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Up to two-thirds of results returned by search engines, such as Google, lead consumers to websites that sell fake or possibly dangerous goods, according to a new report.
The report, released today, October 21 by brand protection technology company Incopro researched specific products in five industries: pharmaceuticals, car parts, children’s products, safety equipment and white-label goods.
The search engines used in the study were Google, Baidu, Bing and Yandex.
According to the release, Incopro also presented its findings to Google, which said it did not “at this time de-index URLs or websites from its web search index on trademark grounds upon request.”
Incopro said its findings show that more than 92% of global web traffic goes through Google.
In response, Google said it would “evaluate court orders issued against third parties and, where appropriate (with content specifically identified), voluntarily remove content from web search results”.
In pharmaceutical, six in ten of Google’s first-page results for the antibiotic Bactrim (co-trimoxazole) were for locations “very likely” to be operating unlawfully, the report said.
In the children’s products category, a third of search results for a ‘Comotomo teether” featured potentially harmful products. Additionally, a search for refrigerator filters repeatedly directed consumers towards a website selling counterfeit goods.
Incopro is calling for search engines to work more closely with IP owners and brands to remove infringing websites from the results they present to consumers.
“Without cooperation from the search engines, Incopro believes new legislation is required to force them to act,” the release said.
Simon Baggs, co-founder and CEO at Incopro, said: “It is high time search engines played their part in putting a stop to the fakers, rather than encouraging them to proliferate through inaction.”
TBO has contacted Google for comment.
Incopro, brand protection, search engines, counterfeiting, pharmaceuticals, car parts, children’s products, online shopping, trademark