Using Smart Technology and Expert Analysis
Over 70% of luxury and apparel brands consider the online sale of counterfeits to be the biggest risk to their brand. In addition to traditional marketplaces, social media adds marketing routes for counterfeiters. So how do you stay ahead?
Join CSC’s global director for Brand Protection, David Franklin, in this recorded webinar that will delve into how using advancing technology alongside expert analysts can make your monitoring and enforcement strategy more robust. In Brand Protection Using Smart Technology and Expert Analysis, David will address:
- The use of technology to identify and investigate high-value counterfeiters
- The human touch—ensuring efficiency through relationships with intermediaries
- Using all enforcement options for maximum impact
Disclaimer: Please be advised that this recorded webinar has been edited from its original format, which may have included a product demo. To set up a live demo or to request more information, please complete the form to the right. Or if you are currently not on CSC Global, there is a link to the website in the description of this video. Thank you.
Annie: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "Brand protection in the age of digital innovation: Using smart technology and expert analysts to fight counterfeiters and fraudsters sustainably on social media and other online channels." My name is Annie Triboletti, and I will be your moderator. Joining us today is David Franklin.
David is the Global Director of Brand Protection at CSC. He is responsible for the global direction and leadership at CSC's Brand Protection Services, which helps clients detect and remove online threats. And with that, let's welcome David.
David: Thank you, Annie, and welcome, everyone. As Annie mentioned, we're going to be focusing on best practice for your digital strategy against counterfeiters and infringers today, especially counterfeiters and infringers on social media, and I'm going to be drawing upon my 12 years with CSC to bring you, hopefully, some useful insights and trends. The primary aim of this webinar is educational, but it will also showcase CSC's technology and services. And maybe it will have some things you already know about, maybe some things you don't already know about. But we'd like to think that you'll have some new things to think about at the end of the webinar.
We'll cover three main things: using technology to identify and investigate high-value counterfeiters; the human touch, how it's important to have that for efficient relationships with intermediaries and successful enforcement; and then we'll have some case studies about using different enforcement options for maximum impact.
However, before we start with section one of this webinar, I just wanted to take a few minutes to look at some of the challenges that we are seeing at CSC on the online landscape. Now, I'm sure many of you on this webinar already know that as more and more business has moved online, more and more counterfeiting and fraud and general bad actors have also moved online. And what you might not know is that, in fact, online retailers now account for 60% of all fake electrical goods purchased. So that's a bigger proportion than electrical goods sold in brick-and-mortar stores.
And 70% of luxury and apparel brands consider the online sales of counterfeits to be the biggest risk to their brand, a bigger risk than sales from competitors, for instance. We're seeing apparel and luxury goods make up the largest value of counterfeit shipments globally, according to U.S. and customs officials around the world. And we've also seen average shipment sizes reduced by about 10 times in the past five years. So we've seen a big move away from large containers being moved around the world to small packets being sent from sites like Alibaba, AliExpress, and some of the Indonesian marketplaces like Tokopedia. So luxury and apparel brands also form a large number of CSC customers. So we can agree that this is a big focus for those brands.
And I'm sure it's no surprise to you that China and Hong Kong continue to have the lion's share of counterfeit production. So, currently, it's more than 83% of all counterfeits globally are produced in China and Hong Kong.
And since we have a bit of a focus in this webinar on social media, let's just take a quick moment to have a bit of an update on some of the challenges currently in the social media channel. So we're finding that counterfeit sales via social media are growing very strongly, 15% year on year. So they're growing at a faster rate than counterfeits on marketplaces and some of the other channels that we are monitoring.
We are also seeing a huge surge in impersonation accounts, so impersonations of senior management and CEOs, particularly of banking and insurance organizations, but also other large organizations as well. So it's not just banking and insurance. And it happens to be a way for fraudsters to trick other people, often colleagues in those organizations or partners and third parties.
And not only that, we've also seen phishing and other fraud via social media rising sharply in recent years. So some of our clients, particularly banking and insurance clients, have seen increases of over 70% years on year on fraud and phishing on social media, much of it on Instagram.
So let's just take an example of one large insurance company, and just in one month they had seven cases of executive impersonations on Facebook. And I'm pleased to say all of those have since been removed. But it gives you an idea of the sort of scale that, if you are in a similar position on a similar organization, that's the sort of level you could be experiencing or maybe experience in the future. So just something to think about.
So we'll be covering enforcement techniques in a bit more detail later on. But just while we're on the subject of impersonation, I thought I might just cover what you need to do if you were to take action against somebody impersonating one of your senior executives on one of the social media channels, because it does require some specific information. You need valid proof of the real individual's identity as evidence. Now we do have very good success rate at CSC, and you can have good success rate as well in getting rid of impersonation accounts. So you can have near 100% success rate.
But what you do need is a copy of the passport or driver's license for the executive concerned. And some of the sites will even require that person to hold their passport or driver's license as further evidence. And a lot of chief executives might balk at the fact that they have to have a picture taken with them holding their passport. But that really is the only way in many cases of impersonation. Without that sort of evidence, you're likely to find that enforcement is unlikely to be successful. So it's worth doing it because you can have success. That's what you need to do.
So let's just go back and take a look at a few more updates regarding social media and the challenges of this particular channel online. So, in 2018, Europol closed 10,000 shops on social media. And in the UK, Operation Jasper made 17,000 takedowns on social media. So huge numbers. So, I mean, that's evidence alone that there is an awful lot of counterfeiting going on on social media. In fact, Operation Jasper was a joint operation between the UK Trading Standards, the police, and the UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group. And also 22 rights holders were impacted by these counterfeiters and were involved in the takedowns, and there were 200 arrests and physical raids. So, for some reason, quite a lot around the Manchester area in the UK. Anyway, so it gives you an idea of the scale of what's going on.
So key sites to watch. Well, Facebook, it's still the largest platform. It still has many billions of users. It's about 1.7 billion users. Instagram is the fastest growing platform. So it's growing 22% per year. It's growing much faster than Facebook. It currently just exceeded the one billion users mark, and it is a popular choice for infringers. So, in a recent study, about 56,000 accounts were linked to counterfeit activity. And as I mentioned earlier, we're seeing quite a lot of impersonation accounts, particularly on Instagram, a lot of phishing and fraud going on.
So let's take a look at WeChat, a channel that many of you on this webinar may already be familiar with. For those of you who aren't, it is the most widely used social media and mobile app payment channel in China. It's a kind of hybrid between an app and a social media channel. It has a lot of counterfeiting activity, hundreds of thousands of accounts linked to counterfeit activity. It's definitely one of the channels of choice by counterfeiters. It has over a billion users, so a similar sort of size to Instagram. And it's the number five app worldwide, the number five social media channel worldwide. And we see an awful lot of counterfeits being traded on WeChat, and it's being used as a communications channel. So definitely one to watch, if you're not already watching it, if you happen to have a product which is being impacted by counterfeiting.
Here's a site that you may be less familiar with, a site called Yupoo. It's a picture-sharing Chinese site, social media channel. A bit like Instagram. Now Instagram, of course, is not available in China, so this is China's own version of Instagram. And what we're seeing is typically counterfeiters putting their catalogue online and providing then WhatsApp or Skype numbers to contact outside of the platform, so taking the dialogue off of the platform. Here's an example of an account offering handbags for sale. For some of our clients, we're doing sort of thousands of takedowns every month on this channel, keeping it clean and keeping the counterfeiters off the channel. So one to watch if you feel you might have been targeted by Chinese counterfeiters.
So just to finish off on this little introduction and trends and tips on social media. Before this webinar, I asked social media subject matter experts in the team in Cambridge, what should brand owners really be doing in 2020 regarding brand protection on social media? What are the sort of two things that they think are most important for brand owners to think about? And they came up with these following two things.
Firstly, consider having your official social media accounts verified. We come across many companies who really don't have a clear picture, for many reasons, of their official social media accounts. And so we strongly recommend you reach out to the social media platforms to verify your business pages and profiles, what are the official pages. It does require you to follow a set of instructions and provide the platforms with your business information to verify authenticity. We don't really usually get involved in that because there's various bits of sensitive information, but we do recommend you do that because it helps then fix that as a potential white list against which the platform will then be much more comfortable with fast enforcement on anything that's not on that list.
Secondly, we would strongly recommend you review your trademark portfolio and ensure that you have trademark registrations in as many sort of hotspots around the world as possible, because what we find, especially sites like Facebook, if an infringer is based in, say, Indonesia or Turkey or a country like that, they need the trademark certificate for that particular country in order for us and for them to take enforcement on your behalf. So just a couple of things to think about there.
Okay. So let's get started with section one then, "Using technology to identify and investigate high-value counterfeiters on social media and other channels."
So on the subject of technology, whilst CSC is rightly very proud of its technology, and, in fact, the technology we use for detection and within our brand protection engine has a very strong pedigree. I mean, it's developed by the founders of the Brand Protection team, who have subsequently gone on to set up Google DeepMind.
Technology alone is not the whole story. The best approach we find is to combine the best of both worlds, the best technology and also expert analysts to provide a really powerful managed service for our clients.
To actually have a focus in this webinar on social media, I'm just going to take a couple of minutes to explain the sort of focus that we have with our social media monitoring. And we generally fall into two categories, the sort of things that we look for when we're looking for infringers in social media.
The first thing is brand references in profiles, so usernames, user handles. And that's particularly useful for identifying intellectual property abuses, so people having fake profiles, or people who might be referencing a brand in the profile for the sale of counterfeits. And that, by and large, tends to be the majority of our work on social media.
But we also look at brand references in individual postings. This typically tends to be more relevant for identifying customer comment, which we do cover, and I've got some examples in a minute on that.
So here we have a number of examples. The first one is an example of a branded profile that's targeting DHL. Usually, what we find is it has reference to the brand name, in this case DHL. Really the content is obviously quite low quality, and this is often what we find. So they've cropped the logo so it doesn't display correctly. They've not used the correct formatting of capitals and lower case. Those are dead giveaways that this isn't an official site. The general impact this sort of site has is it devalues corporate image, and it could also be used for fraudulent purposes. We see a lot of phishing attacks and impersonation and fake profiles targeting consumers in this way.
And here's another example of a branded profile. This one's being used for e-commerce and for the sale of counterfeit goods. What we see here is there's a heavy use of branding, lots of use of the logo, use of terms which are usually dead giveaways, like "cheap," "discount," "sale," and "replica." There's a couple of characteristics of these sort of sites. Sometimes we see them operating through the e-commerce facilities within a social media site, and sometimes they will have links to maybe websites and other communication medium outside of the social media channel. But generally, this sort of thing is very important to capture and take down if you happen to be a brand such as the brand that we're showing here in this particular picture.
So, as I mentioned, we also do pick up, on behalf of many of our clients, people making comments about a particular brand. And here's an example of where you've got the use of a brand in a negative way. And so it's important, when you're taking action against this sort of site, to be very careful that you don't inflame an already delicate situation. We can certainly find these, and then often it still needs to be carefully considered by the brand targeted in order to assess what action to take.
Parody on social media sites is generally allowed, so if somebody is parodying your logo. But use of a logo to create sort of a sense that they might be affiliated or a part of your organization is not allowed.
So we talked earlier about executive impersonations. And here's an example of somebody who, unfortunately, is subject to quite a lot of executive impersonations, linked, again unfortunately, to scam charity organizations that are designed to trick consumers out of money. And unfortunately, many consumers do fall foul of these kind of impersonations, so it's really important that they're captured and taken down before damage is done.
And usually what you find is you've got, so in this case, this uses Richardbraso2 rather than Richard Branson because that's the handle, and it's in such small type underneath the main sort of Richard Branson. Some people, if they didn't look carefully enough, they might fall for this. It features a lot pictures and official-looking branding, and it's really damaging to the brand's reputation and the reputation of the senior leadership. So we find an increasing focus on this, and I'm sure you may well be also finding an increasing focus on executive impersonations on social media.
So taking a look at the technical setup for monitoring social media now. Typically, we use a range of techniques, but importantly sort of content and context matching as well. If you have a particularly generic brand name, this is really important. So if you're having a brand name like, for instance, Shell, you'll want to make sure that there's a very low rate of false positives through matching the content there's only things to do with the oil and gas industry that's important to you.
And we have various difference scoring mechanisms and ways of prioritizing results. Typically, on social media, it's useful to sort results by the number of followers, the number of likes, etc. because that then allows you to focus on, perhaps, the infringers that are having the biggest impacts and have the widest audience.
We would also sort of suggest you consider monitoring any or all of the following sites. These are some of the most popular and most common platforms on social media that we find infringers using. It's not an exclusive list, and we do have flexibility in the different sites that we typically monitor. But if you're not monitoring social media, we would suggest you certainly consider some or all of these sites.
So what you may not be aware of is that, in fact, likes can be purchased and followers can be purchased, especially on the next slide. So for about 100,000 Facebook likes, it will typically set you back several thousand dollars, $3,000. For a counterfeiter, that's not too bad if it gives them the impression of being a very legitimate profile. And what we tend to watch for at CSC is if we see a huge increase in likes over a short space of time, like, for instance, a day or two, then we are usually pretty sure that there is a counterfeiter in operation because no one could legitimately grow that many likes in that short space of time, unless they happen to be sort of a top list celebrity.
So, as I mentioned, you can also purchase Twitter followers, and, in fact, it's a lot cheaper to do that than to buy Facebook likes. So for 25,000 Twitter followers, it's typically about $90 and for 50,000 Twitter followers $150.
So, as a I mentioned a few slides ago, one of the things that we recommend and that we do at CSC is cluster results together, which is really helpful in pinpointing the worst bad actors and also helping us to trace to where there might have a physical location so that further action can potentially be taken. And what we do is we use email addresses, telephone numbers, user names, links to other websites or other social media profiles, even dark websites in that clustering process to trace through to the really interesting information.
So the whole area of clustering is an area that CSC is focusing on from an investment point of view. We've got some new technology that we're rolling out within our online portal. And this is helping to visually represent the clusters, as you see here on the screen, and how infringers could be linked between a number of different sites and linked together through email address or number, etc.
So here's a case study of how we actually traced an infringing seller from initial point, which is a website, through to their physical location. So this is the physical location we ended up finding the infringer on. The starting point was a website offering diagnostic software. And we started off by finding associated websites, social media pages. These didn't lead anywhere, but they were useful additional evidence.
What we did find was quite useful and led to us following the trail through was some historical cached whois details. So, as many of you know, whois information, domain name, website registration is somewhat limited these days post-GDPR. However, we still find that cached and archived whois details are a rich source of information. In this case, we had a Gmail address, which we then used as a search source to find that that person had posted on forums and other social media sites with different locations, not all of them legitimate. Some of them were fake.
We did find that their email address was then linked to other social media user aliases and telephone numbers, and one of those aliases and telephone numbers actually linked to a location and a name, and that's how we managed to pinpoint a particular person to, in this case, a location in UK.
We have other cases of investigation where we started from sellers on marketplaces and traced people through to China. It's not always a 100% guarantee you can end up with a physical location. Sometimes you might end up with two or three candidates, and it's difficult to tell which one is the real one. Sometimes a trail might go cold halfway through.
But just to give you an idea, for one of our clients, we did 30 investigations for that particular client over a year. Seven of them led to successful raids and seizures. So it is possible to have a reasonable amount of success. And to be able to do a raid and a seizure, in some cases is a very strong deterrent to the counterfeiters and infringers.
So just changing focus slightly from social media to marketplaces now. One of the things that we often get asked by clients is: Which marketplaces should we monitor? Which ones do you recommend, CSC? And we would recommend to consider three things when choosing sort of a focus group of marketplaces to monitor for infringements.
Firstly, consider which sellers or marketplaces are targeting your brand the most. So, typically, what we do is a mini audit for a client, which shows how many offers there are on each of the different marketplaces for a particular branded product. And if there's large spikes, for instance, on Indonesia marketplaces, then we'd recommend that Shopee and Tokopedia and other sites such as that would be a focus.
The other thing that we often recommend is look at which marketplaces have the highest visitor traffic, because that's where you'll find a lot of your consumers perhaps going, and it's no surprise that it's sites like Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Taobao, etc. So these should also be a sort of priority consideration.
The third thing to consider, when deciding which marketplaces to have as a focus, is what regions to focus in because, typically, you might have a manufacturing location where maybe they're seeing counterfeiting going on alongside your legitimate factories. You might find that you have particular sales regions where you need to make sure that the marketplaces in those regions are clean as possible.
So these are some of the regional marketplaces that we would recommend you consider, and also we're seeing emerging sort of hotspots in places like, for instance, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. So there's increasing amounts of counterfeiting going on on Shopee, Lazada, Tokopedia, Bukalapak. So seriously consider monitoring these sites, especially if you're a fashion luxury group, a luxury brand, footwear brand. Pinduoduo is the latest marketplace to pop up in the Chinese region. It's a sort of hybrid, sort of app trade marketplace, and we'd also strongly recommend you monitor that one. In Russia, these are some of the sites you should think about, and in South America, some sites are over here.
So as well as focusing on specific marketplaces to create a strong enforcement message to the infringers as possible, we also strongly recommend that you focus on specific sellers and hit them hard, perhaps by grouping all of their offers together and taking them all down in one go.
Or perhaps being a bit more strategic. This is a sort of top tip really. Many marketplaces have seller suspension programs, and we look to leverage those wherever possible, and we recommend that you do as well. So, for instance, in this case, the top seller here has 84 listings. We would recommend maybe sending one takedown to the marketplace, waiting a few days, sending a second takedown, second listing, and then sending the other 82 in a third batch. And in that way, there's a good chance that that seller should be suspended from that particular marketplace. It's not always 100% guaranteed. And the reason why we don't just send three equal batches of takedowns is because you don't want to alert the seller that you're about to do a sort of three strikes and you're out takedown, and you want to try and stay under the radar as much as possible.
So, on the last slide, you saw how the CSC technology will group together the sellers by their overall activity, group together the marketplaces by the number of seller's offers on those marketplaces. And if you simply click through on a particular seller name, you'll see, as you see in this slide here, all of those seller's offers. So it's actually really easy to be able to sort of review quickly those seller's offers. Perhaps if you look at the first few and clearly they look like there's a pattern of counterfeiting or trademark infringement, you can simply select all for enforcement or select them in batches as we mentioned earlier.
So over the last two slides we've been focusing on technology aspects of the service. I'm now going to shift gears and focus on the human aspects, ensuring that you have the most efficient and effective service through strong relationships with intermediaries and how an expert analyst or human aspects can really help a service deliver results.
So, as promised, there's a number of tips on takedowns focusing on social media sites here, but perhaps you can take away to use in your own environments, in your own brands.
So looking at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they all follow a similar pattern where they have enforcement options for copyright, for trademark, and sometimes, as in Twitter, they have a specific form for counterfeit. In the case of Facebook and Instagram, you need to use either trademark or other if you have a counterfeit takedown. And for some of the sites, like, for instance, Facebook, you need to wait for a bounce back email, if you've got a counterfeit takedown, and then confirm that that's the way you'd like to proceed.
So there's a few things that you need to be aware of. Now, we've got some reporting links here that you'll see in the slides, which we can share with you afterwards. So, typically, the way it works is that you need to fill in a form on the reporting link. You can submit several pages at once. So you can do bulk takedowns if you want to. I think there's a limit to about 100. I'm not 100% sure.
But ideally, if you're doing a takedown on Facebook, you need the trademark for the country where the infringer is located. Many people don't realize this. And so if you had, for instance, an infringer in Indonesia and you wanted to take that down on Facebook, you would need an Indonesian trademark. There are ways around it, which we've got around for clients in the past, but ideally it's important to have the trademark in the infringer's location.
And so these are all the forms, and we'll look at some of the other sites in a minute.
A couple of sites that you might be less familiar with are Vk.com based in Russia and WeChat based in China. So Vk doesn't have a web form like we saw with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You need to send an email, and you also need a trademark which covers Russia, but isn't necessarily registered in Russia, which is good news I think for probably many of you that may not necessarily have the trademark registered in Russia. You can enforce on copyright, trademark, or counterfeit. So that's Vk.com.
WeChat is somewhat more complex. So for WeChat, we do have a translated version of their Chinese guide to official enforcement, which we're happy to share with you if you'd like to request a copy. But essentially, for WeChat, it's possible to get high levels of compliance. We typically get very high compliance and reasonably fast turnarounds for WeChat enforcement. But you do need a Chinese-registered trademark. That's a must. You also need the documents, including a letter of authorization for us to act on your behalf, to be notarized and then verified by the Embassy of China. It's preferable to have your office address in China, if available. So as much Chinese sort of flavor in terms of enforcement will help. It will go an awful long way.
So WeChat are actually a CSC client. And so we're currently working building a stronger technical integration with WeChat. But you'll see in the next slide the sort of takedown times and compliance rates you can expect on WeChat.
So many of our clients and other brand owners ask us: What are the sort of takedown times that you can expect in trying to remove an infringement from a social media site, and what sort of success rates can be typically achieved? And so we find that a lot of brands are surprised when we show these takedown times and success rates to them. These are the average rates that CSC achieves on behalf of all of its clients across all industries.
So for Facebook and Instagram, it's typically 1 to 2 days, with very high success rate, 95% to 98% success rate. Twitter takes a bit longer. YouTube as well. Interestingly, WeChat, it typically takes about 5 to 10 days, which is actually quite quick for WeChat. We know many people who struggle to get anywhere near that kind of speed of takedown with WeChat. We're currently reaching a success rate of 99% with WeChat. So we're getting a very good compliant to our takedown requests.
So, hopefully, with some of the tips we've been talking about today, you can achieve these sorts of success rates as well. You might need to give it a little time to build up that sort of trust relationship, but just sort of give you that as an idea of what you could potentially achieve.
So we're now at the last section, where we're going to look at some case studies and how you can use all enforcement options or a variety of different enforcement options for maximum impact when it comes to taking down infringements.
And before we start looking at the case studies, here are some wise words from the head of the UK Anti-counterfeiting Group, Phil Lewis. And he mentioned this at a recent CSC seminar in London. "Knowing what the options are is essential and having a variety of remedies is key." So really it's that having lots of different options to find a way of tackling infringers is a key part of your strategy and of our strategy as well.
So we've got four case studies to share with you. The first case study is on social media, and it's showing you our work with one of our Scandinavian clients based in the fashion industry, where over the period of about two and a half years, we managed to make their brand a much harder target on social media. And you can see the general trend is downwards over those two and a half years. It's slightly bumpy. But when you consider that, over this period of time, the use of social media has expanded massively, what this graph is showing you is that we managed to keep control of the infringement situation on social media for this time in a very good way. And in fact, over the period of time we're looking at, we had an overall success rate for takedowns of 97%, with about 1,500 actions taken over the 2.5 years. So it's possible to have quite high volumes of takedown on social media.
So the second case study is for a luxury brand, and it's a brand we've been working with for many years. And over a period of about five years, we made a reduction in the number of copycat websites popping up. So these are sort of websites like branding the domain name perhaps with outlets of brandoutlet.com or branddiscount.net, those kinds of sites with shopping cart, use of logo, selling counterfeit goods.
When we started working with this brands, they were experiencing about 1,500 infringements per year, 1,500 rogue websites, copycat websites. And by the time five years was in, in the service, this was down to about 200. So a very significant reduction. And the reason why we saw such a reduction is because CSC was doing mainly registrar level takedowns. And so it was frustrating the infringers because they'd have to re-register a new domain name because, get it reseeded on Google. It was causing them a lot of frustration and additional cost. So, as we see with many situations, infringers tend to be targeting at least 10, 15, or 20 different brands. And so by making this brand a harder target for the infringers, they focused on other brands.
So this next case study is an interesting case where it was necessary to use a range of different approaches for success in a particular takedown. So, in this case, the infringing domain name used the brand name, and then it used the product name, and it had an extension of .it. It was a website selling counterfeit baby products. And we came into the picture halfway through the enforcement process.
So the client had already detected the website registration through a different process they were using. They had already sent a cease-and-desist letter, but didn't get any reply. Then some of the consumers and their customers were reporting loss of money through fraudulent transactions on this website. Fortunately, nobody has actually received any products, and so nobody would have any sort of potential health risks, but they were still losing money, which is not a good situation to be in.
And so, on the next slide, we'll see how CSC took it to the next stage. So CSC got involved at stage four, and we started to launch some specialist enforcement actions. So we sent a suspension notice to the registrar. We also went out to the ISP to suspend the content. We made law enforcement aware of the situation, especially as consumers were being defrauded of money. And that, unfortunately, at that stage, didn't have any success.
Then we launched a registry level suspension request. So we took it up a level to the registry, out to the IT registry. We had to provide evidence of trademark ownership, proof of fraud, and we actually had quite a bit of work arguing the case with the IT registry. It was numerous follow-ups and a lot of contact backwards and forwards. So it just shows you what's required if you take it up to the registry level.
But, eventually, I'm very pleased to share with you that we had successful suspension of the .it domain at the IT registry level. So it's an example of where we had to escalate it to the registry for success. Sometimes we've even had to escalate to ICANN. So just to make you aware that that is possible and that you can get success and how you might have to use a variety of different approaches.
So the final case study, it focuses on marketplace takedowns or online marketplace seller's offer takedowns. And here what we're looking at again is evidence of the creation of a very strong deterrent effect. Over three years, we saw the number of infringing offers needing to be removed reduced by over 80%. And this is a fashion brand based in the Asia-Pac region. And on the next slide, you'll see the different marketplaces that relate to these figures.
So what we see here is the makeup of the different amounts of takedowns we did per marketplace for that previous case study. And it's interesting to see that there was sort of a strong focus on some of the Chinese marketplaces, which is not unsurprising for a fashion brand. So quite a lot of takedown from AliExpress and DHgate. DHgate, unfortunately, is full of counterfeits. Taobao. There were quite a lot on Mercado Livre Brasil as well, which is quite interesting. And then down other sites that you expect, like Alibaba, Tokopedia in Indonesia, Allegro in Poland. And also Redbubble, we also get asked about Redbubble. Redbubble, it is possible and quite successful to do takedowns on Redbubble.
And so we achieved a strong takedown effect by that seller suspension I mentioned earlier, and for many of these sites, it is possible to create seller suspension. Sites have things like three strikes and you're out rules. It does vary from site to site, and it's not always 100% enforced, but I would recommend you familiarizing yourself with the seller suspension policies of the Alibaba Group of companies, of eBay, Mercado Livre, just to make sure that any enforcement you do you're going to get the maximum return on your enforcement efforts.
In conclusion, I'd just like to leave you with three points for consideration for you to think about after this webinar.
So the first point is, if you're not already aware, the growth of counterfeiting and fraud online is continuing in a very strong way. Although we're seeing most counterfeits still sold via online marketplaces or copycat websites, social media sales of counterfeits are growing at a faster rate. So consider monitoring sites like Instagram, WeChat, and Yupoo, if you're not already doing so, because although the volume is lower, they are growing faster.
Ensure that your social media monitoring includes coverage for executive impersonations, if you're not already doing so. So executive impersonations, we're seeing a big increase in those in the last couple of years. We saw some examples earlier. And monitor the major social media sites for impersonations and also branded profiles, particularly those that might be selling counterfeits. And as we saw, that kind of counterfeit trade can involve taking people off to websites which might be linked from a social media profile or WeChat or WhatsApp numbers.
And lastly, make sure you're aware of all the different enforcement options that we saw in section two. Make sure you've got a variety of different remedies so you can have most effective and efficient way of taking down a particular infringement. And also we'd strongly recommend bulk takedown wherever possible.