January 17, 2011, 3:07 PM

Online sellers of counterfeit luxury goods attract more than 36 million visits per year

MarkMonitor says online counterfeit sales will cost retailers and manufacturers $135 billion in 2011.

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E-commerce sites selling counterfeit luxury items attract more than 98,000 visits each day, or 36 million visits per year, from online shoppers, according to MarkMonitor. The vendor of online brand protection technology and services says the figure represents the combined total of visits to 21 sites studied for a recent report on the sale of counterfeit goods.

“These illegal operations are shifting revenue from legitimate brands’ e-commerce sites, causing economic harm,” says the report. “Necessary government policies, corrective legislative measures, law enforcement action and, most importantly, actively engaged brand owners are all needed to stem this growing tide of illegal Internet activity.”

In all, web sites selling pirated digital content and counterfeit goods—this includes such items as clothes, electronics and fake prescription drugs—attracted more than 53 billion visits from online shoppers each year. Earlier this year, MarkMonitor said that online counterfeit sales will cost businesses $135 billion in revenue in 2011.

In the most recent report, MarkMonitor says that 67% of sites suspected of offering pirated content, and 73% of site offering counterfeit goods, were hosted in North America or Western Europe, though payment processing and order fulfillment often takes place elsewhere. “Many of these sites conduct business across multiple national boundaries,” the report says.

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