Brand

Gobik shares its experience in protecting sportswear against counterfeits

Counterfeits are damaging brand reputation: José Gimeno, e-commerce and Social Manager at Gobik shares his experience of protecting their range of cycling clothing online.

I believe that the protection of brands and their products online is becoming progressively more important, especially for those that plan to expand to international markets.

Gobik is a Spanish brand of personalized cycling clothing and equipment, since its launch in 2010 they have strived to create unique and different 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 distinctive products.

Tell us, about the problem that Gobik experienced which led you to search for protection against piracy?

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.  

What affect did these counterfeits have on your business and your objectives?  

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.

Are online counterfeits specific to Gobik, and why do you believe your products are being targeted?

It’s a problem for the sector. In cycling it could be said that nearly 90% of the brands are susceptible to suffering online counterfeits, from clothing, equipment, components, or even the bicycles themselves.

It’s 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.

Do you consider that brand and online product protection is important?

I believe that 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.

Why did you choose Smart Brand Protection rather than tackling the problem internally?

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 Brand Protection, we attained greater results than we could have achieved ourselves, after all they are experts in online brand protection.

In which channels did you discover counterfeits?

Almost all the counterfeits we identified were in Aliexpress or Chinese marketplaces.  A significant 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 exactly the same as ours.

How many incidents were identified before contracting the Smart Brand Protection platform, and how many exist today?

Smart Brand Protection detected a huge amount of online content which were highlighted as potential infractions, and we validated more than 3,900 of them. That was really impressive.

It’s important to stress that Smart Brand Protection notified all the infractions susceptible of being removed to the corresponding platform and, this resulted in 97% of them being completely eliminated from the internet. These were the results:

  • Aliexpress: a success rate of 99.5%
  • eBay: a success rate of 83.3%
  • DHgate: a 100% success rate was achieved

How was the experience of working with the team at Smart Brand Protection, as well as the synergy with Gobik’s personnel?

Our experience has been very positive, all the URLs that we have detected were removed rapidly. I am responsible for working with the team from Smart Brand 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 didn’t know where to begin.

How does the protection provided by Smart Brand Protection contribute to the brand? What would be the impact on the business if you were not protected against online counterfeits?

The protection we receive through Smart Brand Protection makes the consumer 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.

Do you want to know if there is fake merchandise being marketed under your brand, or if your products are being counterfeited on marketplaces?

If you want to know if your brand is suffering from counterfeiting or the improper abuse of online branding, request a free audit from Smart Brand Protection.