Search engines are putting drivers at risk by refusing to remove links to websites selling fake airbags in their search results according to a new report.
The white paper, by brand protection provider Incopro lays the blame squarely at the search engine giants, including Google, that apparently refuse to delist websites selling counterfeit goods.
The report found that the spurious products would often feature in the top three results, depending on search term used.
In an example, a website found to be selling counterfeit air bags on the first results page for the term “airbag sale” on Russian search engine Yandex generated 61.24% of its traffic from organic search – demonstrating how necessary search traffic is to counterfeiters.
Simon Baggs, CEO of Incopro, commented: “In the automotive industry, it is rights holders and their agents who are best placed to verify the authenticity of their branded car parts. However, there are currently no actions available to rights holders to notify search engines and have infringing URLs removed from search”.
“In many cases, a mechanic will also be asked to source the air bag for the customer, and in the ever-competitive motor trade, it is conceivable that auto-repair garages will source cheap parts from various suppliers online.
“Whilst it is likely that the mechanic sourcing the air bag will have a greater degree of skill and knowledge than the average user, there is still a risk of buying sub-standard or counterfeit parts. If these are bought in larger quantities, as might be the case with an auto-repair business, this has widespread and dangerous implications for drivers.”