Randy Pickard made a guest post on Search Engine Land that took a look at all the counterfeiters buying ads on Google that trick consumers into buying knock off goods.
The article looked at a few categories, one being prom dresses.
From the article:
Among the websites buying AdWords sponsored ads for [prom dress] related terms, approximately half of these websites are filled with copyright-infringing photos of designer dresses.
The prom and special-occasion dress product categories are target rich for counterfeiters. A common occurrence is for a teenage girl to come into a boutique, look at a designer dress, and then “showroom” the boutique by searching on Google. There, they discover links to offshore online stores with photos of (what appears to be) the exact same dress — selling for less than half the price.
Of course, the result of buying a cheap prom dress from an offshore retailer is fairly similar to that of buying a “rolex” from a New York street peddler. When the dress arrives (if it does arrive), there are lots of tears flowing from the naive teenager buyer who wanted a special dress for her special night.
The consequences of counterfeiters utilizing AdWords to rip off naïve buyers is having a ripple effect that is hitting special-occasion dress retailers particularly hard. Google’s lax filtering of counterfeiters victimizes both teenage girls preparing for prom and fashion retailers’ whose businesses are losing hundreds of thousands of sales per year.
Read the full story here
Pickard summed it up asking,
Going back to the original question in this post: Is Google “evil” for not doing a better job filtering out counterfeiters? The search engine giant proved that they have the capability to do so in the case of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Should Google be expected to put a stronger effort into blocking counterfeiters in order to meet the standards set by their code of conduct?
Google actually has a place where you can check on what is being reported as far as copyright takedown requests.
The Google Transparency report shows stats such as the top reported sites The domain names for URLs that were requested to be removed. Each request can specify many URLs and many URLs may have the same domain name.
It also shows the top companies doing the reporting. You can check out the page here