The US Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (The Golf Group) today released the results of the first year of the group's Online Monitoring Program, which was launched in June of 2016 to crack down on criminals selling counterfeit products on e-commerce websites where both individuals and companies buy and sell products.
As a direct result of the program, 1,920 counterfeit listings were removed on Taobao, a subsidiary of Alibaba, and there was a significant decline in the overall number of counterfeit listings on the site. Counterfeit golf products on online marketplaces like Alibaba, Taobao and eBay have been a recent major point of emphasis for the group as it continues to fight the spread of counterfeit golf products from multiple angles.
"We're proud that our efforts during the first year of the Online Monitoring Program have helped lead to a significant decrease in counterfeit listings on these types of e-commerce websites," said Jud Hawken, Associate General Counsel for PING. "Consumers need to realize the risks involved with all online retailers, and that websites where both individuals and companies buy and sell products pose even greater problems. The best way for consumers to guarantee that they are not purchasing a counterfeit is to buy from an authorized retailer."
"These types of online marketplaces are attractive for counterfeiters because the sellers' identities can remain somewhat hidden and the sites themselves often have counterfeiting policies that aren't iron-clad," said Stephen Gingrich, VP of Global Legal Enforcement for Srixon/Cleveland/XXIO. "We devote resources daily to finding and shutting down counterfeit sellers online so that fake products don't find their way into the hands of golfers. At the same time, we're working diligently with these websites to strengthen their counterfeit policies regardless of industry so that we can fully protect the consumers that buy from them."
The Golf Group has worked with international law enforcement to identify online and brick-and-mortar manufacturers and sellers of counterfeit golf products, seize their inventory and punish when possible. The Group has helped keep millions of counterfeit products out of the marketplace. Last year, the group seized more than 10,000 counterfeit products, primarily in China. The criminals responsible for those counterfeit operations were sentenced to a combined eight years of jail time and ordered to pay fines 810,000 RMB (more than $110,000).
To help consumers learn more about counterfeit products and their inherent risks, The Golf Group posts relevant information on its website: www.keepgolfreal.com. Golfers also have the opportunity to hear directly from the group about counterfeiting, read about raid actions and interact with the group in the fight.
About The US Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group
The Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group consists of six of the most well-known golf companies in the world – Acushnet Company, whose brands are Titleist, FootJoy and Scotty Cameron; Callaway-Odyssey; Srixon, Cleveland Golf and XXIO; PING; PXG and TaylorMade Golf. Formed in 2004, the Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group has supported the efforts of international law enforcement and government agencies to conduct raids and investigations of counterfeit operations, as well as raise public awareness of the issue. Since its inception, the Golf Group's efforts led to the shutdown of more than 1,500 websites and authorities have seized more than two million counterfeit golf products – highlighted by a clustering campaign initiative resulting in the arrest of more than 40 suspects from raids of 21 different locations.
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