Google Toughens Stance On Counterfeit Goods

    March 15, 2011

Counterfeit goods tend not to make anyone happy in the long run.  Buyers are frustrated when logos rub off and products fall apart.  Manufacturers don’t like the cheap competition.  And organizations that help connect the two come under fire from both sides.  So today, Google’s taking steps to deal with counterfeiters who use its services.

A Google executive made three promises this morning on the European Public Policy Blog.  First, Kent Walker, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, wrote, “We’ll act on reliable AdWords counterfeit complaints within 24 hours.”  Which is a response time that’s pretty hard to fault.

Next, Walker added, “We will improve our AdSense anti-counterfeit reviews.  We have always prohibited our AdSense partners from placing Google ads on sites that include or link to sales of counterfeit goods.  We will work more closely with brand owners to identify infringers and, when appropriate, expel them from the AdSense programme.”

Finally, the exec announced, “We’ve introduced a new help centre page for reporting counterfeits.”

These moves should improve Google’s reputation in a lot of circles.  They may also save the company time and money; organizations like Hermes, Tiffany, and LVMH have all sued eBay over similar counterfeiting/trademark infringement issues.

That should more than make up for any loss of ad revenue, and investors seem to realize as much.  Google’s stock is down just 1.01 percent right now, versus declines of 1.47 percent and 1.46 percent for the Dow and Nasdaq.