Understanding Word-of-Mouth in Counterfeiting


Counterfeiting is a significant and growing problem in both growing and well developed countries. Since the promotion of counterfeits cannot use public media, it is interesting to investigate how people exchange information and finally affect the sales of counterfeit. Although role of word-of-mouth (WOM) has been studied for many years for brand or well known products, limited attention has been given to explore its role in counterfeiting. To further the understanding of this issue, the present study developed a self-report scale measuring consumer motivations for opinion seeking and giving in counterfeiting. We surveyed Indian and Taiwanese customers and found the following results: 1) WOM has significant role in locating counterfeit products; 2) WOM cannot considered as best purchasing driver; 3) referral marketing does work and people share their opinion among strong tie; 4) the impact of PWOM is generally greater than NWOM; and 5) most consumer share opinion that it is unethical to purchase counterfeit products. The authors then discuss the implications of this research and offers recommendations for marketers of brand products.

Share and Cite:

Lan, M. , Liu, F. , Fang, C. & Lin, T. (2012). Understanding Word-of-Mouth in Counterfeiting. Psychology, 3, 289-295. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.33041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Arndt, J. (1967). Role of product—Related conversations in the diffusion of a new product. Journal of Marketing Research, 4, 291-295. doi:10.2307/3149462
[2] Ashdown, B. K., Gibbons, J. L., Hackathorn, J., & Harvey D. R. (2011). The influence of social and individual variables on ethnic attitudes in Guatemala. Psychology, 2, 78-84. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.22013
[3] Bansal, H. S., & Voyer, P. A. (2000). Word-of-mouth processes within a services purchase decision context. Journal of Service Research, 3, 166-177. doi:10.1177/109467050032005
[4] Bolfing, C. P. (1989). How do customers express dissatisfaction and what can service marketers do about it? Journal of Services Marketing, 3, 5-23.
[5] Bone, P. F. (1992). Determinants of word-of-mouth communications during product consumption. Advances in Consumer Research, 19, 579-583.
[6] Buttle, F. A. (1998). Word of mouth: Understanding and managing referral marketing. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 6, 241-254. doi:10.1080/096525498346658
[7] Chang, W. C., Osman, M. M., Tong, E. M. W., & Tan, D. (2011). Self-construal and subjective wellbeing in two ethnic communities in Singapore. Psychology, 2, 63-70. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.22011
[8] Chaudhry, P., Cordell, V., & Zimmerman, A. (2005). Modeling anti-counterfeiting strategies in response to protecting intellectual property rights in a global environment. Marketing Review, 5, 59-72. doi:10.1362/1469347053294832
[9] Cordell, V., Wongtada, N., & JrKieschnick, R. L. (1996). Counterfeit purchase intentions: Role of lawfulness attitudes and product traits as determinants. Journal of Business Research, 35, 41-53. doi:10.1016/0148-2963(95)00009-7
[10] Desatnick, R. L. (1987). Managing to keep the customer. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[11] East, R., Hammond, K., & Lomax, W. (2008). Measuring the impact of positive and negative word of mouth on brand purchase probability. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 25, 215-224. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2008.04.001
[12] Eisend, M., & Schuchert-Guler, P. (2006). Explaining counterfeit purchases: A review and preview. Academy of Marketing Science Review, 12, 1-22.
[13] Engel, J. F., Kegerris, R. J., & Blackwell, R. D.(1969). Word of mouth communication by the innovator. Journal of Marketing, 33, 15-19. doi:10.2307/1248475
[14] Fang, C. H., Lin, T. M. Y., Liu, F., & Lin, Y. H. (2011). Product type and word of mouth: A dyadic perspective, Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 5, 189-202. doi:10.1108/17505931111187802
[15] Gentry, J. W., Putrevu, S., & Clifford Shultz II (2006). The effects of counterfeiting on consumer search. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 5, 245-256. doi:10.1002/cb.176
[16] Godes, D., & Mayzlin, D. (2004). Using online conversations to study word of mouth communication. Marketing Science, 23, 545-560. doi:10.1287/mksc.1040.0071
[17] Gombeski, W. R., Fay, G. W, Niedzielski, K. R., & Weaver, F. J. (1988). Evaluating promotional strategy effectiveness for a health care organization. Journal of Business Research, 17, 81-90. doi:10.1016/0148-2963(88)90025-2
[18] Gould, S. J. (1989). Service opinion leadership: A management tool for service providers and product marketers Alike. Journal of Professional Services Marketing, 4, 3-14. doi:10.1300/J090v04n01_02
[19] Grossman, G., & Shapiro, C. (1988). Foreign counterfeiting of status goods. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 103, 79-100. doi:10.2307/1882643
[20] Grossman, G. M., & Shapiro C. (1988). Counterfeit—Product trade. American Economic Review, 78, 59-75.
[21] Hartline, M. D., & Jones, K. C. (1996). Employee performance cues in a hotel service environment: Influence on perceived service quality, value and word of mouth intentions. Journal of Business Research, 35, 207-215. doi:10.1016/0148-2963(95)00126-3
[22] Hovland, C. I., Harvey, O. J., & Sherif, M. (1957). Assimilation and contrast effects in reactions to communication and attitude change. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55, 244-252. doi:10.1037/h0048480
[23] Johnson, J. D., & Meischke, S. F. (1991). Cancer Information: Women’s Source and Content Preferences. Journal of Health Care Marketing, 11, 37-44.
[24] Katz, D. (1960). The functional approach to the study of attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly, 24, 163-204. doi:10.1086/266945
[25] Katz, E., & Lazarsfeld, F. P. (1955). Personal influence; the part played by people in the flow of mass communications. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.
[26] Kay, H. (1990). Fake’s progress. Management Today, 54-59.
[27] Kotler, P., & Bloom, P. H. (1984). Marketing professional services. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[28] Kenneth, G. D. B. (1985). Appeals to image and claims about quality: Understanding the psychology of advertising. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 586-597. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.49.3.586
[29] King, K. W., & Tinkhan, S. F. (1990). The learning and retention of outdoor advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, 29, 47-51.
[30] Lai, K. K., & Zaichkowsky J. L. (1999). Brand imitation: Do the chinese have different views? Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 16, 179-192. doi:10.1023/A:1015482707900
[31] Lazarsfeld, P., Berelson, B., & Gaudet, H. (1948). The people’s choice. New York: Columbia University Press.
[32] Leisen, B., & Alexander, N. (2001). Combating product counterfeiting: an investigation into the likely effectiveness of a demand-oriented approach. In R. Krishnan, & M. Viswanathan (Eds.), AMA Winter Educators’ Conference Proceedings (Vol. 12, pp. 271-277), Chicago: American Marketing Association.
[33] Matos, C. A., Ituassu, C. T., & Rossi, C. A. V. (2007). Consumer attitudes towards counterfeits: A review and extension. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 24, 36-47. doi:10.1108/07363760710720975
[34] McDonald, G., & Roberts, C. (1994). Product piracy: The problem that will not go away. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 3, 55-65. doi:10.1108/10610429410073129
[35] Murray, K. B. (1991). A test of services marketing theory: Consumer information acquisition activities. Journal of Marketing, 55, 10-25. doi:10.2307/1252200
[36] Peters, A., & Rowat, W. C. (2011). Associations between dispositional humility and social relationship quality. Psychology, 2, 155-161. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.23025
[37] Penz, E., & Stottinger, B. (2005). Forget the “real” thing: Take the copy! An explanatory model for the volitional purchase of counterfeit products. In G. Menon, & A. R. Rao (Eds.), Advances in consumer research (Vol. 32, pp. 568-575), Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research.
[38] Rabaglietti, E., Liubicich, M. E., & Ciairano, S (2011). Gender differences in the relationships between physical activity and the psychological and physical self-reported condition of the elderly in a residential care facility. Psychology, 2, 35-41. doi:10.4236/psych.2011.21006
[39] Richins, M. L. (1983). Negative word-of-mouth by dissatisfied customers: A pilot study. Journal of Marketing, 47, 68-78. doi:10.2307/3203428
[40] Sen, S. (2009). Why do consumers buy counterfeit luxury brands? Journal of Marketing Research, 46, 247-259. doi:10.1509/jmkr.46.2.247
[41] Snyder, M. (1974). The self-monitoring of expressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 526-537. doi:10.1037/h0037039
[42] Strandvik, T. (1994). Tolerance zones in perceived service quality. Helsinki: Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration.
[43] Thomas, D. (2007). Terror’s purse strings. The New York Times, 30 August 2007, A23-A23.
[44] Tybout, A. M., Calder, B. J., & Sternthal, B. (1981). Using information processing theory to design marketing strategies. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 73-79. doi:10.2307/3151315
[45] Villanueva, J., Shijin, Y., & Dominique, M. H. (2008). The impact of marketing-induced versus word-of-mouth customer acquisition on customer equity growth. Journal of Marketing Research, 45, 48-59. doi:10.1509/jmkr.45.1.48
[46] Westbrook, R. A. (1987). Product/consumption based affective responses and post-purchase processes. Journal of Marketing Research, 24, 258-270. doi:10.2307/3151636
[47] Wilcox, K., Kim, H. M., & Sen, S. (2009). Why do consumers buy counterfeit luxury brands? Journal of Marketing Research, 46, 247-259. doi:10.1509/jmkr.46.2.247
[48] Wilke, R. (1999). Brand imitation and its effects on innovation, competition, and brand equity. Business Horizons, 42, 9-18. doi:10.1016/S0007-6813(99)80033-0

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.