New Month, New Year, New Office
Second chances aren’t a common occurrence in brand protection. In fact, that’s for a reason; we make an effort to ensure that they don’t take place. Once we track down a perpetrator, we keep tabs on them to make sure they don’t continue to engage in their illegal activities. We don’t think criminals should get a second chance to sell their illegal products, however, we do believe in second chances for redemption. And if you’re anything like us, then perhaps January wasn’t all you planned it to be. The good news is you’re in luck: today, February 5th, is Chinese New Year—the perfect opportunity for a second chance at your New Year’s resolutions.
With the gargantuan Asian holiday in mind, we find it fitting that a number of our own resolutions have a deep tie-in with China. As you may have heard by now, we have recently established an extra-special affiliation with China by opening up a new office in Shanghai. Due to the ever-increasing popularity of Chinese online marketplaces, like TaoBao and Alibaba, we saw an opportunity to gain more control over the Asian market. Over the past ten years, we’ve already managed to establish healthy relationships with these online marketplaces, allowing us to efficiently enforce takedown requests in a timely manner. In addition to our strong bonds with the marketplaces themselves, we’re also looking forward to having more direct contact with our clients in Asia now that we have full-time Pointer representatives based there. Though it’s still quite new for us, we consider the expansion a feat of 2018, which is why we’re eager for what lies ahead in 2019.
The Year of the Pig
A little background information: it’s long been speculated that the Chinese New Year was originally associated with the Chinese agricultural cycle. And it’s also called the Lunar New Year because the dates are chosen based upon the cycle of the moon and the earth’s rotation around the sun. A major differentiator between the Gregorian New Year (what most western countries follow) and the Chinese one is that the Chinese New Year follows a 12-year cycle, where each year has a different animal representative. Last year was the Year of the Dog, and next year is the Year of the Rat, but this year we’re welcoming the Year of the Pig. So what exactly does that mean?
Thankfully, the Chinese view of a pig differs greatly from most western perspectives. Unlike the gluttonous, filthy, mud-dwelling swine that we in the western world see, the Chinese see pigs as a symbol of wealth and fortune, above all else. Their stately size is interpreted more as a side-effect of their pleasant indulgence in life’s offerings than it is about gluttony. Basically, the year of the pig is actually supposed to be indicative of a rather positive year ahead.
In a business sense, this means good fortune and more wealth—which we’re more than happy to accept. But we at Pointer, have our sights set on a different year ahead: we’re actively working towards a Year of the Machines.
Year of the Machines
Our business focus for this year is going to be on improving our machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. With our sights set on automating certain parts of our software, we can then focus our attention on analyzing the gathered data and developing more solutions for the new trends that are constantly evolving. The nature of the brand protection business is a little like a cat-and-mouse game. We take down infringers, and those infringers, in turn, adapt to our methods of detection and develop a new strategy that skirts our systems, which then means that we must also constantly adapt. It’s a vicious circle of detect-enforce-adapt, but this year, we’re looking to change that.
Instead of constantly defending with an offense—tracking the infringers based on their listings—we’re looking to analyze all the data we’ve already accumulated and use AI to find clusters, patterns, and trends that will allow us to be ahead of the online perpetrators. We already have some new systems in place in our software, but this year will bring many more developments concerning automation and interpretation of data. Much like the Chinese pig, we’re looking forward to making the most of the year ahead, which will eventually bring us—and more importantly, our clients—the good fortune we’re working towards.