Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Surrender Tha Booty, Mr. Hardy!

November 23rd, 2009 by

Back in the heyday of the golden age of piracy the smell of booty, (No, I’m not talking about your girlfriend’s butt!), would attract pirates like honey draws bees. With the exception of swingin’ a cutlass, or a boardin’ a fat merchant Galleon, little has changed it would seem. Become a rare success, start making beaucoup bucks, and the pirates will come out of the woodwork fast. Internet digital pirates that be, Matey.

Just as Ed Hardy, who’s licensing agreements have reached a phenomenal record of $700 million in merchandise this year alone, will be happy to tell you.

Now I’m not certain what Ed’s mentor, the irascible and innovative Sailor Jerry, would have to say about all this cash flow coming Ed’s way. Odds are he would be right proud, seeing as Ed was one of very few people Jerry shared any of his secrets with. (For those of you who didn’t know it was Sailor Jerry who invented the Magnum needle arrangement so common today, as well as a true purple for tattoos.) But, I can guess what he would say about the digital pirates plundering Ed’s business. “Blow their asses out of the water!”
Ever since French fashion designer Christian Audigier had the brainstorm to create an Ed Hardy line of clothing, licensing companies have been popping up like psylocybe mushrooms after a Florida rainstorm. All with one thing in mind. Get Ed’s fantastic artwork on a product, and make some serious bank. Unfortunately, thanks to his success, that’s just what the digital pirates think as well.

Bogus Ed Hardy merchandise sites, with equally bogus artwork have been showing up all over the Internet. Most of these thief sites seem situated in China, and the tactics they have been using to get top ranking in search engines are nothing short of fraud themselves. These range from making up a few thousand fake sites linking to their fraudulent ones, to setting up bogus blogs. All of which ups their fake sites in the search engines.

Like the real deal these fraudulent sites can offer every kind of merchandise you can think of. Ed Hardy golf carts go for a few thousand bucks each, and have become something of a status symbol. As well as air fresheners that go for $3.

To combat the piracy Ed Hardy’s licensing company, Hardy Way, has authorized police raids at factories in Israel, Mexico, Australia and in the United States where fake Ed Hardy merchandise was being produced. Recently a counterfeit Ed Hardy shop was discovered in the Mission district of San Francisco. However, the biggest threat to the brand comes from online raiders who copy the content from legitimate Ed Hardy Web sites word-for-word and picture-for-picture. A quick search will uncover a host of fake sites that offer the fake gear at huge discounts.

Dave Rosenberg, the managing director at Mr. Hardy’s licensing company must keep track of ads pointing to fake sites and submit removal requests to Google on a regular basis.
“Even if Google gets one, they just set up another site and ads in a matter of minutes. The counterfeiters are so much faster than Google.”

Look, Ed worked long and hard to get where he is today. He was tattooing when tattoos were not seen as being cool, and he would be lucky to get more than one customer every three days. He sweated blood for this art, and I think he deserves better than having a bunch of Internet vultures feeding off of his good fortune.

If you happen across a fake site, report them to Google, or any other search engine you use. They respond in days now and cutting off their access to the top ranks helps a lot. In other words, Mateys. Let’s give th’ lubbers a broadside, an’ send ‘em at Davy Jones’ locker! Arrrrrrr!!

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