Designer Brands Complain That Alibaba Isn’t Doing Enough To Ditch Counterfeits

Image courtesy of Leon Lee

Are Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms a wretched hive of fakes and counterfeits, or has the company really made progress in eradicating counterfeiters from its sites? As the U.S. Trade Representative makes a list of which places on the internet tend to sell fakes, that’s an important question: is Alibaba really doing all that it can to root out knockoffs?

The Wall Street Journal reports today that trade groups from all over the world, including makers of frequently counterfeited items like the French Federation of Leather Goods and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, sent the company a collective open letter late last month expressing concern that Alibaba isn’t really doing all that it can to keep counterfeit items off the site and out of the hands of consumers.

Their criticism mostly involves Alibaba’s consumer-facing marketplace in China, Taobao, which the groups say remains full of counterfeits but wouldn’t be if the site’s parent company made a few changes that it had already promised to make.

For example: photos matching images from big-name brands aren’t allowed, but those same photos can pass filters if they’re blurred a little. That shouldn’t be, the brands argue.

Alibaba had promised to partner with brands to prevent counterfeiting, but those partnerships haven’t yet materialized. In a letter of their own, a group of U.S. apparel and shoe manufacturers complained that “the takedown procedures remain as complicated and burdensome as ever” at Alibaba.

Taobao made it off the U.S. Trade Representative’s list of shady counterfeit-filled sites back in 2012, but now the agency is considering putting it back on.

Alibaba Failing to Deliver in Fight Against Fakes, Say Brands [Wall Street Journal]

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