Google: A Gateway For Criminals?

March 5, 2011 § 3 Comments

This week we came across several articles and Facebook posts from our followers about online advertisements promoting counterfeit products. The problem with these advertisements, beside the fact that they promote counterfeits, is that they are not monitored or regulated. A recent article cited Rosetta Stone, the language instruction software company, demanding that Google be held liable for presenting paid search ads that link to counterfeit sites. Rosetta Stone has had problems with those specific ads using their trademarked name “Rosetta Stone” and linking to a site selling counterfeit software.

Below is an example of an ad recently shared with us by one of our Facebook fans. When the advertisement is clicked, it brings you to the obviously fake site selling discount designer products.

The main question is, should search engines like Google be responsible and held liable for paid search ads on their site? We asked our Facebook and Twitter fans:

  • “If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. Perpetuating the advert of such sites = enabling the practice”
  • “They need to check out everyone they allow to advertise. Called quality control. Everyone pitch in!”
  • “Tricky.”
  • “Yes, Google and Facebook should both be held liable.”

Many brands are struggling with counterfeiters using their trademarked brand name or logo in their online advertisements to lure in consumers. This is a trademark infringement and something companies like Rosetta Stone are taking up with the government. Senator Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy prepares to reintroduce the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act and I am sure many brands will be interested in amending that bill to include liability of search engines.


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§ 3 Responses to Google: A Gateway For Criminals?

  • fashionelle says:

    pardon me for my ignorance, but is it possible to be arrested for counterfeit? I’m just doing a post on my blog: about counterfeit products and I want to give my readers the correct information. Anyway, awesome post. I totally agree, fakes are never in fashion

  • Sharon says:

    I once had Google ads down the side of my blog. I removed the majority of them for a few reasons but, one of the reasons were the ads for $149 designer heels. I wrote a post telling readers that those ads were for fake designer goods and to ignore them. But, I knew that wasn’t good enough.
    I find those ads so appalling. Not just because of the fake goods but, because of the images in my head. I think of the children being forced to work.

    I agree, Google and Facebook should have to pay strict attention to the ads that they accept.

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