A new study by brand protection company, Incopro, has found that up to 60% of results returned by search engines lead consumers to websites that sell fake and possibly dangerous goods.
The study researched specific products in five key industries: pharmaceutical, car parts, children’s products, safety equipment & white goods and revealed several worrying insights, including:
- In pharmaceuticals, six in 10 of Google’s first-page results following searches for the antibiotic Bactrim were for locations very likely to be operating unlawfully;
- In the children’s products category, a third of search results for a “Comotomo teether” featured potentially harmful products;
- In the white goods sector, a search for refrigerator filters repeatedly directed consumers towards a website selling counterfeit goods.
“Consumers are at risk of buying counterfeit and possibly harmful products, as a result of clicking through results generated by search engines they trust,” Simon Baggs, co-founder and CEO at Incopro, said.
“At best, these products will be poor quality or below-standard; at worst, they put consumers at risk of harm, particularly when buying pharmaceuticals or safety goods. It is high time search engines played their part in putting a stop to the fakers, rather than encouraging them to proliferate through inaction.”
When Incopro’s lawyers asked Google to clarify its position on de-indexing websites where trademarks are infringed, the search giant confirmed that it did not “at this time de-index URLs or websites from its Web Search index on trademark grounds upon request.”
In response to Incopro’s findings it promised only to “evaluate court orders issued against third parties and, where appropriate (with content specifically identified), voluntarily remove content from our Web Search results.”
Google also warned it would continue to “seek relief from orders against it.” This means rights holders have to go through legal channels to protect their rights and consumer safety, a process that is slow, expensive and not scalable.
There is a loophole in the law which means that search engines are not obliged to remove links that lead to platforms displaying items that infringe intellectual property rights or trademarks, essentially websites selling fake goods.
Incopro is calling for search engines to work more closely with intellectual property 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. Other tech giants, such as Amazon and Facebook are already covered by such laws, but these do not extend to search engines.
LA Alcohol Delivery Sees Massive Spike Following “Safer at Home” Order
LOS ANGELES — Following California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Safer at Home” order, Saucey has experienced an unprecedented number of users on their alcohol delivery platform.
The company has seen a 300% increase in area sales compared to a standard delivery day.
“As the concern over the COVID-19 virus has grown at both the state and public levels, I think you’re not so coincidentally seeing a rise in people ordering alcohol,” says Saucey co-founder and CEO Chris Vaughn. “We’re feeling the effects elsewhere too, like San Francisco and Chicago; we’re doing our best to assist everyone who wants to use us and use us safely.”
The Los Angeles-based app recognizes they are among select delivery services fortunate enough to be helping people in a variety of markets as they practice social distancing and protect themselves from the rapidly spreading Coronavirus.
“It’s good to see so many people making lifestyle adjustments that let them be as comfortable as they can be during this time,” Vaughn said.
There may be something to that comfort thing. Since March 15, Saucey has seen ice cream sales spike by 500% and soft drinks by 150%. Lime sales also spiked by 350%, potentially pointing to more people making mixed drinks.
As for the alcohol, vodka tops Saucey’s spirit sales and is up by 250%. Whiskey, however, saw the greatest spike at 300%. IPAs held the highest increase in sales in their beer category at 300%.
Saucey will continue providing safe deliveries to the people of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Orange County and San Jose.
Costco Says Don’t Even Think of Returning Toilet Paper
(TMZ) — Costco is unsympathetic to all the folks who stocked up on toilet paper like they were never gonna get another sheet … because the superstore has made it clear — NO REFUNDS!!!
This sign was plastered on the wall of the Costco in Pentagon City outside Washington, D.C. Now that people have settled in, it seems they’re realizing they have waaaaaay too much toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wipes and Lysol, and apparently some are trying to return it for cash.
You gotta be a little sympathetic … lots of people got laid off after they hoarded these items, so money is a huge issue.
Also on the no-return list — Water and rice.
Drives Aim to Keep Historic Restaurants Alive During Outbreak
LOS ANGELES (Daily News) — With restaurants limited to takeout service or shut down completely by the coronavirus outbreak, a drive has been launched to keep some of Los Angeles’ legendary eateries from fading away.
Known as 1933 Group, the team operates about a dozen themed bars and restaurants in Los Angeles, including the barrel-shaped bar Idle Hour in North Hollywood, Harlowe in West Hollywood, Highland Park Bowl and the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood.
Many of them have shuttered in recent days amid strict orders implemented by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti, aiming to stem the flow of deadly COVID-19.
“We are struggling to survive,” said Dimitri Komarov, the venues’ co-owner. “The impact is dire. We’re losing our […]
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This Just In…
- Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail
- RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic
- Koretz Won’t Back ‘Uplift Melrose’ Plan
- Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset
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