Alibaba’s U.S. Notorious Market Public Condemnation Well Deserved
E-commerce giant likely the greatest proliferator of fake goods.
March 9, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – The Office of the United States Trade Representative publicly condemned Alibaba, adding the e-commerce giant (again) to the U.S. Notorious Markets List – reserved for the world’s most notorious markets for counterfeit goods. The action is well deserved.
Alibaba, appropriately named after the fable “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves,” dismissed the embarrassing disapproval and setback for CEO Jack Ma as influenced by the current political climate. But it’s hard to reconcile that excuse with Alibaba’s actions at the direction of Jack Ma.
Ma wants China’s top lawmakers to come down hard on counterfeiting, and jail time for those who sell them.
In June, 2016 CEO Jack Ma publicly proclaimed “The problem is that the fake products today, they make better quality, better prices than the real products, the real names.”
In October 2016, Alibaba claimed it tightened policies against copyright infringement and made it easier for brands to request fakes be removed. However rights owners are even more challenged in removing and preventing counterfeit goods from the website.
In October 2016, Alibaba claimed it tightened policies against copyright infringement, touting that it took down 380 million product listings and closed about 180,000 stores, just on its Taobao.com subsidiary in the previous 12 months
Inexplicably, Alibaba, a billion dollar company, does not even have telephone customer or intellectual property infringement support. Calls to U.S. Corporate Headquarters (408) 785-5580 go unanswered, and there is no response to messages left.
Alibaba states “it’s a brand’s responsibility to protect its own brand.” Yet, in contrast to its claim, Alibaba says it needs to investigate complaints of infringement, an enormous and implausible task that may take weeks, considering the 100,000 brands and millions of trademarked items offered on the website.
All sorts of dirty things are involved in counterfeiting; terrorism, child labor exploitation, kidnapping, money laundering and organized crime. China is the undisputed nexus of worldwide counterfeiting, producing about 90% of fake goods which are then easily marketed on e-commerce websites; Alibaba (BABA), eBay (EBAY), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and others.
Yet, in Alibaba’s Intellectual Property Protection (IPP) splash screen post, spokesperson Michael Evans attempts to refute counterfeit allegations claiming “The persistence of some level of counterfeit listings on a platform the scale of Alibaba despite our massive efforts is not evidence of insincerity, bad faith, a lack of adequate expenditure. We are not claiming perfection, but we are claiming progress, along with an unwavering commitment to continue this fight by partnering across industries and borders with others to solve this global problem.”
Actions speak louder than words.
Jack Ma, China’s bad-boy of counterfeits, can adopt real and effective solutions in clear, truthful and professional manner to end the counterfeiting problem he enables.
Will he, or just continue as being known as the go-to sites for fakes?