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How to protect your website from copycats
Brand Protection
3 mins

How to protect your website from copycats

Table of Contents:

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    Protecting your website from copycats and preventing it from getting spoofed is one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses – both big and small. From damaging your business reputation to tricking your customers, bad actors can have several motives to copy your website. But all of them lead to the same conclusion – scammers stealing your identity and assets, leading to your business losing revenue.

    In this article, we discuss:

    • Challenges websites are facing today
    • Impact of fake websites on businesses
    • How to protect your website from getting copied

    Challenges websites are facing

    Spoofing a website is one of the easiest things to do and it doesn’t even require coding or advanced technical knowledge. It is also one of the oldest tricks in the books and the reason scammers continue to use this trick is simply because it works.

    The main methods that scammers use for website spoofing include:

    Domain name squatting

    This method involves registering a domain name that is similar to an existing business name or just registering the same domain name but with a different website extension. 

    For instance, if your website is registered under brandname.com, the scammers may register brandname.co.au or brandname.co.uk, to fool customers into believing they are on the official website. 

    In some cases, scammers hold onto the squatted domain name without impersonating the original website, just to sell it back to the business and make quick profits.

    Typosquatting

    With typosquatting, scammers try to lure in customers that end up mistyping the web address of a business. They register domains that have similar names as some businesses but with a small difference – there is a typo in the domain names. 

    Sometimes the typo is so small that you may not even notice it, especially when you get directed to a website that looks almost identical to the original website in terms of design and content. 

    For instance, scammers could register domain names like amxzon.com or amazxn.com just to confuse website users. 

    URL cloaking 

    URL cloaking involves using specialized scripts to cover up the actual URL and make web users into thinking they are being led to a trusted website. Scammers can then share these cloaked URLs with unsuspecting Internet users to trick them.

    Spoofing is typically done to steal sensitive information. This can be personal data like names, email addresses, and even login credentials. Scammers can also steal the financial information of customers making purchases on the website thinking it’s the original and gain access to credit card details, social security numbers, and bank account numbers. 

    Apart from this, scammers may also use website spoofing to sell counterfeit copies of products. They copy the business’s website design, content, product listings, and even trademarks to mimic the original website and try to sell counterfeits to unknowing customers. 

    Impact of fake websites on businesses

    Brand reputation

    When unaware customers end up buying a counterfeit, assuming they are buying original products, it can severely affect their experience with your brand. The customers will eventually end up blaming your business for the counterfeits and even write bad reviews online, all of which can severely affect your brand reputation.

    Customer trust

    When customers that are genuinely interested in your business end up receiving very low-quality products, it can directly affect how they view your products. Customers that have already been tricked into buying counterfeit products can be unlikely to make another purchase with your brand. 

    Moreover, customers can also share sensitive and personal information on spoofed websites which can lead to them becoming victims of fraud and phishing.

    Revenue

    Every time a counterfeit product is sold, it causes direct sales loss to your business. The problem can get even more complicated as many of the customers purchasing your products may not have the knowledge that they are buying fake products. Spoofed websites lead to reduced traffic to your business website, decreased revenue, and depleted customer loyalty.

    How to protect your website from getting copied

    • Send a cease and desist letter to the site admin as soon as you notice a fake or spoofed website. Inform them that they are infringing on your intellectual property. You can find the information about the site admin or owner through ICANN.
    • Notify the domain registrar that a domain they are hosting is selling counterfeit products and infringing on your IP. If you choose to file a legal case against the site admin, you can also file a case against the domain hosting provider that continued to give the scammers a platform. As a result, when you notify the domain registrars, they are required to respond to you and take an action.
    • Report the website to Google to get it de-indexed and removed from search engine results. But it’s important to note that this will not take down the website completely.
    • Use Red Points software to automatically detect impersonating websites, domains, apps, and accounts and take them down effectively. Red Points uses AI and machine learning algorithms that can filter through thousands of infringements in real-time and get them taken down automatically.

    What’s next

    Protecting your website from copycats is essential if you want to retain your intellectual property and protect your brand reputation. The longer it takes for you to act against website spoofing, the more damage it can have on your revenue.

    See how you can automatically find and remove spoofing sites that take advantage of your brand.

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