Whiteboard Tutorial: Network Analysis
Brands are constantly threatened by agile networks of bad actors that can span across countless online channels. Network Analysis technology enables your business to Discover, Prioritize, and Act against these networks wherever they reside, protecting your consumers and your revenue streams.
In this Whiteboard Tutorial, we:
- Explore Network Analysis technology
- Discuss why it is critical for identifying Bad Actor Networks
- Finally, set out the key applications of Network Analysis – Why it is effective for tackling both larger networks and smaller networks of agile operators
An edited version of the Whiteboard transcript can be found below.
Bad Actor Networks – what are they?
Bad actors that are abusing your brands operate much as you do. They use websites, social media, and marketplace listings to reach consumers and operate this as a multi-channel business in the same way that a legitimate business operates. The distinction is that they do not have to play by the rules and can move and shift their businesses quickly across the online space.
You may not be aware of the vast range of “Bad Actor Networks” operating out there impacting your brand. These networks are behind all the counterfeit listings, seller accounts, impersonation on social media, and knock off websites that you have to deal with every day.
Of course, they aren’t all large and complex networks, there are also lots of smaller networks too. It’s therefore vital that you can understand what you’re dealing with and formulate an informed strategy to tackle them.
What is Network Analysis?
Network Analysis discovers, connects, and prioritizes Bad Actor Networks targeting your brands.
Network Analysis is the method used to construct, understand and investigate the relationship between bad actors, their online channels and their offline activity.
By applying this method to the data collected about the threats to your brand, you can reveal how the Bad Actor Networks operate. You can then pinpoint their weaknesses to disrupt them or ensure you know as much about them as possible in order to completely dismantle them.
Why does Network Analysis matter?
Use Network Analysis to understand both the wider threat landscape and what poses the greatest risk to your brands and consumers.
The traditional approach to brand protection has been to target listings, posts and individual websites. Historically, brands have tackled these one at a time unaware of how they fit into the wider landscape online.
It’s likely that you’ve been overwhelmed with hundreds, if not thousands of listings and posts, that reappear not long after you have taken then offline. This ‘data dump’, which relies on you and your team sifting through rows of information, is simply too much to help you understand how to tackle the problem in the most effective way.
By focusing on the way that bad actors use multiple channels to get to consumers, you can start to understand the best way to disrupt their routes to market.
Network Analysis enables you to make the best use of resources to impact these networks and protect your brands.
Teams tasked with protecting their brands never have enough time, money or people to tackle every problem out there. Given these constraints, you need to be able to make good decisions about how you tackle these networks both online and offline.
Many brands will look to Network Analysis as a way to connect both online and offline, as they know that offline cases can be lengthy and expensive. Tying together both online and offline intelligence to decide how to tackle these networks as quickly as possible and with efficient spend of money and time is critical.
What do you need?
- 1. Data – You need to collect, evaluate and collate data. This might be data that you collect about threats online, through searching the web regularly scanning for threats, but it might also be your offline data, gathered as part of your investigations into bad actors. The challenge to overcome here is the scale of the data you might be dealing with. The more threats that you face, the bigger the challenge. That’s where our second essential point comes in….
- 2. Technology – You’ll need to leverage technology to do this kind of data processing at scale. It’s not only about gathering the data, but also about making sure it’s relevant, cleaned up and can be linked together and visualized. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words and this is definitely true here. Being able to see the network as a web of relationships, helps to drive your analysis and show where you have intelligence gaps and further investigation to do.
- 3. People – or more specifically, expertise. Technology and data can get you so far in understanding what you’re dealing with but inevitably you will need online and offline experts to help you discover more intelligence, gather evidence and tackle the network as it evolves in response to your actions and is hopefully dismantled and destroyed. This expertise can help you to understand who to target and where to enforce to get the result you want.
What are the applications of Network Analysis?
Without Network Analysis, your team will be looking at a mass of data about what’s happening to your brand without any indication as to how these accounts relate to each other.
If we used Network Analysis to understand this data, then we would see these networks before we started enforcement and could decide on the tactics we want to use to remove it. The best option would be to take down all 3 domains plus the Facebook page in one go. This is not only efficient as we won’t play whack-a-mole with the various sites and social media accounts but it also has a bigger impact on the bad actor behind this network. Taking down all of their channels at once makes it harder for them to recover.
These examples are simplified for the purpose of this tutorial video, but provide a glimpse of the potential applications for Network Analysis.
Network Analysis give brands insight into the different networks that are impacting their business and consumers. By laying out these networks and enabling them to be compared with each other, we can drive enforcement and investigations in a more informed and impactful way. Brands are empowered to make judgements about where to focus their attention depending on their own specific priorities for their business and consumers.
Network Analysis provides the intelligence vital for brands to be able to have the impact they want when protecting themselves.
If you believe your brand is being exploited by the bad actor networks, consider the right technical and strategic solution for your Brand Protection program.
You can set up a session with one of our experts to discuss the outcomes you want to achieve for your brand.
Whiteboard Tutorial: Bad Actor Networks
Bad Actor Networks pose a high risk to brands online, diverting e-commerce revenues and eroding consumer trust by infiltrating channels across the globe.
In this tutorial, we explore ‘Bad Actor Networks’ in more detail and look at why they often pose the greatest threat to your brand versus individual infringers. Providing real-world examples, we set out about how Network Analysis enables you to take down these operations at scale.