If you've ever shopped at Alibaba, you know to tread carefully: the online marketplace has long had a problem with merchants peddling counterfeit goods. It's given the site a bad reputation, creating tension between Alibaba and major brands. Today, the company announced a new program designed to smooth things out and help companies identify and remove fake products from Alibaba's marketplace.
Alibaba's new "IP Joint-Force System" seems to be an extension of the company's existing good-faith take-down program -- essentially a method of streamlining communications between rights holders and Alibaba staff. Brands with counterfeiting concerns, like Louis Vuitton or Apple will be assigned an Alibaba account manager and be given access to an online portal, which companies can use to quickly identify authentic or counterfeit product listings and flag them for removal.
Alibaba is hoping to foster an image of teamwork with the program, stressing that companies "complaining about each other or criticising each other" won't stop counterfeit sellers -- and Alibaba needs to stop the deluge of fake products. Earlier this year, the company was kicked out of the US-based anti-counterfeiting alliance after several major brands complained. Company founder Jack Ma is insistent that the fake products need to go, and that they have "no place on Alibaba." With any luck, this new iniative is a step in the right direction.