Table of Contents
Interview By Jake Sabey - Education Specialist, Doba
This month's featured interview is with Tyson Wanlass, Doba's Manager of Fraud Protection. Because online fraud is a broad topic, this interview will introduce the basics of online fraud, give warnings and tips of how to approach online fraud, as well as educate retailers in the fight of online fraud. A special thanks goes out to Tyson for taking time away from his schedule to participate in this interview—Thank you Tyson!
Tyson Wanlass - Manager of Fraud Protection, Doba
Tyson Wanlass is an expert at identifying and combating online fraud. As Doba's Manager of Fraud Protection, Tyson oversees sophisticated risk models and advanced proprietary technologies that aid in the company's fight to eliminate fraudulent transactions. Considered an expert among his peers, Tyson previously worked in Silicon Valley as a Fraud Analyst for both eBay and PayPal. In his spare time you can catch Tyson skiing in the mountains or taking in 18 holes on the golf course.
Jake Sabey: Define online fraud.
Tyson Wanlass: Online fraud is a term that refers to many types of scams: (formatted list from interview)
JS: Can you give some examples of methods used by fraudsters, warning signs of possible fraud, and steps to take when dealing with possible fraud situations?
TW: There are two ways I currently see retailers being defrauded:
JS: Give a brief overview of what Doba's Fraud Department does in experiences such as those mentioned.
TW: Our Fraud Department has two main goals: (formatted from interview)
Lastly, I want to mention that Doba offers a Fraud Protection Program that's the first of its kind in the product sourcing industry; it can be viewed as an insurance premium at no extra cost to Doba members. If a Doba member/retailer is ever defrauded by their end customer, Doba will cover their losses up to $500 per transaction. This coverage is dependant on the retailer following standard online safe selling practices as outlined in the program guidelines. (Click here to learn more about Doba's Fraud Protection Program)
JS: Thank you Tyson for educating us on Doba's fight against online fraud.
Please direct any questions or concerns of online fraud to Doba's Fraud Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on topics brought up during this interview or additional topics of interest, you can search Doba's Knowledgebase by keyword. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
About the Interviewer:
By Jeff Knight, Vice President of Marketplace
IP, or Intellectual Property according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, “(Intellectual Property) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. “ There are two categories of IP: Industrial Property and Copyrights. Industrial Property largely refers to inventions, or patents, trademarks, designs, and other works used in commerce. Copyrights are focused on literary and artistic works. As the Internet has grown and become important part of how information is disseminated and shared – IP has become an ever-increasing issue. As an eCommerce retailer, IP and the regulation of IP rights effects all aspects of your business. For this marketplace spotlight, I am going to give a very brief and general layman’s overview of IP issues and how they affect your business.
Before starting, I want to emphasize again that IP is very complicated and a heavily debated area – and this article will only provide a general overview. I will provide URLs at the end to assist with gathering additional information. Second, there is a lot of debate over how to regulate IP, the value of the regulations, and the motivation behind IP laws – we will only skim the outsides of the debate. Largely, for our purposes (i.e. Doba, retailers and suppliers, and IP regulators); we all share a common goal even if at times we are inconvenienced by the regulations.
What are examples of IPs in your day-day business?Most of the images, copy, brand names, MAP policies, channel restrictions (no eBay, brick and mortar only, etc) – are all examples of IP. Every item that you list on eBay or place on your website, is subject to IP regulations. For most retailers, they are only aware of how IP affects them when they are notified they are in violation. The report is usually followed by the eBay listing being removed, a legal cease and desist letter or in most cases, an email explaining whose IP rights are in question and what you must do to be in compliance. Truthfully, very few retailers using Doba’s platform have had this experience. Before the product is added to Doba’s platform – agreements over the supplier’s rights and responsibilities are in place to help proactively alleviate questions. Even with the best efforts of Doba and the suppliers, however, there are still situations that arise. Why does this happen? While Doba is authorized to provide you with the product information and images – we couldn't possibly inform every brand/manufacturer of every retailer on Doba's platform. In addition, within a manufacturer's organization are different groups selling to different channels and at times, there can be overlap and even conflicting policies.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
In 1998, the United States senate passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA criminalized the act of using technology to circumvent access control protecting IP, as well as the creation of technology or devices that are used to circumvent control. An important aspect was that the DMCA criminalized the act whether the copyright was infringed at all. In addition, DMCA steepened the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. DMCA enforcement has ranged from catching pirating (music, software, etc) to frivolous patent lawsuits of large retailers over common use technology like shopping cart processes. Criticism has focused on the concept of a government, albeit briefly, granting a monopoly over technology thus inhibiting enterprise. Other critics argue that DMCA discourages research and other non-commercial activities. Finally, and most important to Doba users, the DMCA has made it extremely easy for IP rights holders to force websites and retailers to remove content. If a website receives a notice that it is in violation, the website can remove the content or link without being held liable. Essentially, there is no incentive for the website to question the notice, even if the rights are in question, because the website’s liability is limited by the removal. From eBay to Google, the largest technology websites have developed similar polices – if a violation is reported, remove the content and let the publisher of the content work it out with the assumed IP rights holder.
What should you do if you are notified?
Chances are that every retailer will face a situation where IP rights will be in question. What should you do if you are notified? While you may wish to push back or fight the report – Doba would recommend suspending the listing while you gather more information. Next, contact the party and ask for specifics on what content is in violation, how you can verify it is violation and if it is in violation, how can you correct the violation. In addition, please let Doba know so we can work with the supplier to resolve ongoing issues.
Understand that very few IP rights holders will contact you directly. Larger manufacturers will use a third party enforcement agency or a legal firm to monitor and protect their IP. One of the largest companies in the online space is NetEnforcers. Doba has had many positive interactions with them and we have found them to be a reputable company genuinely interested in protecting their clients and helping retailers in violation get back in compliance. There are many other companies and each will take a different approach. It is important to understand that while the tone of their correspondence may be very accusatory and cold – in the end, the company has most likely not singled you out. I think the positive to take out of a situation is, if a manufacturer cares enough to protect their brand and retailers to hire a third-party; you should look into possibly becoming one of their approved dealers. Overall, getting manufacturer authorization is a good idea for brands you intend on focusing on - many manufacturers have additional marketing and incentives for retailers who comply and meet their program requirements.
eBay and IP
If your eBay auction is suddenly canceled or you receive a cease and desist letter, don’t panic. Look at the global situation; contact the people reporting the violation and move ahead. eBay created its VeRO program to help IP rights holders and sellers manage and proactively solve issues. On the VeRO program pages, eBay gives details of how to be in compliance and even lists all manufacturers who do not allow their goods to be sold on the eBay platform.
Here are some places to visit for more information Intellectual Property:
The eBay VeRO program is located at:
Google’s DMCA policy:
World Intellectual Property Organization:
By Rick Limon
In this month’s Q&A, I will respond to the many emails we receive concerning the finding of additional product details for the purpose of creating product descriptions. A good product description is important to give your customer an image of what they are buying. In addition, your product description can convey an image of professionalism, giving your buyer the impression that you are indeed a serious retailer.
The product information provided by the supplier in Doba’s Product Catalog is intended for the retailers use, not as the item description in a listing for the end customer to base their purchase decision off of. It is up to the retailers to take the information they are given and conduct further product research to customize product descriptions for their listings. This way, you can add your own personal business touch to make your listings different than everyone else’s.
There are many different resources to use when searching for additional product details. One is the manufacturer’s website. Here you can find more in depth information regarding a specific product, right from the company that makes it. Make sure that the SKU/ Model numbers match the ones in the Doba catalog.
Another resource for finding additional product information is internet search engines. With most search engines, you can search the entire web through a general search, or search specifically for products by clicking on a “Shopping” link (Google.com, Msn.com, Aol.com, or Yahoo.com). Gathering information for a specific product is easier than you think, just place the model or SKU number or key words from the description in search engines to find more information.
You could also place sample orders. As mentioned in "Create a Purchase Experience with Sample Orders," placing sample orders is a way to get the actual product in your hands and give you a feel for the item which will assist in writing custom, creative, and descriptive product descriptions. You will also be able to take alternate pictures which will help your listings to stand out compared to other listings.
Warning: Be sure to get permission before copying any product descriptions or photos from the manufacturer’s or any other websites. Much of the information is protected by copyright whether or not a copyright symbol is shown. Violating copyright rules and regulations could result in your listings being removed, your rights to sell the product terminated by the supplier/manufacturer, and ability/membership to list products in that market taken away or suspended. Familiarize yourself with the rules, regulations, and policies concerning what is and what is not allowed in the market in which you are listing products.
For more information on product details and writing effective product descriptions, read:
We Want to Hear from You! Want to see your question featured in the eNewsletter Member Q&A? Well we want to hear from you! Please email email@example.com if you have any non-account related questions or topics you would like us to write about. If you have questions concerning your Doba account, such as billing, product or order questions, please search our knowledgebase site content or contact our Customer Support.
About the Author:
Starting an online business is relatively easy. Making it a success takes hard work and the right mix of products. To help you achieve your business-related goals, we recently added 7 new wholesale suppliers and manufacturers to the Doba Catalog, including:
Hayworth - A leader in design, development, manufacturing and marketing in portable audio video products.
Ice - Distributor of hockey and ice rink equipment.
Howlite - Distributor of collectibles and skill stop slot machines.
Gypsum - A leading manufacture of innovative consumer products.
Peppermint - Offers a wide variety of area rugs including a large selection of children's rugs.
Iron - Offers retailers a unique range of heirloom quality goods that are trend setting, functional and authentic.
Helvite - Leading distributor of presentation equipment including LCD/DLP projectors and flat panel displays.