PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the motives of online sellers of counterfeit products in online social networking sites.Design/methodology/approachThe study uses a sample of 22 in-depth interviews with counterfeit sellers.FindingsBased on the findings, the authors have developed a framework called “Dark motives-counterfeit selling.” The framework includes ten motives for selling online counterfeit products organized into four main themes. Personal characteristics include self-interest priority and sense of adventure. Moral justifications consist of denial of responsibility, and inequality hypothesis of self-deception process, and social acceptance. Operational aspects include: low-cost investment, free riding on luxury brands’ marketing effort, and invisibility from regulators. Finally, relationship management involves projecting image using volitional cues and interpersonal relationship with buyers. The themes regarding personal characteristics and morality are associated with their choice of counterfeit business. The other two themes are associated with the use of social networking sites for counterfeit business. Finally, some outcomes of online counterfeit retailing were revealed as value creation for the counterfeit buyers and value destruction for genuine brands’ customers.Originality/valueThis study investigates different rationalization strategies and motives behind selling counterfeit products with a special focus on online platforms. This is among the first to investigate the perspectives of counterfeit retailers in social network sites.
Marketing Intelligence & Planning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2018
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