There are several forms of online abuse that a brand could end up confronting. Cybersquatting is when someone takes control of a domain that infringes on your brand’s name. The sale of counterfeit products dilutes your brand and undermines profits. Copyright infringement can do the same as well. The question for many firms is how to respond. Here’s what to do when your brand is the victim of malicious online abuse.
Take Control of Your Own Brand
One way you can protect your brand is to register it on all of the leading social media sites where you do business. This creates a verified social media account on every site your customers are likely to use. This prevents others from using it to impersonate you. It also makes it easier to monitor the sites for fraud or impersonators.
When you learn of brand infringement, you can use the enforcement tools on these sites to deal with it since you’re the legitimate representative of the brand on that site. Lock in valuable domains too so that others can’t use similar domain names for malicious purposes.
Try to Reach Out to Them
If you’re dealing with an angry customer, first approach them with an apology or heartfelt response. You may be able to get them to take down the rant against the firm or update it to say your company solved the problem. If the person is making dishonest claims, try to educate them. If that fails, then you can refute it. If the problem is ongoing and severe, then you can file a complaint with the platform provider.
Shut It Down
When someone is cybersquatting, you can try to buy the domain or challenge their ownership of it. You can also seek to take down any site they put up. When the fraudulent group starts selling fakes on their site pretending to be you, or they put malware on their website while infecting your customers, your brand’s reputation is on the line. Don’t think it won’t happen to you. Roughly seven percent of all goods bought online are counterfeit.
All of this can be solved if you use DMARC takedown services. DMARC takedown services will use legal action to shut down unauthorized websites as quickly as possible. Focus on networks instead of small operators, since that has the highest return on the invested effort.
The best services have good relationships with industry suppliers, so they can take down fake apps taking advantage of your brand name and stop the sale of fake products on ecommerce sites. A few of the top services in this space offer monitoring services so that any future incidents are immediately identified and shut down.
Consider Suing for Defamation
In some cases, legal action may be necessary. This is only practical after you’ve taken steps to remove the online defamatory material, like asking them to do so. A physical cease and desist letter can be used as well. If that doesn’t work, you can proceed and file a defamation suit.
There is a fine line here, however, since the other side has the right to free speech. Pursue legal action when they received a shoddy product or poor-quality service, and it could result in more bad press for your brand. This is why legal action is one of the last options on our list. It also isn’t always an option, since you may not be able to stop someone in another country from bashing your brand.
The internet makes it much easier for fraudsters to impersonate a company or sell fraudulent goods. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of it happening and the costs you incur when it does arise.