Savvy Internet marketing allows thousands of individuals and companies to peddle more than a million counterfeit sports shirts and jerseys annually, according to the 2011 Special Edition of the Brandjacking Index published today. The online sale of counterfeit sports apparel is a multi-million dollar industry that generates tens of millions of visits to the websites selling such products.
MarkMonitor, which provides Internet brand protection services to companies, began publishing its Brandjacking Index in 2007. The index analyzes trends and statistics about brand abuse online, and addresses the business and technical methods used by brandjackers, by applying proprietary algorithms to publicly available information.
According to the most recent edition of the index, MarkMonitor identified more than 6,000 suspects selling more than 1.2 million shirts and jerseys bearing counterfeit sports league and team logos. The e-commerce sites selling these counterfeit goods attract 56 million visits annually and generate more than $25 million in revenue.
The operators of sites selling counterfeit sports apparel use sophisticated Internet marketing techniques to drive traffic to their sites. They invest heavily in paid search advertising, "black hat" SEO techniques, cybersquatting, and typosquatting. They also use affiliate marketing programs and pay-per-click advertisements.
MarkMonitor has identified more than 1,300 of these sites selling some 800,000 units of suspicious sports apparel each year. Most of these sites are associated with a Chinese registrant or registrar.