Proxyrack - November 30, 2023
With the rise in popularity of fake businesses targeting internet users, specifically on social media platforms, brands need to safeguard their reputations by taking additional precautions to prevent fraudsters from sharing false information with their target audiences.
Whether you’re a business owner or a consumer, counterfeits can seriously impact your online shopping experiences and cause long-lasting impacts on customer relations, which is why online brand protection has become so important.
In this guide, we’ll take a deeper look at what online brand protection is, why businesses need it, the services you can use to protect your brand online, and the potential implications of choosing not to do so.
Online brand protection solutions are strategies and activities that safeguard a company's brand identity, reputation, and intellectual property online. These services are typically overseen by third-party companies that specialize in protecting brands online and use the following strategies:
1. Trademark monitoring
This practice involves regularly reviewing trademark databases and applications to identify potential infringements relating to a brand and its logos, associated phrases and packaging.
2. Domain tracking
This involves tracking registered domain names to prevent individuals from registering ones similar to established brands. This is known as 'cybersquatting' and is usually done to sell a domain for an inflated price or set up fake websites and deceive customers.
3. Checking social media platforms
Due to the ease of setting up new social media accounts, scammers regularly target these platforms. To combat this, those specializing in brand protection will track brand mentions and the use of brand assets to prevent impersonation and misinformation.
4. Phishing protection
One of the main reasons scammers will attempt to impersonate a brand online is to run phishing websites to steal customers' data and login credentials. So, any phishing scams are monitored and taken down once detected.
5. Counterfeit detection (monitoring e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces)
People wanting to sell counterfeit products will usually target online platforms and e-commerce sites, so these must be monitored, and any fake goods sold under the brand's name are identified and removed from sale.
6. Brand reputation preservation
Sometimes, people will post unauthentic reviews to harm a company's reputation. To avoid this, their brand protection strategy often includes checking Google reviews and online channels like TrustPilot to maintain consumer trust.
7. Processing ‘cease and desist’ letters
Legal action will be taken once a case has been built against a person or entity committing trademark infringement or selling counterfeit goods. The aim of this is to end fraudulent activities and compensate brand owners.
Brand protection services aim to preserve your intellectual property (IP), which is crucial for maintaining your brand's reputation, position, and market competitiveness.
Think about it this way: your team has put blood, sweat and tears into creating whatever digital products and services you offer, so you don’t want any old chump thinking they can steal it from you!
Beyond protecting your property, brand protection services may be a valuable investment for your business for other reasons, too. Let’s take a closer look at these.
1. Preserving your online presence
Brand protection services can be beneficial if a significant portion of your business operations, sales, or customer interactions occur online. The risk of encountering online threats, such as brand impersonation and intellectual property infringement, is significantly higher when you operate primarily in a digital space.
2. Maintaining brand value
If your business has a well-established brand and valuable intellectual property, you must keep them safe. Brand protection solutions help to safeguard your brand's reputation, customer trust, and market position, meaning they can deliver substantial returns on investment.
3. Preserving global operations
Operating globally poses challenges like trademark infringements and counterfeiting across different regions, and preserving your brand on such a scale can be challenging. Brand protection services can provide comprehensive monitoring of other locales and provide enforcement strategies tailored to diverse markets.
4. Detering competitors
If your business is in a competitive industry, rivals may try to undermine its reputation or market share through unauthorized activities. Brand protection services can act as a proactive defense mechanism that deters competitors from attempting to steal your intellectual property in an effort to take your customers.
5. Avoiding intellectual property infringement
If your business relies heavily on its intellectual property, like some technology companies and fashion brands, it's at a higher risk of being stolen or counterfeited. Implementing brand protection strategies can help you identify and stop infringements quickly before they can affect your reputation.
6. Safeguarding consumer trust and reputation
Maintaining consumer trust is vital for all businesses, so brand protection services cover issues like fake reviews and misleading information to preserve the integrity of your business.
7. Ensuring compliance
Depending on the industry your business operates in, you may have to comply with stringent intellectual property (IP) regulations. Brand protection services can ensure your company adheres to the relevant rules and regulations, helping you avoid fines and reputational damage.
8. Alleviating cybersecurity concerns
With the threat of cyberattacks all too prevalent, it's vital that you secure online assets, prevent data breaches, and protect against phishing attacks, as these can affect your business and your customer base.
9. Proactively managing risks
Implementing brand protection services highlights that you are taking a proactive approach to identifying and managing risks before they escalate. This can save your business from potential legal battles, financial losses, and potentially irreparable reputational damage.
Although comprehensive protection may not be necessary for every brand and business, some measures must be implemented to consider and mitigate the risks of digital assets and IP infringements.
Not every business will need comprehensive brand protection solutions, so you may implement some measures yourself. Proxies can be a valuable tool for businesses for several reasons, and they can help you avoid brand abuse and attacks in these three ways:
1. Security and anonymity
Proxies provide an additional layer of security and anonymity for brand protection services. By routing internet traffic through proxies, you can protect your IP address and other sensitive information from malicious actors, ensuring the confidentiality of any investigations.
2. Web scraping
By rotating IP addresses through proxies, you can scrape website data anonymously and avoid being blocked by websites. This makes collecting data relating to potential trademark infringements, counterfeit product listings, and unauthorized sellers more straightforward.
3. Access to location-specific and restricted content
Using a proxy, you can trick websites into thinking you're using the internet in another country. This is crucial for monitoring regional-specific websites, online marketplaces, and social media platforms where violations or infringements may occur.
Additionally, proxies enable brand protection services to access websites and platforms that may be restricted in certain regions. This is especially useful if you suspect potential trademark infringements or that counterfeit products are being sold on sites you can't access.
As well as helping you protect your brand, proxies can help your business perform other vital tasks, including site testing and managing traffic. Discover everything you need to know about proxies for businesses and the best proxies for web developers in our blog.
If you're starting as an entrepreneur or business owner, you need to read our tips on using proxies as a startup. Here, we explore why startups should use proxies and offer ten ways to help streamline processes and get ahead of competitors.
Businesses of all sizes should go to some lengths to protect their online brand to ensure their reputation and credibility do not suffer. While online brand protection services may not be necessary or financially viable, you should still implement measures to preserve your brand.
As opposed to seeing brand protection as an expensive option, you should look at it as an investment in the longevity and sustainability of your business. Consider using proxies for a cost-effective way of carrying out brand protection strategies. These tools enable you to securely and anonymously scrape data and access location-restricted content to identify infringements and mitigate the risk of brand attacks.
The term 'brand infringement' refers to the unauthorized use or imitation of a brand's intellectual property. This includes using elements associated with a brand, like their logo, name, and slogans, without express permission. More specifically, brand infringement includes:
Trademark infringement: Utilizing a trademark that is the same or similar to an existing registered trademark.
Counterfeiting: Reproducing products with a brand's trademark or logo. Counterfeit products are often made to inferior standards but are designed to make customers believe they're buying the real thing.
Copyright infringement: Unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, including images, videos, or any other creative work associated with a brand.
Patent infringement: Using or replicating already patented technology, inventions, or processes without the owner's permission.
Phishing and spoofing: Scammers may attempt to impersonate brands to trick individuals into providing sensitive information that can be used to commit identity theft and online fraud. This typically happens through fake social media accounts, emails, and rogue websites set up to impersonate genuine brands.