vulnerable to hijacked, mis-branded, or counterfeit products because those are most likely to have the lowest prices and the best sales. There are a number of things that we can do to keep our product catalog free from counterfeits which include the following:
We look for products with a consistent track record, preferably 60 to 90 days. We don't even calculate a price rank until we have tracked a product for 10 days. We avoid products that suddenly appear and then quickly disappear. We are slow to respond to flash sales, preferring sales that last days or weeks. Counterfeits and hijacked listing tend to be short lived. The perpetrators want to get in and get out quickly before they are discovered and kicked out of the marketplace. This doesn't mean that counterfeit products will not be found in our catalog, but it makes it less likely they will get a good price rank.
We review our pages every day. With about 10,000 items in our catalog we can't look at all of them, but with daily activity in maintaining our pages we are likely to spot the outliers, the products that don't look like they belong, and de-list them.
Our software algorithms are constantly improved. As we learn they learn and as they learn we learn. The best artificial intelligence is real brains using real intelligence and then infusing that into the software.
As always we sincerely hope that WE HAVE SAVED YOU SOME MONEY TODAY.