Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Technology Fakes

Much of the counterfeit news is dominated by fake drugs. However, PC World recently investigated the prevalence of fake consumer electronics. In keeping with our efforts to report on actual data, PC World found the following:
  • Alaska: 20,000 suspected fake Memorex USB memory key thumb drives from Asia
  • Miami: 900 allegedly phony laptops
  • Three of the top ten items that US Customs agents seized in 2004 were consumer electronics, batteries, and computer hardware
  • PC World purchased seven hard drives, seven memory modules, and ten cell phone batteries online, using pricing search engines to find low prices. We then asked vendors to authenticate the gear. Of the two dozen products we bought, four (all cell phone batteries) were counterfeit - Nokia, Motorola, and Kyocera. 40% of the cell phone batteries purchased online in the US turned out to be fake!
At least Nokia had provided a method for consumers to check authenticity. They included a hologram and unique serial number under a scratch off panel. The counterfeiters spoofed the hologram but didn't bother with the code - images here.

PC World hit on the major problem facing consumers:
Regardless of where a fake comes from, you probably won't know it's bogus until you try to get the nominal maker to service it.
Nokia is unusual in providing its customers a way to check the authenticity of their products. This powerful tool is what YottaMark provides brand owners.