BrandSecurity discovers CPA counterfeit network

Hundreds of sites are now selling thousands of counterfeit gadgets and users risk not only getting low quality goods, but also completely losing their money.

BrandSecurity analysts have discovered more than a hundred sites designed to sell counterfeit gadgets of world-known brands, such as smartphones and smart watches from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, JBL etc. To promote fraudulent stores the CPA advertising model is used (Cost Per Action - payment for action). This approach, allows website owners to receive payments for users' conversion activities, ranging from visiting certain pages to making orders.

This scheme provides site owners with ample opportunities to earn money selling counterfeit products. Counterfeiters are actively cooperating with webmasters, specializing in the CPA model. This encourages the latter to create a large number of identical one pagers, customized to sell a specific gadget and then to attract traffic via fraudulent offers.
For example, the screenshot below shows that on one of these sites a Huawei smartphone is sold for 9,990 roubles - on 'Yandex Market" the original phone in a similar package costs more than 30,000 rubles. Marketing techniques that limit the duration of the special offer to 3 days are also used. However, there are actually no limits and the crossed-out higher price is still 10,000 roubles lower than the real price of the gadget.

A wide range of sites are dedicated to selling counterfeit loudspeakers under the JBL brand. The same marketing strategies, with crossed-out prices, are also used here. In this case, a loudspeaker, where the original is priced at 7,000 roubles on 'Yandex Market', sells at a discount of 2,990 roubles. This cannot be true.

This promotion method is not new — a similar approach to distribution is used by the sellers of other counterfeit goods, such as elite watches or bags of well-known brands.

The use of the CPA model to promote counterfeit gadgets creates a significant number of problems. End users risk not only getting a poor quality product without a factory warranty, but also becoming a victim of stealing. No one guarantees that the goods are actually received (with non-cash payment), and the payment data may then be transferred to third parties who steal money from accounts. In addition to direct financial losses, brands in their turn bear a loss of reputation because many users do not understand that they are buying copies of products of well-known companies.

Having learned about the existence of more than a hundred sites, selling counterfeit gadgets of famous brands, we have sent notifications both to the vendors' headquarters and to their Russian representation offices. The rights' holders should take action to solve the problem themselves. For our part, we recommend our services to actively fight such vendors and sites, which will allow the detected violations to be resolved in a short period of time. This will, in turn, any damage to the reputation and finances of the brands
Ruslan Krivulin, CEO of BrandSecurity
BrandSecurity analysts can use search engines and algorithms to detect cases of misuse of a brand on the Internet before they become endemic. This allows us to limit the damage to the rights' holder at an early stage.
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