Another hit to Facebook’s ad reputation. 24% of ads lead to counterfeit websites

Everyone I talk to who is in marketing or owns a business tells me the same thing, that Facebook ads are a waste of money. Earlier this year, a video went viral, detailing how much money is wasted.  The video was a great presentation. Facebook faces a problem, as this information about their ads travels fast around the world. Another problem they have is ads that leads to a counterfeit product.

A report that came out yesterday from a group of authors claims that 24% of Facebook ads lead to a product that is counterfeit, or infringes on a brands copyright or trademark. A lot of these products are in the fashion sector. All the pictures of people showing off their new purchases influences others to buy the same product. It is Facebook marketing 101. So counterfeiters who know this, will place ads on their, knowing they will get customers.

Stroppa and Agostino Specchiarello set up 12 dummy Facebook accounts and identified a sample of 1,067 ads. The two researchers focused on the 180 fashion and luxury ads in that sample, 43 of which pointed to websites selling counterfeit goods, according to the study.

Those sites were set up using various techniques to trick visitors, according to the researchers. They often had legitimate looking URLs, such as, and even included fake logos of security and payment system companies.

It is a great read. I would recommended it highly. There is a lot of pictures too on the report showing the websites and similar they look to the real thing. You can see the report here. The image below is what a Facebook user would see.

fake counterfiet rayband facebook ad

In this case, both ads linked to a website with no affiliation to Ray Ban, managed by an organization that owned over 80 Internet domains, registered through a Chinese registrar, to sell counterfeit items under the Luxottica brand. Even if it’s dispersed through hosting servers based in different countries, including USA and the Netherlands, all websites share some specific features (link appearances, download code referencing to Chinese websites, etc.) and the same Chinese registrar thus validating our suspicion that the organization is actually based in mainland China.



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