Brand Protection: Follow Bad Guys to Mobile Apps, Paid Search

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    Online brand protection strategies have to follow where the customers go and where the bad guys go. Right now, that increasingly means mobile apps and paid search.

    As more and more companies are producing mobile apps for internal and external use, much of the security and risk focus is in selecting platforms based partly on security, building the most secure apps possible, and educating the rapidly growing user base on how to try to protect their devices and their data when selecting and downloading desired apps. But even if your company doesn’t have a single app in a single app store, or on a single device, another risk applies to your organization, as well. Mobile apps are quickly growing as a threat to online brand protection, and illegitimate and infringing apps can target and negatively affect any company’s brand.

    Mashable reports that overall mobile app usage rose 115 percent in 2013, according to Flurry Analytics numbers, and in categories like Messaging and Social, and Utilities and Productivity, those percentages are quite a bit higher than that. For the first part of this year, Flurry says that, as of March 2014, users spend two hours and 42 minutes per day on mobile devices. Two hours and 19 minutes of that time is spent on mobile apps, says this TechCrunch piece.

    Following this major trend, online brand protection vendor BrandShield has added two new modules to its existing Web brand monitoring tools. The mobile apps protection module automatically scans major app stores, including Google Play, the Apple App Store, Amazon Apps and Windows Apps for infringing or abusive apps. The reporting feature applies a prioritization to any found threats, and then allows for selection among a number of enforcement action options.

    Similarly, the second new module adds protection within pay-per-click (PPC) ads. At the same time that your company may be spending its PPC budget on targeted Google ads, infringers are doing the same – and stealing your traffic in order to sell counterfeit goods or direct those users to any number of malicious or illegitimate sites. Maybe it’s a few, maybe it’s a lot. The BrandShield PPC brand protection module monitors your selected search terms for Google search results, returning a report including the content of bogus ads, their origin location and the terms they are attempting to target. The time that the scan made the hit is also recorded, as it can be key in corrective action.

    “Brand parasites are savvy. Their deceitful PPC ads come and go quickly, making them difficult to spot and shutdown before they can inflict damage, divert traffic and put revenue at risk,” said Yoav Keren, CEO of BrandShield, in a statement.

    Subscriptions to the BrandShield Brand Protection System begin at $80 per month, and vary depending on your brand’s online prominence.

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