Is It Okay to Sell Merchandise with Several Brand Names?

Avilov
One of my clients is selling brand names through his website and I already took his deposit & signed a contract to do some SEO for his company. I'm pretty sure his clothes & merchandise they aren't authentic. I cant really back out of the contract because he's paying me alot of money for my services, basically I'm going to be doing Google, Facebook & Instagram ads for him.
I know amazon & ebay are strict on Brand legitimacy, how do you guys think Google, Facebook & Instagram will react to this?
2 👍🏽 2
[filtered from 22 Answers]

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Seth
Seems pretty ethically wrong to sell counterfeit goods – no?

Avilov ✍️ » Seth
is it ethically wrong to buy counterfeit goods at [country i] town as well?
Seth » Avilov
not my question… it is & I don't.
Avilov ✍️ » Seth
wow your ethic levels are off the charts

Jen
I'm sure any solicitor could help you get out of a contract if you believe you're supporting an illegal activity
Lena
There's another issue other than this isn't ethically okay: Will he still be able (and willing!) to pay you a lot of money in case they get caught and probably fined?

Avilov ✍️ » Lena
could you share the probability of getting cought, and also the exact penalty type? thanks
Stacie » Avilov
Nobody here is a lawyer that can tell you the fines- that would depend on if he gets sued. The probably of getting caught is high if you're running ads. You're bringing attention to the company.
Lena » Stacie
No, I can't . I'm just throwing in the possibility so you can consider all the pros and cons. I agree with Stacie: The higher the attention, the more risky it is.

Alder
Run everything through their account and distance yourself from it.
Play dumb until you can't anymore. But if it were me, I think I would back out due to ethical issues.

Avilov ✍️ » Alder
I just want this to work for my client as I don't like to disappoint people when I make them a promise. Once I make a promise I keep it.
Will the social media account that is hosting these ads also get penalized? And will the website get penalized if Google ads gets shut down?
Alder » Leonard
Facebook is a safe bet to be banned.
For Google, I'm not so sure
Avilov ✍️ » Alder
so the account hosting the ads will get banned? What about instagram?
Ben Allen 🎓 » Avilov
IMO there is no dishonesty or betrayal in letting a client go if they are breaking the law or ad platform policy, especially if they did not disclose it to you up front. I'm pretty sure every major search and social ad platform has rules about not selling counterfeit goods. If it's a matter of framing the dismissal, you can just tell them that. That their ad accounts are likely to get frozen and banned and their money potentially even seized or lost.
Also are you sure they're not just dropshipping their products?
Avilov ✍️ » Ben Allen
I did organic SEO for this guy before, its an old client, you could say we have a relationship .. and I already took the deposit from the client for the Ads, my pay is pretty big, and to be honest I want to give this a shot, so Im just trying to find out if I should use just Google and forget about social media ads, or use just social media ads and not Google. Just the small intricacies that could make or break this project.
Ben Allen 🎓 » Avilov
Every social and search ad platform prohibits counterfeit goods. That being said, I've heard Instagram is the most lax about it, but still, I'd think the campaign's days would be numbered.

Earl
Use protection (aka VPN) and don't forget to wash your hands after 😛

Avilov ✍️ » Earl
What is a VPN going to do? Im not exactly hacking someones computer here.. Im just running some ads. Even if Nike traces my location.. Im just the SEO guy, not the owner of the website.
I just want this to work for my client as I dont like to disappoint people when I make them a promise.
Earl » Avilov
haha it was a joke. You're just the marketing guy – don't sweat it.
Seth » Avilov
you're still liable. This thread right here proves it… never erases either. Subpoena. Tread carefully.

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Avilov ✍️
What is the probability of getting caught by Google, FB and instagram? Do they ban you right away? Or can the ads campaign generate enough income to satisfy my client? Also does the facebook & instagram account that's hosting those ads gets penalized as well? and Do the organic search results suffer too if the PPC account is deleted?
These are the questions Im looking to get answers to.

Richard » Avilov
the original brand have teams looking for these scam sites. They'll be banned within 4 weeks.
Lena » Richard
Yes, and they don't limit their vetting to instagram and facebook. The bigger the brand, the more likely it is to get caught.

Suzan
No ad service is going to look favourably on selling counterfeit goods and claiming they are real. You are more likely than not going to get banned.
Reed
There are several potential problems.
The ad accounts will go down unless you follow black hat cloaking techniques. There are policies against counterfeit goods on all of these platforms.
If the billing is linked to you in any way you can be traced and prosecuted depending on your jurisdiction. It is unlikely that they would prosecute although Facebook has been more aggressive in recent years.
The organic rankings can be removed if you are promoting counterfeit goods and the domain can be seized.
The primary locations where action has been taken in the past are in the EU and the US.
The decision to promote counterfeit products is your own and we all need to make a living but make sure that you are ok with it ethically first and paid appropriately for the risk of being complicit in an illegal activity (however low the risk is)

Avilov ✍️ » Reed
myself and the client are from [country ii],

Aaron
Depending on the brand(s) that are being counterfeited the site/domain can be taken over by a court order if the brand files a suit. I've seen this occur. This also constitutes intellectual property theft and can be prosecuted.
https://www.fbi.gov/…/white-collar-crime/piracy-ip-theft
Intellectual Property Theft/Piracy | Federal Bureau of Investigation

Avilov ✍️ » Aaron
myself and the client are from [country ii]
Aaron
It's more an example, the RCMP also has an office that focuses on IP infringement. Either way, if your host has/is a US entity the US court system will still have at least limited jurisdiction to potentially take over the domain. I've seen domains from all over the world shutdown permanently and given to the brand in which they were infringing upon.
Either way, I don't care what you do, you asked and I answered based on my experience. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do!
Okon » Aaron
thanks for sharing, quite instructive. But the challenge is where you're only reselling what other people import without being the direct importer especially in market place model.

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Nihar
Go with the flow bro.. It would be a learning experience.. as long as you're doing your job legitimately and as an external vendor, you're not liable!
However, if he has told you explicitly he's running a scam, then you are an accessory to it, and liable, in case things go south.
Just my opinion from watching too much "Suits" lol! Not a law professional by any mean!
If there's a lot of money at stake here, why not consult a lawyer? Many online law forums can offer free advice too!
Ashturk
Ill tell you what ll happen, coz it happened with someone i know, they did facebook ads for a c4nn4b1s company and a Google ad for a counterfit product .. with facebook, the ad account was banned as soon as the pixel was installed and in Google ads, Google will warn you about the brand name and your ad wont even go through, if you involve yourself in illegal activities bcoz you are a man of your word or you need the money?, if you need the money take the money and all the accounts will be banned and it wont be your fault, otherwise you shold know what to do
Alan
Run the adds as replica as that is what they are and you are then not conning people 👍

Okon » Alan
I'll appreciate more insights here, so if I run a store online and sell high range copy of high end brands , will I be banned or still have issues if products are on the site but never in social or Google ads?
Alan » Okon
I think you would get away with it in Google to be honest unless people reported it.
I know people selling fake watches etc label them as replica and Google let it go as you have stated that it is not genuine but I would imagine that each case is different.
I ain't no expert BTW 👍
Okon » Alan
Thanks for the comment, most [country iii]ns can't afford the original watches for instance which can be up to $50,000 on an item, so alternatives exist which fill the gap.
If you don't deal in the copy version here, you will be out of business.

Sampson
Be careful whatever you put on the website is your responsibility so if he gets done for fake goods you will be pulled in for questions
Faisal
Simply stay away from these kind of clients, once your accounts blocked you'll be in a trouble.
John
Seriously read your comments and you have the answer although enjoy the $$$ while you can because it'll be hard to make some afterwards.

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