“Ensuring That Your Cartier Is Really a Cartier” is an article discussing the circulation of luxury and counterfeit goods on the Internet. Christina Binkley, the author, begins by introducing “a kind of Blue Book for luxury goods”, which consists in exchanging old goods for the purchase of new, authentic ones, thus developing the retailing market and inciting consumers to purchase authentic goods rather than the counterfeits.
Binkley explains that the problem with buying a second-hand luxury good on the internet is that one can never be 100% sure than it is authentic. A series of alternatives to the problem have been advanced, including the certifying of sellers, which would stand as proofs that a certain seller is “honest”. However, as Binkley states, “this isn’t always the case”. Buysafe.com attempted to propose a website that gathered all these “insured sellers”, but as the author explains: “this doesn’t mean they are able to police every item they sell”.
Ebay then advised a program entitled “VeRO”, which aimed at gathering designers and manufacturers to find and report any counterfeit good circulating on the retail website. Again, the problem persists: the true responsibility of authenticating the good remains the consumer’s responsibility. This is when websites such as portero.com come into action. This particular service does all the labour-intensive authenticating process itself, thus, everything that the website sells is ‘the real thing’. However, Binkley states that there remains two problems with this concept, firstly: “its selection is severely limited”, and secondly: the goods may be certified authentics, but they are also far more expensive than eBay’s “$50 Omega watches”.