RealTime IT News

Caution Sounded Against Web Sales of Fake Goods

Four to eight percent of Web sites selling Gucci, Rolex and Mont Blanc-branded products are actually selling fakes this holiday season., according to the second annual Cyveillance.com Holiday Cyber Scams Study.

The study from the e-business intelligence company further projects that there are approximately 7,000 sites overall on the Web today selling the three brands studied.

Cyveillance said its NetSapien Technology analyzed more than 50,000 Web pages for the study and now estimates that the number of sites selling all types of luxury goods, ranging from designer apparel to fine jewelry and accessories, has nearly doubled over last year, rising from 20,000 to 25,000 sites in 1998 to more than 50,000 sites.

The study projects that the number of sites selling fake luxury goods is roughly keeping pace with the growth of online commerce.

"With record numbers of shoppers buying online this holiday, the potential revenue impact of counterfeiting on luxury goods makers is staggering," said Brandy Thomas, CEO and chairman of Cyveillance. "Not only that, widespread sales of imitation luxury products ultimately devalue those brands."

As the number and sophistication of Web sites continues to grow, it will become increasingly difficult to differentiate between sites selling knock-offs and sites selling the real thing, Thomas said.

The company offered this advice to shoppers:

  1. Order from reputable sites with solid privacy policies
  2. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is
  3. Make sure the site has an adequate return policy and relies on a reputable shipping company
  4. On the ordering page, look for the prefix "https" at the beginning of the URL, which indicates that you have entered a secure server area
  5. Check for a disclaimer near the order form indicating that the site uses a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Cyveillance combines its research-oriented NetSapien Technology with experienced e-business analysts to produce market research for clients.