The Top 10 Online Brand Protection Strategies For 2011
The Top 10 Online Brand Protection Strategies for 20111. Be proactive—monitor your brands online!The onus for protecting brands online remains with the brand owner. Major 2010 rulings, includingTiffany vs. eBay, LVMH vs. Google and Viacom vs. YouTube, had one outcome in common: all thesecases clearly signaled that brand owners are still responsible for monitoring their brands online.2. Target the promotional channel.Counterfeiters and pirates are savvy marketers, taking full advantage of the Internet’s powerfulpromotional channels to lure consumers to their illicit goods and content. To effectively combatcounterfeiting and piracy, legitimate brands must target their deceptive promotions—paid searchscams, black hat SEO tactics, spam and cybersquatting—as well as their online distribution channels.3. Prepare for the launch of new gTLDs.The launch of ICANN’s new gTLD program is expected in the first half of 2011. By now, companiesshould have already decided whether to apply for one or more new gTLDs, or whether to limit theirstrategy to defending their brands during the ICANN application process. Faced with the realitiesof competition and brand abuse in this increasingly complex space, brand owners now need to beprepared for how the launch of hundreds of new gTLDs will impact their domain registration practicesand policing strategies.4. “Right Size” your domain portfolio.The bulk of corporate domain portfolios largely consist of defensive registrations which often includecommon misspellings, product names, and abbreviations. More than ever, companies should be takinga hard look at their defensive holdings and asking themselves whether or not they really need all ofthese registrations.There are a number of methods that can be used to “Right Size” portfolios; however, the single mostimportant factor in making decisions about what to keep or drop comes down to traffic. Understandingjust how much traffic is being generated by defensive registrations is essential for rationalizing portfolios,adding domains where needed or dropping domains with little or no traffic.5. Combine and escalate enforcement measures.Brands have a multitude of enforcement options available to them for addressing infringing sites orcontent—from automated Cease & Desist (C&D) letters to UDRP. However, the most successfulbrand owners have a clear enforcement escalation path that matches the enforcement measure—ormeasures—to the severity of abuse. The result: cost-effective, long-term compliance.6. Follow the 80/20 rule.Where should you focus your anti-counterfeiting efforts online? Hint: 10 online marketplaces accountfor fully 80 percent of all marketplace traffic. By following the 80/20 rule and focusing their effortson the most highly trafficked marketplaces, brand owners can have a significant impact on onlinecounterfeit sales. However, the popularity of marketplaces is ever changing. For example, marketplacesin emerging markets are growing at an astronomical rate. So, it’s wise to keep abreast of which are themost popular marketplaces.7. Address affiliate abuse.Affiliates are productive partners that increase brand exposure and help drive sales, but any goodaffiliate program must be monitored. Misguided affiliates bid against brands on their most productivekeywords, driving up prices and siphoning away natural traffic. It’s important to clearly articulate yourcompany’s affiliate program policies and then monitor for compliance.