Are manufacturers happy with auction site fakes?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by PrinceMoron, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Legend

    May 1, 2009
    I have been researching fake racquets on the usual auction sites for 4 years.

    I have reported thousands of fake rackets to the auction sites, to the web monitoring companies the brands outsource to like, the licensees - well pretty much anyone you would expect to be interested.

    My conclusion is either they are incompetent or they are happy with the situation, where there is a steady stream of fake racquets on auction sites.

    It is fairly easy to recognise which listed racquets are fake, from the blindingly obvious tells:
    2010 APD GTs with the previous model's insert card
    K90s with 12 oz instead of 12.0 oz
    Vibration dampeners in the wrong location

    Hundreds of listings with photos cut and pasted from Chinese Wholesalers, so familiar that you can recite the web address from memory.

    To be honest it is amazing that people think these rackets could ever be real. The only buyers seem to be desperate Nadal wanabees, customers who will never buy more than one racket, who will never restring and who use a tube of balls that you would not give to your dog. So these buyers are irrelevant, they would never buy a real APD at list price, the market share is not being damaged. Actually they are promoting the brand. Yes great, let's get all these Nadal wannabees on public courts advertising our rackets for free.

    The big plus for the brands of having all these fake rackets on auction sites is that it discourages buyers from sourcing rackets at less than retail price. A serious player who needs 4 frames and regularly upgrades, would really benefit from saving a little off the rrp. But anyone who knows anything about rackets will be very wary of buying from auction sites. Even if the listing photos are of real racquets, the seller could send anything.

    Yes, so it really suits the manufacturers, having so many fakes on the Bay. It squeezes buyers into paying whatever the brands want.

    If I am wrong on this, why are there so many fakes on the auction sites? They are unmissable, so obvious. Out of all the hundreds and hundreds of fake rackets I have reported to the companies the brands outsource webmonitoring to, I have had a very small number of replies stating the listings have been removed, and when I look at the listings themselves, only a small proportion have been removed. I have been told that some listings are allowed to run so the parallel import routes and suppliers can be traced, but I could tell you who the major wholesalers and manufacturers are without any trouble.

    The choices are

    • Manufacturers are
    • totally incompetent-if I can tell what is fake then they have no excuse
    • have lost the battle against an unstoppable tide of fakes
    • are happy to leave auction sites riddled with fake racquests, to herd buyers into buying at full list price
    • don't think it is worth their while catching a few small time sellers of fakes

    I suspect we are being royally scr*w*d.
  2. stufflebean

    stufflebean Rookie

    Feb 17, 2010
    Bay Area
    I would propose another option: They are well aware of the situation, and might try to go after the bigger fish, but are unable to exercise their intellectual property (IP) rights in places like China, where many of these fakes are made. Technology manufacturers have been fighting the same battle for years. Especially in some Asian markets, it's trivial to buy an iPhone knockoff or the like, but you can even find them on the Bay (for example).

    Additionally, I think the notion that they intentionally let these knockoffs exist while they could easily stop them (or that they're 'scr*wing' us) is a bit paranoid. All companies value their IP, and letting their image be diluted doesn't benefit them at all (e.g., someone buys a knockoff, it breaks, they blame Babolat for crappy quality control and tell all of their friends to buy Wilson). In addition, it is possible to lose rights to your IP by not actively defending it (which is a large part of the reason Apple would be Johnny-on-the-spot with a cease and desist if I were to release an 'iPod' tomorrow), so not attempting any enforcement could severely damage the company.

    I guess you could call this an "unstoppable tide of fakes," but I would be very hesitant to attribute any evil intentions to the racquet manufacturers. The internet makes many types of enforcement extremely difficult.

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