Lately we have been getting a lot of phone calls simply to check if we are indeed a real factory brand or its just one of the new(?) scams on the internet claiming to be selling Goodyear welted shoes usually at ridiculously low prices. We got an insight into how this scam works.
- Fake pop-up Brands
Advertisements on Instagram lead to brand’s website usually with an Italian sounding name claiming their shoes are “Made in Italy” and the photos used in the product page have been lifted from other popular brands which have simply great looking shoes(well-made too) and good photography to match with. sometimes they claim to be making goodyear welted when in fact they are either Blake or cemented. The price for me was the giveaway because it is in the $100 range so anyone with a little bit of background research will know that good quality shoes if made in Italy and looks as good as the photos cannot come that cheap! But some unfortunate bloke gets excited and orders a pair only to see that the shoe they receive is wildly different from what they saw on the website. When they contact the website, it is told that the photo is only a representation of the product and not an exact replica or some gibberish about the shoe being hand-made so it can be different sometimes! Two wrongs have been made here: Delivered a shoe that is not true of the image shown and claims that they are made in Italy when in fact they are made in India solely for this brand or even worst, stock shoes from factories trying to get rid of their seconds or excess/unsold stock.
So how does this affect us? Well as a young brand, we are only now starting to get noticed and while it is a good thing that some potential clients are calling to check if we are really making what we claim to be making, there are many others who just won’t make the effort to call. If they have had a bad experience in the past, they might just look the other way when they hear of us for the first time or even the second. The hastier ones might fall for the trap and then join the club of once-bitten-twice-shy group of shoe lovers who are very skeptical to try new brands again. Also it creates a bad name for “Made in India” which as it is we are facing an uphill struggle to show that not all shoes out of India are low quality to mediocre, we now have also have deal with fakery!
- Wrong Claims
Claims of selling a good year welted collection but in fact they don’t. This surprisingly happens even with some nationally well-known brands, so we know they are legit brands even if their quality of materials and making leaves less to be desired. The problem of false claims has been around for a while now for example where claims of ‘handmade shoes’ are in fact factory made or, hand welted when they are Goodyear welted and Jesper of shoegazing.com in his blog has written extensively on this topic (You can read here).
But for us this seems to create a technological problem with the bulk of our new customers ‘discovering’ us on the internet where the word ‘Goodyear welted’ (and some other key words) seems to be hijacked by false search engine optimisation (SEO) tagging by said well-known brands who have huge marketing budgets and drive searches from google to their website when in fact their website doesn’t have Goodyear welted shoes. We cannot compete with their marketing spends with Google or Instagram/Facebook but the way SEOs work and keyword search works, the more a brand spends on those words, the more likely they are to come up high on a search request and we get pushed down with our smaller marketing spends.
While I think the problem of improper SEO usage will go away as we get more recognition over the years, some poor customers looking for quality Goodyear welted classic shoes is being taken for a ride. Also, it is frustrating to see your marketing budget being less effective than in should be simply because of some fraudsters and wrong claims from deep-pocketed brands.