Recalling then-candidate Joe Biden’s 2019 advice that out-of-work coal miners should learn to code, now-unemployed coders may want to check job listings for “Luxury Procurement Specialist” or “Handbag Authenticator” as the resale sector widens its crackdown on knockoffs.
A quick web search finds job openings like those mentioned above at luxury re-commerce marketplaces including TheRealReal, luxury watch re-commerce marketplace Fashionphile, and used handbag and apparel marketplace Rebag, to name a few.
This, at a time when business is booming for counterfeits. On Wednesday (Nov. 16) Patrick Kilbride, senior vice president, global innovation policy center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a blog post that “worldwide trade in counterfeit and pirated goods amounts to over $500 billion each year,” saying more than half of consumers think they “may have purchased a fake item when holiday shopping. Moreover, most consumers report purchasing those counterfeit items online.”
That last bit about “online” is getting attention from dedicated resale marketplaces as well as the titans of eCommerce, as “affordable luxury” that seems too good to be true is often just so.
For example, on Nov. 9, Amazon said in a press release that its Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU), working with Chinese authorities, “seized more than 240,000 counterfeit items” including “imitations of luxury, sports, and automotive brands. The seizure prevented the fake products from reaching Amazon customers or being sold elsewhere in the supply chain.”
“Our efforts to identify and dismantle counterfeit organizations are working,” said Kebharu Smith, associate general counsel and director of the Amazon CCU. “We appreciate law enforcement acting on our referrals and thoroughly pursuing these cases. These outcomes protect Amazon customers, disrupt the counterfeit supply chain, and halt their illicit proceeds.”
Sneaky Sneakers and the Value of Authenticity
Whether it’s a hard-to-pass-up deal on a “pre-loved” $20,000 Birkin bag or a pair of trendy Air Jordans, the pressure is on to get counterfeits off marketplaces and out of circulation.
Enlarging a yearlong legal battle that started over trademark infringement, Nike’s lawsuit against the high-end sneaker marketplace StockX came to embrace fakes that Nike reportedly purchased itself on the site.
“Verification is the new authentication,” the StockX policy update post began, noting that — tag or not — its comprehensive approach remained unchanged.
“Since our inception, StockX authenticators have reviewed more than 35 million products, and we continue to invest in new technologies to use alongside human inspection and refine our policies to best serve the customer,” the company said.
eBay is capitalizing on the demand for thoroughly authenticated pre-owned luxury items, announcing this week in a press release the opening of eBay Luxury Exchange, a storefront in Manhattan’s Diamond District that turns genuine articles into store credit.
“It’s never been easier for luxury enthusiasts to refine their collections in a trusted environment, and we wanted to create an IRL experience that reflects what’s happening on eBay every day,” said Tirath Kamdar, general manager of luxury at eBay.
“The Luxury Exchange comes on the heels of the expansion of Authenticity Guarantee to jewelry, a move that significantly augments eBay’s luxury offering,” the company said, noting that the two-year-old authentication service would now apply to sneakers, watches, handbags, trading cards, and its most recent addition, fine jewelry.