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Google Tries to Reassure Brand Owners With New Anti-Counterfeiting Measures

Counterfeiters seem to love Google AdWords — the company shut down 50,000 AdWords accounts selling counterfeit goods in the last six months of 2010 alone. But some counterfeiters are still on the loose, raising the ire of Google’s advertisers who are selling legitimate versions of the same products.

In response to the problem, Google has announced three new measures designed to improve its relationships with brand owners.

It has pledged to investigate new complaints from reliable brand owners within 24 hours, step up reviews of AdWords creative to find counterfeiters, and introduced a new help center page for the reporting of counterfeits.

“These steps are our ways of facilitating co-operation with brand owners, which is absolutely essential in tackling the sale of counterfeits online,”Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel at Google, wrote in a blog post. “AdWords is just a conduit between advertisers and consumers and we can’t know whether any particular item out of the millions advertised is counterfeit or not.”

The complaints will be used not only to weed out offenders one by one, but also to tune Google’s automated system of reviewing AdWords ads and accounts for signs of counterfeiting. The company is trying to assure brand owners that it is taking appropriate measures on multiple fronts.

Google says it invested more than $60 million in anti-counterfeit measures in 2010. More than 95% of accounts removed for counterfeits last year were due to Google’s own detection efforts, rather than in response to complaints, the company said.

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