As we have discussed, work-from-home scams are on the rise, with bad actors hiding behind known and trusted brand names as well as fake social media accounts to perpetrate their crimes. In today’s digital age, brands need to remain hyper-vigilant when it comes to how their intellectual property is being used online and by whom, and not just when it comes to work-from-home scams.
Across the board, brand abuse is on the rise. In a blog we posted earlier this year, we examined domain enforcement activity from a sample of our clients. In doing so, we found that, on average, monthly enforcement activity has increased by 100% in the last year. This rise in abuse is a result of tech-savvy bad actors embracing the same modern marketing techniques brands use to promote their illicit activities. These highly organized bad actors infringe upon the trademarks, brand names, hashtags, slogans, and even web page text used by the brands they target. They build sophisticated websites and apps, registered related URLs, social profiles, and pages to promote themselves. And in the case of counterfeit and grey-market goods, they created seller profiles and marketplace listings that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
These systemic abuse networks are insidious and widespread. Over 25% of abuse can be traced back to a systemic abuse network with app and domain nodes as the most likely connection points. Our research found that 47% of confirmed abusive apps have related nodes and 27% of abusive domain names are related to other abuse.
So what does this mean for brands who are looking to keep both their intellectual property and their consumers safe? Traditional brand protection methods can help identify individual instances of brand abuse, but it often misses the interconnected threads that pull together an entire network of related abuse. While the brand protection professionals who use these legacy technologies can pursue enforcement for the individual enforcement issues, also called nodes, they are unable to identify related abuse, leaving large swaths of criminal operations in place, continuing to profit. In other words, as brandholders using legacy technologies take down a single abusive node, new nodes appear to take their place, creating a never-ending whack-a-mole scenario.
To solve this problem, we utilize our patented technology, Appdetex Tracer ®. This investigative technology uses advanced crawling, scraping, and automated analytics tools to find the unseen digital links between sites, ads, listings, social networking handles, and apps used by these sophisticated networks of bad actors. These links, or Traces, can be as simple as publicly available domain registration data or as subtle as the security, customer service, or marketing and customer service technology providing the criminal network’s infrastructure.
Traces link the individual elements of a brand abuse gambit, whether those elements are a marketplace listing, a website, a social media profile, an ad, or an app. We trace the problem backward, getting to the heart of the network and mapping the true scope of the issue. By taking the core of the network down, all related nodes are effectively shut off as well.
Schedule a demo with us today to learn more about our Tracer® investigative platform and how Appdetex is changing the face of modern brand protection.