José Gimeno, e-commerce, and Social Manager at Gobik shares his experience of protecting their range of cycling clothing online.
Gobik is a Spanish brand of personalized cycling clothing and equipment. Since its launch in 2010 they have strived to create unique products for the market. Gobik is based on the concept of “custom clothing,” as a sign of identity it distinguishes itself in the sector by creating unique and distinctive products.
The problem was that our clients began to identify counterfeit products on the Internet, especially in marketplaces such as AliExpress. We at Gobik had not witnessed this part of the market, and we were oblivious to the damage that counterfeits were causing our business and our credibility.
At first, we believed that the damage caused by this branch of counterfeit products would be insignificant as our target market was limited to Spain. However, upon launching our international expansion strategy we realized that it was essential to have an online brand protection platform. Consumers outside of Spain, who had not been in contact with the original product, would be unable to distinguishing between the original and counterfeit copies, particularly if their first experience with the brand was through a counterfeit item.
At that moment we realized that we had to find a solution.
It is a problem for the sector. In cycling it could be said that 90% of the brands are susceptible to suffering online counterfeits, from clothing, equipment, components, or even the bicycles themselves.
It is a trend, a brand creates trends, generates a market and the counterfeiters recognize that and move in. The larger the market, the greater the attraction and potential gains for cybercriminals.
The protection of brands and their products online is becoming progressively more important, especially for those that plan to expand to international markets. In Spain it is more likely that consumers are familiar with your brand and product offering, however, consumers who reside from outside your home market have a greater chance of purchasing counterfeit copies as they may have more difficulty in identify the original item.
An internal solution seemed unrealistic, we could not justify having a team that is dedicated solely to the detection of counterfeits and to fight against cybercrime. It was evident that the problem was too great for us to manage internally, alongside our daily work it was inconceivable for us to identify, report, and remove these counterfeits. By contracting the service of Smart Protection, we attained greater results than we could have achieved ourselves, they are experts in anti-counterfeiting and online brand protection.
Most of the counterfeits we identified were in AliExpress or Chinese marketplaces. A considerable number of stores were selling copies of our products aimed at Spanish consumers, using fake addresses, which attracted my attention.
Interestingly, the cybercriminals used the same technology that we used for promoting counterfeits goods; oddly, we discovered online stores which were the same as ours.
Smart Protection detected a huge amount of online content which were highlighted as potential infringements, and we validated more than 3,900 of them. That was impressive.
It is important to stress that Smart Protection notified all the infringements susceptible of being removed to the corresponding platform and, this resulted in 97% of them being eliminated from the internet. These were the results:
Our experience has been incredibly positive, all the URLs that we have detected were removed rapidly. I am responsible for working with the team from Smart Protection, and thanks to them, the time that we dedicate to protecting our brand from counterfeits is minimal. In addition, they have provided guidance which means that we now know how to act efficiently. Previously, for legal purposes we were unsure what to do, we did not know where to begin.
The protection we receive through Smart Protection makes consumers more confident in our brand and our products, and they know that when shopping at their preferred Marketplace they will be purchasing the original product. We do not have the figures to show the impact counterfeit products would have had on our business if we were not protected, however we do consider that we receive a significant return on our investment.