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I now have over a dozen people forwarding me the email updates that Steve Lang is sending out about his fight with the knock-off websites. The email responses from my post on Mon Cheri Work Smarter Not Harder were 100% positive from both manufacturers and online retailers. It is safe to say there is a large backlash building about the direction Mr. Lang is taking the industry in his war.
I've seen the terms "war" and "winning battles" in some of these emails. In any war, there are casualties on both sides. The first casualty, unfortunately, is going to be on our side. The email I'm looking at says that Mr. Lang is putting together a media package that has a combined value of $250k. Using a quarter of a million dollars worth of advertising is going to have the EXACT OPPOSITE EFFECT THAT HE THINKS IT IS GOING TO HAVE.
A customer has to be semi-internet savvy to find these knock-off sites. That is to say: knock-off sites do not show up high in the majority of search engine results pages (SERPs). I picked a random Jovani dress that I thought was pretty (but could never afford lol). Jovani 4247 is what I searched for. It took till page 4 before I found a knock-off site. The click through rate (CTR) for a page 4 search result is ridiculously small. Really, really, really small. I'm talking less than half of 1%. The 250k "media awareness" is going to inform the other 99% of searchers that knock-off sites exist, and that they can get a copy of your dress for cheaper.
Again, we have another flaw in logic when it comes to understanding the internet. The problem is that these knock off sites are getting too much exposure to customers... And one of the solutions is to expose more customers to the fact that knock-off sites exist?! Really?!Good Morning America did a piece on counterfeiting dresses last year. Although I can't locate the statistic at the moment, the day after that aired, one of those knock-off websites had their biggest sales day EVER.
If the media blitz works out the way I am describing it in this article, then money being raised off of small retailers is about to be used in a way which is going to take business away from them. WHO IS ADVISING HIM TO DO THIS? IT IS A HORRIBLE IDEA.
I have said this a few times, but I am going to repeat it until it resonates: Mr. Lang is doing a fantastic job organizing everyone, but all his efforts are focused in the wrong direction (see the prom manufacturers guide to fighting knock-offs). It seems to me that he is making so many commitments, that even if he realizes he has made a mistake, it will be too late for him to turn around. The media package is one of these mistakes. The people who have contacted me about this will not speak up because they feel Mr. Lang is so set in his path, that he isn't paying attention to easier, more effective ideas. And these types of problems are going to keep coming up because the captain of this ship (Mr Lang) is unfamiliar with these waters (the internet).
All of this stuff has been adressed on the manufacturers guide. Why won't anyone listen? The solution to this industry's knock-off problems is right there in that guide. If Mr Lang's efforts were focused on fighting an internet problem with an internet solution, we would not be having this conversation; because by now, he could have completely fixed this problem for our industry.
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