Brand Protection
Intellectual Property

Wall Street Journal Highlights MarqVision’s Role in Combating Impersonators Devastating Small Businesses

Website impersonation

Small businesses are having their identities ripped off more than ever before, and it’s threatening their very survival. 

Infringing IP has long been associated with counterfeiters selling cheap, knock-off versions of the most popular global brands.. But this has been changing steadily over recent years. 

Now, smaller businesses are looking like more promising targets for scammers. Their experience was recently brought to public attention with an article published by Wall Street Journal, which mentioned how MarqVision helped a victim of one of these scams: Darn Tough Vermont, a brand that’s been gaining a loyal following because of their high quality merino socks, which also comes with a lifetime guarantee.   

While Darn Tough is in a much stronger position now, there are countless other small brands left unprotected, and possibly the next target in impersonators’ crosshairs. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why small businesses are the new big target, the dangers Darn Tough was facing, and how MarqVision is keeping their business protected from here on out.

Why Target Small Businesses?

So, the question remains - why are small businesses now in scammers’ spotlights? Why choose the little guy to target, when larger brands of the world offer a bigger target market, and more possible sales?

Weaker brand protection is easily the biggest driving factor. 

While big companies offer a bigger return on investment for infringers in terms of pure sales, they’ve also spent the past decade or longer taking brand protection seriously. They’re investing properly in automated solutions, they’re staying in the loop of the scammers’ strategies, and they’re taking the fight directly to them with raids, asset claiming, bank account freezes, and direct legal action.

Smaller brands, on the other hand, very often have nothing in place to combat infringements. Which should come as no surprise. After all, what entrepreneurs have brand protection measures in their game plan from day one? 

This is why the responsibility to protect the brand’s IP often falls squarely on the General Counsel of the business, who may understand IP well but not be a seasoned expert in brand protection. 

The Darn Tough Socks Situation

The situation faced by Darn Tough Vermont is a prime example of how small businesses are increasingly targeted by sophisticated infringers. 

Infringers set up a fake website that closely mimicked the legitimate Darn Tough site, complete with stolen branding, images, and text. They even used a deceptive URL to trick unsuspecting customers.

These bad actors aggressively promoted their fake site through digital ads, outbidding the real business. They manipulated old Darn Tough ads to include fake discounts and plastered them across digital platforms. 

To make matters worse, these infringers continually created new websites and accounts. As soon as one fake site was taken down, another would pop up, making enforcement a never-ending, time consuming battle. This relentless cycle overwhelmed Darn Tough, leading to customer confusion and complaints directed at the real company, further damaging their brand reputation.

"Half of my day, five days a week was spent tracking down these websites, taking down these websites", said Ryan Dahlstrom, Global director of digital commerce, highlighting the immense frustration created by the rinsing and repeating of impersonation websites.

How MarqVision Protects Darn Tough

Facing a surge in impersonating websites, Darn Tough turned to MarqVision for a truly impactful solution to the threats to their IP. 

We immediately deployed our AI-driven platform to detect and catalog all instances of impersonating websites targeting Darn Tough. Thanks to our automated system, we efficiently identified these threats and stored detailed evidence directly on Darn Tough's dashboard for review.

A major hurdle Darn Tough was facing was that many of the impersonating sites were only accessible through digital ads. They were unlisted on search engine results pages, and other methods of finding the sites were impossible. 

Luckily, MarqVision excels at finding even the best-hidden infringements online, providing Darn Tough with the knowledge that even the trickiest tactics won’t keep infringements hidden.

Even the rinse-and-repeat strategy now fails to provide infringers with protection. No matter how quickly new sites can pop up, MarqVision detects the infringement and is ready to take action

So, what’s next for Darn Tough? With their IP infringements now handled by MarqVision, the company is free to work on what really matters to them: growing the business and creating high-quality products for their loyal customers.  

To learn how you can protect your business from online scammers, click the link below to schedule a free consultation today. 

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