Oh what fun it is to… take down scammers!
Deb McClain's TackyUglyChristmas sweaters are certainly worthy of imitation… which can be flattering when admirers copy, paste and share product images for giggles.
But that activity turns criminal when scammers scrape those promotional pics (and product reviews!), then re-post them on other online marketplaces – and funnel funds from unsuspecting buyers to the scammers' bank accounts. Those consumers either receive a grossly inferior product, or never receive the product at all, prompting demand for refunds and poor reviews of the authentic seller. The original creators lose credibility, revenue and time in pursuing the scammers. Seller complaints to ecommerce sites and search platforms often fall on deaf ears, because "takedowns" could deeply disrupt their revenue stream: those platforms thrive primarily on transaction fees (legitimate or not).
One of the many products from TackyUglyChristmas that were stolen and reposted on scam websites.
A tech company in Corning, New York has all but gift-wrapped a solution for authentic sellers who have been victimized by that specific sort of scam.
Qti.ai stepped in to help Deb McClain by scanning the web for her TackyUglyChristmas sweaters on ecommerce sites. In the first 30 days, Qti.ai submitted 75 removal requests; 67 of those images and websites were removed.
"That's an impressive success rate," noted Qti.ai's Chief Strategist Cheryl Darrup. "Our algorithms produce robust results, and we've been working hard to build rapport with fraud departments across the ecommerce space, to expedite our takedown requests."
"Qti found my product images on sites I didn't even know existed," McCain said. "I wasn't aware that my Heat Miser was stolen; that picture was from about four years ago. I'm not surprised, though: These scams are like whack-a-mole: Whenever you take one down, another two or three seem to pop up."
"Brand protection is an ongoing challenge," Darrup admitted. "Fraudsters are always finding new ways to hustle the system. We need to constantly improve to stay at least one step ahead. Qti.ai looks forward to the challenge."
Join us in our fight against fraud!
- Consumers: Before buying online, enter a shop's URL into Qti.ai's Scam Intelligence Engine that detects the legitimacy of ecommerce sites: Qti.ai/scami (There is no charge for this service.)
- Small businesses: Inquire about our Brand Protection services at Qti.ai/scami/inquiry
Stay tuned to Qti.ai and our social media outlets for all of our latest developments in improving the integrity of ecommerce. Contact cheryl@Qti.ai to discuss ways to work together.