Alibaba tightens up procedures on fake product listings

Alibaba logoAlibaba has promised to introduce a fast-track system for taking down listings for goods suspected to be counterfeit on its online marketplaces.

The move comes in the wake of a fresh lawsuit from luxury goods group Kering SA - which owns brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and Puma - which is claiming the Chinese online retailer is not doing enough to curb the sale of fake goods.

Meanwhile, in April, the the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) sent a letter to US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, complaining of "rampant proliferation" of counterfeit goods on Alibaba's platforms.

The new protocol means that brand-owners with a history of reliably spotting fraudulent listings on the Taobao and Tmall websites will have complaints dealt with within one to three working days, whereas before Alibaba pledged to take action within five to seven days.

In addition, a dedicated Alibaba staff member would be put in charge of handling all complaints from a brand-owner, giving them a single point of contact within the Chinese company's brand protection division.

The 'good-faith takedown' programme got underway in April, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which notes Alibaba is not revealing how many companies have signed up to the agreement.

The Chinese company claims to have a 2,000-strong team devoted to counterfeit listing takedowns - with more hires planned - as well as data mining technology and a system of random checks to identify fraudsters.

Alibaba recently announced its intention to roll out smart labels - that can be applied to goods sold by vendors on its platforms and verified by purchasers. Somewhat controversially, it has also implemented a programme that aims to divert Chinese manufactuers involved in counterfeit production towards the development of home-grown brands.

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