Another year has come to an end. Time passed and year witnessed many achievements and failures. Globally, situations of economy and security remained same, challenging. Countries moved towards more silos and accused others of invasion and infringement. Largest social media and ecommerce platforms, which were loved till last year, came under scanner for either promoting fake news or fake products. It is sounding all depressing isn't it? But, it was also promising too, as we became more aware and authorities took keen interest in the operation or under currents of the favourite flavours of the world, more awareness gathered among people.
At KnowFakes, we were prompted to write yet another article of "How To's" of finding a product's genuineness. On second thoughts, it would have been no different from what we or many others keep doing throughout the year. We are not saying those efforts are not required. They need to be as much as possible. On the other hand, we wanted our reader's focus to be more critical of the situation we are in today. You should be looking beyond a product or industry or something that you plan to buy immediately and go to Google to know more about.
Most of the time, people are satisfied and consider themselves to be a law abiding citizen when they don’t break a law capable of direct and immediate implication. But they don’t shy away from something that looks pure legitimate in dealing but has a questionable source or destination. Counterfeit products are one of such examples. Consumers buy them in the name of discounts without questioning their viability or authenticity. Consumers spend in the name of first or second replicas knowing product is not original but a very fine imitation. Without thinking who is running the business of such fakes and whose is the funding source or where the earnings will be channelled to, they commit the deals.
Let us come to the reality by knowing the hind side of the fake, counterfeit, spurious, illicit or whatever you name it, product market. We will pick two of the biggest challenges being faced by the world at the moment look at their relation with counterfeiting. Two challenges are Economic crises and terrorism. First, economic crisis. Markets have become extremely competitive and anything that does not run discount is hard to sell. But, sometimes, a brand owner of a popular product is not able to offer good discounts as entire lifecycle of the product (e.g. cost of financing, marketing, R&D, production and development,Quality Assurance, sales and distribution etc. etc. etc.) will not permit that. On the other hand, someone (group of individuals or a syndicate) can simply copy the ready-made design that original brand had spent time and efforts in making, without assuring quality that will harm the end consumer, getting benefitted illegitimately and accruing money from or for wrong purposes, will sell the replication at much discounted price. Customer loyalty takes a hit because consumer feels cheated by brand not the counterfeiter. There will be job losses resulting from the shrinking business of the original brand as industry is not able to make enough money from new markets or re-orders from maturing/life-ending products. If you are among those who have recently lost your job, then you must know that you may be the reason of that loss. Directly or indirectly, knowingly or un-knowingly, you have caused it. How? If you think the duplicate, replica or un-verified product you had bought was far from impacting industry of your profession, you could be thinking far from actuality. Counterfeiting of products, all kinds, can be interlinked. They are part of a maze that is not easy to break by a common man, who himself is being played in it.
Terrorism, itself a severe problem to the world and a leading cause of deaths today. This is not a fight by a certain group or people. It is a sponsored act and specifically aimed at or against regimes. Terrorist outfits sitting far off are radicalizing locals of your town and city, making them carry out strikes on you. But, what has a simple deal made online or at a local store got to do with something as heinous as Terrorism. Investigation into recent Terrorism attacks have revealed that the radicalized locals (also called sleeper cells) had funded themselves from counterfeit or black market. In India, 26/11 attacks at Mumbai that claimed more than 150 lives, were funded by black market. France, attack on news agency Charlie Hebdo was carried out by radicalized French citizens using money that they made selling fake products imported from China. They sold much over ecommerce websites so they could buy enough arms and ammunition. It is important to note that attacks on Charlie Hebdo was not just failure of citizens who un-knowingly funded it by purchasing counterfeits in lure of offers. It was failure of law enforcement agencies as well. As revealed later, investigation agencies had put attacker’s calls on trace and were listening to them. Unfortunately, agencies put them off their radar when they came to know them being engaged in importing and selling counterfeit products. For them, it was petty crime and didn’t require time and resource dedication. The lapse caused gruesome result for the people who died and brought upon question mark on the capability of security agencies of the country.
With the realization that our small purchases or deals made in ignorance may have serious consequences, it is time to be morw aware and responsible now. With that KnowFakesTM would like to wish you for the new year. We wish that you should have better capabilities to stay happy. The capability to know what’s right and what’s not. To know that there are no free lunches and every discount may not have good customer experience or loyalty gaining purpose behind it. You should also be able to reject what looks or sounds suspicious but is too good to missed an offer. Let’s just think of those who lost their jobs or their lives due to our irresponsible acts as consumers. You must do that because you could be the one next in the list of victims.