You have probably put a significant amount of time and effort into creating and sustaining your brand; but how much of your work is dedicated towards protecting what you’ve built up to this point? Of course, you have paid all of your taxes and have already dealt with all the necessary bureaucracy, however, assuring that your online presence is safeguarded is a common pitfall.
And that brings us to a modern and efficient option for protecting your brand on the world wide web — web scraping.
Market analysis, product page intelligence and ad testing are all terms that people equate with legal data scraping. Even email security has been a major problem for both companies and individuals in recent years.
Web scraping is a more effective approach that blends advanced data techniques with automation to constantly track a brand’s web presence. So why should you integrate web scraping into your business strategy?
Several labels have clones that resell their goods or simply defraud customers. These very clones may have a negative effect on your company’s reputation, causing you to lose your target audience’s loyalty and confidence. This practice goes by the name of trademark infringement.
So just how many faces does trademark infringement have?
I’m here today to teach you about how to stop any potential scammer in their tracks and have them meet their Waterloo. Starting off with the most popular form of thievery: counterfeiting.
Everyone and their mother knows of counterfeiting. It’s like ordering take out and telling your guests you cooked it yourself While that isn’t a threat to anyone’s alleged well-being, some other brand taking your product and sticking their own label on it is bound to drive your reputation through the mud. However, the rainbow is of many colours, just like counterfeiting — and that’s why we have the following types:
Knock-off trade — when they didn’t buy your product and resold it without permission, but they put together something awfully similar in their mothers’ basement. Why should you be worried? Because it’s way cheaper, of much worse quality, and, on top of it all — it could be confused with your own brand.
Counterfeit overlords — if knock-offs don’t scare you, these guys really should. Actual counterfeits can afford quality materials (yes, just like your own), release the product into the world by using — you guessed it, your trademark, and end up selling tenfold at a much lower price. You might think they would never be able to pull it off, as they don’t have your business connections, but lo and behold. The grey market is thick, widespread, and surprisingly successful.
Now that we talked about the big heisters, take a breather, watch some cute kittens playing golf, then come back to learn about these other kinds of infringement:
Copyright — this is your intellectual property, your website or the social media presence of your brand. If you take this article, copy-paste it on your own website without asking me for permission and me saying go for it, it’s theft. This is more than a moral issue, as the law can step in and bring justice.
Trademark — eBay and eBuys look the same but are not. eBuys imitates eBay’s logo, and now eBuys is facing a lawsuit. The differences in logos or patterns might be subtle, but that doesn’t make them okay as it deceives the customer.
Patent and Design — if you patented your product and wrote This is my product and mine alone on it as a slogan, some other off-brand copying still belongs to the infringement category.
All of these types of infringement are supposed to be blatant, however they’re not. One cannot possibly be on a constant, tedious lookout for them. This is where web scraping steps in:
How can Web Scraping save the day?
Many consumers rely on online feedback to help them make purchasing choices. If you’re facing the above-mentioned threats, you could be losing clients without even realizing it.
Given the vastness of the Internet, keeping up with bots and negative reviews is overwhelming and almost impossible. Web scraping tools will assist you in parsing large volumes of data from a variety of sources, including forums, blogs, review platforms, and social media accounts. Just add the URLs you want to check to the software, get the data and look for anything that might be cause for concern.
Web scraping itself is sometimes referred to as illegal because it allegedly breaches a website’s copyright. It’s all about the way you choose to use it. If you’re worried you’ll cause problems for any other business, here’s a handy guide to legal and ethical web scraping.
To detect any potential matches with your intellectual property, the scraped data can be linked to huge datasets. Possible misuses of the products and pics can be detected using special text and image recognition tools, such as optical character recognition or logo identification.
Use the web scraper to search marketplaces for related items, by scraping data from a particular product category. Once you’ve collected all of the scraped information, you should use image and text recognition tools to compare the brand properties with possible equivalent matches in the scraped data. You can do this manually, but the whole idea of the article is automation and simplification, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
It’s also wise to use a domain scraper to gather information from other relevant websites where the intellectual property can be used by thieves. Never forget to check social media websites to find fictitious accounts, or search engines to find duplicate pages or paid targeted advertising attempting to outsell your company’s brand webpage.
There’s your easy way out!
We can sit here debating the many ways scammers could breach your brand protection until the cows come home; but what would be the use of that? Thankfully, web scraping is available to each and every one of us — from developers, to business owners and marketers.
At the end of the day, it’s much easier than you might think. Manually checking the web for copycats of your brand is a full-time job, so you can choose to place it in the hands of automation and web scraping.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an easy guide on how to make your very own web scraper in Python.
Stay safe, folks. See you next time!