23.11.2023 | Latest update: 10.01.2024 | by Lili
“Veni, vidi, vici.” This famous quote by Julius Caesar (“I came, I saw, I won”) could very well apply to Chinese e-Commerce app Temu as well. Launched in September 2022 as China-based e-Commerce giant Pinduoduo’s shopping app for international markets, Temu has taken its audience by storm.
Starting from $3 million in September 2022, Temu’s GMV has reached an impressive $1 billion by June 2023. Over 250 million users have downloaded the app by November 2023, mainly in the US (>100 million) and the UK (>75 million). Temu is available in several other countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Temu is a mobile-first marketplace, encouraging users to download and shop from their cell phone app. However, temu.com is also available for customers wishing to shop from a desktop computer.
Similarly to Wish, AliExpress and its greatest competitor, SHEIN, Temu offers products from mainly Chinese producers at heavily discounted prices. In addition, the marketplace often runs flash sales with even further discounts and offers personalized shopping suggestions to customers based on their previous purchases.
Screenshot of temu.com displaying random product listings at discounted prices
It’s important to note that Temu itself is not a seller, it only provides a platform for third party sellers to reach customers. Merchants wishing to work with Temu need to sign up as a seller, create their online store and start publishing product listings.
Temu requires sellers to provide their name, address, phone number and tax information. However, customers only see the shop’s chosen name and an unchecked address the seller had given to Temu, which makes it less transparent and more dangerous for shoppers.
Screenshot of a random shop’s information on temu.com
Temu’s seller dashboard helps vendors with marketing, shipping options (Temu works with international carriers like FedEx and UPS), sales data analytics and more.
The marketplace has an Intellectual Property Policy, prohibiting sellers from offering items that infringe on somebody else’s IP rights.
Although Temu states that it’s not responsible for the content of product listings uploaded by sellers, the platform promises a quick response to IP infringement claims. And a good thing it does, because there have been many allegations against Temu sellers for copying Amazon product listings, selling fake sneakers or counterfeit Apple products and much more.
But now it seems that Temu is getting a taste of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an IP infringement.
Temu has launched a lawsuit in the US against fakeshops impersonating the popular shopping app. Apparently, fraudsters have started luring consumers to fakeshops that mimic Temu’s domain and design. Consumers, believing they’re shopping on Temu, pay for inferior products that may or may not arrive, while fraudsters get their hands on shoppers’ sensitive financial data.
Thanks to today’s technology, it only takes a few minutes to create a website that looks like it belongs to a trusted brand. Unfortunately, fraudsters use this opportunity to steal any sensitive data of their unsuspecting victims.
+++Update Winter 2023/24+++
In late 2023 Temu announced two initiatives aimed at strengthening security. The marketplace introduces two-factor authentication to add another layer of security to user accounts.
In addition, Temu launched a Bug-Bounty Programme with HackerOne, a collective of ethical hackers. This programme offers a financial incentive to ethical hackers to detect vulnerabilities in the marketplace’s systems so they can be patched before cybercriminals could find and abuse them.
Late November, Temu’s name came up in connection with a well-known type of scam: fraudulent delivery messages. Consumers in Germany have been getting notifications about an alleged package waiting for them with their latest Temu order in the warehouse. All they needed to do was follow a link to a website and verify their address. Amongst the recipients were consumers who have previously shopped at Temu, and also people who have never bought anything from the marketplace.
As the link has since then become unavailable, it’s hard to say what exactly the fraudsters demanded from consumers. However, police speculate that it most likely led to a phishing website trying to steal people’s sensitive personal and financial data, or possibly to some kind of malware.
Fakeshops often come up in the world of online brand protection. We at globaleyez have seen them in all shapes and sizes, masquerading as legitimate third party sellers on well-known marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, social media platforms like Facebook, or running single webshops thanks to services like Shopify.
In fact, quite a few of our services are geared at detecting and removing fakeshops from the internet. Keyword-based searches of domains, meta descriptions and html text lead our domain monitoring service to websites, including single webshops, that use your chosen keywords (e.g. your brand or product name) without your consent. And since fakeshops often rely on advertisements online, a round of image monitoring extends the search into the world of pictures to detect IP infringing ads and any other imagery fraudsters use to draw in customers.
Finally, once we’ve determined that an online shop is indeed infringing on your IP rights, we enforce your rights and demand its removal from the internet.
Lawsuits, like Temu’s legal action against fakeshops are an essential part of the fight against IP infringing fraudsters. However, a lawsuit is not your only weapon to safeguard your IP rights. Contact us today and discover how we can protect your brand!