November 28 2011 was a significant day for luxury brand Chanel after a Nevada court judge passed an extraordinary judgment ordering 228 websites to be seized, their domain names transferred and their listings be removed from search engines.
Over the last few months Chanel had been engaged in fierce campaign against some 600 odd counterfeit websites that were allegedly advertising, promoting and selling second-rate goods under Chanel’s brand name thereby defaming the company. When Chanel’s investigating team ordered goods from these sites (3 out of 228) they were found to be non-genuine on delivery.
This judgement is being touted as an extreme solution to punish criminal online sites and will see the domain names of these 228 sites through the Google’s Webmasters Tool, as well as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter ordered to de-index and/or remove [the 228 domain names] from their search results pages with immediate effect . Apart from this the judge has also asked that the names of the seized websites be transferred to GoDaddy, where they would all redirect to a page serving notice of the seizure.
The response to this verdict from website owners’ world wide has been mixed. Some believe the judgment was a little harsh. Did the judge really need to order such a serious judgement with such widespread implications when only 3 sites of the 228 have been proven non-genuine?
What do you think? Is the judgement a bit harsh or a step in the right direction in removing counterfeit websites from the Internet once and for all?