2012. Vol.3, No.3, 289-295
Published Online March 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 289
Understanding Word-of-Mouth in Counterfeiting
Meei-Ying Lan1, Fangyi Liu1*, Cheng-Hsi Fang2, Tom M. Y. Lin1
1Department of Busines s A dministration, Natio n a l Taiwan University of Sci e nc e a nd Technology,
Taipei, Chinese Taipei
2Department of Marketing a nd D is t ribution Management, Ching Yun University, Zhongl i C it y, Chinese Taipei
Email: *
Received December 30th, 20 11; revised February 1st, 2012; accepted March 2 nd, 2012
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 ex-
change 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 ex-
plore 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 mar-
keting 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 mar-
keters of brand products.
Keywords: Counterfeiting; Word-of-Mouth; Tie Strength; Purchase Drivers
Counterfeiting is a significant and growing problem world-
wide, occurring both in less and well developed countries. In
the USA economy, the cost of counterfeiting is estimated to be
up to $200 billion per year (Chaudhry et al., 2005). Considering
the countries worldwide, almost 5 percent of all products are
counterfeit, according to the International Ant counterfeiting
Coalition (IACC, 2005) and the International Intellectual Prop-
erty Institute (IIPI, 2003). The global market for counterfeits
today is estimated to exceed $600 billion, accounting for ap-
proximately 7% of world trade (World Customs Organization
2004). Counterfeit products didn’t use any media advertisement
still products can be sold in large quantities. Moreover, coun-
terfeiting has also been linked to the growing global threats of
narcotics, weapons, human trafficking, and terrorism (Thomas
Consumers have a natural instinct to tell others about products
they have purchased and services they have used and they usu-
ally discuss their likes and dislikes with their friends and family
about known brands. Base on researchers have examined the
conditions under which consumers are likely to rely on others’
opinions to make a purchase decision, word-of-mouth (WOM)
is expected to have much more influence, still we cannot find
any research that mention any role of WOM on influencing
consumer attitudes towards buying these products. Although
role of WOM has been studied for many years for brand or well
known products, limited attention has been given to explore the
role of WOM in counterfeiting. Furthermore, there are other
researchers who have worked on the power of word of mouth
and its influence on purchase decision (e.g. Bansal & Voyer,
2000) still there is no research addressing the influence of word
of mouth in the context of purchasing counterfeit products.
This research on the role of WOM in counterfeiting is re-
quired for five reasons. First, counterfeits do not use any media
advertisement. So, how do people locate counterfeits? Does
WOM have any significant role on locating counterfeits? Sec-
ond, WOM is a powerful influence of consumer behavior. Do
people recommend buying counterfeit products? Third, WOM
is often the major reason for any product choice, but we do not
yet understand how Positive WOM and Negative WOM con-
tribute to the influence on buying counterfeits. Fourth, once
product is counterfeit, what kind of WOM (positive/negative)
has more powerful impact on purchase probability? Fifth, what
factors can influence consumer evaluation of non-deceptive
counterfeits? In the remainder of this paper, the methodology
adopted for this investigation will be described. This will be
followed by a presentation of the results of the investigation.
The paper will conclude with a discussion of the outcomes of
the survey.
Literature Review
Understandi ng Counterf e it ing
Counterfeiting is a process which involves the production of
copies which are identically packaged, including trademarks
and labeling copies so as to seem to a consumer to be the genu-
ine article (Key, 1990). Any unauthorized manufacturing of
goods whose special characteristics are protected as intellectual
property rights (trademarks, patents and copyrights) constitutes
product counterfeiting (Cordell et al., 1996; Chaudhry et al.,
2005). Counterfeit goods are illegal, low-priced, and often
lower-quality replicas of products that typically possess high
brand value (Lai & Zaichkowsky, 1999).
*Corresponding author. Counterfeits are available quite extensively, and with a num-
ber of forms of deception. For some counterfeit brands, con-
sumers do not know that they are not genuine when they are
purchased called deceptive counterfeits while for others, con-
sumers are fully aware that they are buying non-genuine brands
known as non-deceptive counterfeits (Grossman & Shapiro,
1988). The quality of counterfeits varies according to product.
Some counterfeit products are so good that even the brand
owners are not able to distinguish them from genuine products
without the help of laboratory tests, while others are very poor
and easily distinguished.
Attitude towards Counterfeits
Consumer intentions to buy counterfeited products are de-
pendent on the attitudes they have toward counterfeits, which in
turn are more influenced by perceived risk, whether consumers
have bought a counterfeit before, subjective norm, integrity,
price-quality inference and personal gratification (Ashdown et
al., 2011; Maltos et al., 2007). Consumers’ preferences for a
counterfeit brand and the subsequent negative change in their
preferences for the real brand are greater when their luxury
brand attitudes serve a social-adjustive rather than a value-
expressive function (Wilcox et al, 2009). When consumers have
a social-adjustive attitude toward a product, they are motivated
to consume it to gain approval in social situations. Conversely,
attitudes serving a value expressive function (i.e., value-ex-
pressive attitudes) help people communicate their central be-
liefs, attitudes, and values to others (Katz, 1960). When con-
sumers hold a value expressive attitude toward a product, they
are motivated to consume it as a form of self-expression (Sny-
der & De Bono, 1985). Social-adjustive attitudes toward luxury
brands will motivate consumers to consume such products for
form- or image-related reasons, whereas value expressive atti-
tudes toward luxury brands will motivate them to consume such
products for product function or, more specifically, quality-
related reasons. Thus, compared with value-expressive attitudes,
social-adjustive attitudes toward luxury brands should be asso-
ciated with a greater preference for counterfeit brands because
these are designed to look like luxury brands (i.e., high resem-
blance in terms of product form) but are typically associated
with lesser quality (i.e., low resemblance in terms of product
Factors of Purchasing Counterfeits
Previous research on purchasing counterfeits has connected
with many factors, which Eisend and Schuchert-Guler (2006)
classify into four categories. The first category labeled “person”
includes demographic and psychographic variables, as well as
attitudes toward counterfeiting. For example, consumers who
purchase counterfeit products are of lower social status (Bloch
et al., 1993; Peters & Rowat, 2011) and have more favorable
attitudes toward counterfeiting (Penz & Stottinger, 2005). Re-
search linking consumers’ beliefs about counterfeits to their
purchase behavior (e.g., Gentry et al., 2006; Rabaglietti et al.,
2011) also falls under this category. The second category fo-
cuses on aspects of the product, such as price, uniqueness, and
availability. Not surprisingly, consumers’ likelihood of buying
a counterfeit brand is inversely related to the price of the genu-
ine brand. The third and fourth categories refer to the social and
cultural context in which the counterfeit purchase decision is
made, ranging from cultural norms (Chang et al, 2011; Lai &
Zaichkowsky, 1999) to the shopping environment (Leisen &
Nill, 2001). For example, consumers are likely to purchase a
counterfeit brand when they react more favorably to the shop-
ping environment. Most of the authors who had written about
counterfeiting focused on above mentioned factors.
Understanding Word-of-Mouth
WOM is defined as oral, person-to-person communication
between a receiver and a communicator whom the receiver per-
ceives as non-commercial, regarding a brand, product or service
(Arndt, 1967). WOM communications is defined as informal
communications directed at other consumers about the owner-
ship, usage, or characteristics of particular goods and services
and/or their sellers (Westbrook, 1987). The exchange of opin-
ions among people about products and services has been widely
researched during recent years.
From a marketing perspective, WOM can be either positive
or negative. Positive WOM occurs when good news testimoni-
als and endorsements desired by the company are uttered.
Negative WOM is the mirror image (Buttle, 1998). It has often
been reported that WOM has a significant influence on con-
sumers’ decisions to adopt a new product when WOM is posi-
tive (Rogers, 2003; Sheth, 1971) and to switch from the product
or brand when receiving negative information or rumors (Bone,
Impact of WO M
WOM has been shown to influence a variety of conditions:
awareness, expectations, perceptions, attitudes, behavioral in-
tentions and behavior (Buttle, 1998) and WOM was more im-
portant than advertising in raising awareness of an innovation
and in securing the decision to try the product (Sheth, 1971).
Day (1971) inferred that this was due to source reliability and
the flexibility of interpersonal communication. He computed
that WOM was nine times as effective as advertising at con-
verting unfavorable or neutral predispositions into positive
WOM has a more emphatic influence on the purchasing de-
cision than other sources of influence (Mangold’s, 1987). This
is perhaps because personal sources are viewed as more trust-
worthy (Murray, 1991). In the industrial purchasing context,
WOM influences expectations and perceptions during the in-
formation search phase of the buying process and influences
attitude during the pre-choice evaluation of alternative service
providers (Lynn, 1987; Stock & Zinsner, 1987; Woodside et al.,
1992). The influence of WOM on expectations has been re-
ported that WOM communication have strongest impact on
quality expectation (Webster, 1991; Zeithaml et al., 1993).
Inference of Literature Review
Based on Buttle’s research (Buttle 1998), we would expect
that WOM is more powerful than advertising. This might be
one of the reasons to sell counterfeits without using any adver-
tizing media. But in counterfeit case, WOM is expected to play
significant role, still no attempts have been taken in this field.
Wilcox et al. (2009) provided convergent evidence that con-
sumers’ desire for counterfeit brands rests on the extent to
which such brands fulfill the social goals guiding their luxury
brand preferences. Although he provided some evidence that
influence consumer intention to purchase counterfeit products
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
but he didn’t mention any evidence of the role of WOM on in-
fluencing consumer desire.
Even if Wilcox et al. (2009) found one of the main reason
(i.e. social-adjustive ) for buying counterfeit products which
shows that consumer knows very well that the product is coun-
terfeit and still buy it to adjust in the society. In order to adjust
in the society one must feel comfortable of using the products.
If counterfeit purchase is for social-adjustive purpose they will
share their opinion in the society. Wilcox et al. didn’t mention
anything about feedbacks or opinion sharing among counterfeit
The earliest study on the effectiveness of WOM was survey
based (Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955) and was followed by more
than 70 marketing studies, most of them also inferring WOM
from self-reports in surveys (Godes & Mayzlin, 2004). Re-
searchers have examined the conditions under which consumers
are likely to rely on others’ opinions to make a purchase deci-
sion, the motivations for different people to spread the word
about a product, and the variation in strength of people’s influ-
ence on their peers in WOM communications (Fang et al.,
2011). Moreover, customers who self-report being acquired
through WOM add more long-term value to the firm than cus-
tomers acquired through traditional marketing channels (Vil-
lanueva et al., 2008). Counterfeiting firms do not acquire any
traditional marketing channel. Most of the information is ex-
pected to pass through WOM. If the research views are true
then consumers of counterfeit products should have long-term
value to the counterfeiting firms.
All the PWOM and NWOM research that has been discussed
above are either focused on purchase of brand or well known
products. Once the product is counterfeit, the impact of PWOM
and NWOM may have different result. We will also try to find
the impact of PWOM and NWOM in the context.
There could be many methods to understand the role of
WOM on counterfeit products. One method is to measure Inter-
net postings about brands and their subsequent sales perfor-
mance (e.g., Godes & Mayzlin, 2004). East, Hammond and
Lomax (2008) explained that there is problem with this method
because there may be little correspondence between the content
of consumer-generated media and face-to-face advice. One is
not necessarily typical of the other, and the large amount of
face-to-face advice is likely to be the dominant influence on
consumption. A second method is to use laboratory experi-
ments to investigate the response to information on familiar
brands. This method is not suitable once we use counterfeit
brand because the views on counterfeit products may vary dra-
matically based on people culture, income level and society.
Other techniques that may be used include role-play experi-
ments and surveys. Since, there are many methods available,
author found that survey is the best method that can explain the
role of WOM in counterfeiting. By using survey method we can
understand the power of WOM in counterfeiting as well as the
impact of positive or negative word of mouth on counterfeits
buying intention. This paper is preceded by reviews of relevant
research and followed by a discussion of findings.
The study was conducted in India and Taiwan. Asia is wit-
nessing a spectacular rise in prosperity and a scurry among
luxury fashion brands to enter or expand in these markets
(Commuri 2009). For example, India stands second only to
Singapore in the rise of its number of millionaires. Brands such
as Brioni, Chanel, Escada, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Valentino,
Versace, and iphones, have all recently entered the Indian mar-
ket, and others are reported to be actively considering such a
move. At the same time, fashion brands encounter some of their
worst abuse in Asia (Ibison, 2006). Both India and Taiwan have
long histories of trafficking in counterfeits. The questionnaire
were first developed in English for India and then translated
into Chinese for Taiwan. There were 75 questionnaires from
India and 1 questionnaire from Taiwan that was unusable and
eliminated. Counterfeit mobile phone (for India) and counterfeit
bag (for Taiwan) is used as a product category for this study.
This choice was made because these products are widely avail-
able in counterfeit form in both countries and was perceived to
be a product that consumers buy after some thoughts.
Questionnaires were delivered by hand as well as through
email without using any incentives. It covered a range of issues,
and the relevant questions are shown in Appendix A (English
Version) and Appendix B (Chinese Version). The question-
naires were basically categorized into six parts. In the first part,
the respondents were asked whether they know any place to
buy counterfeit p r oducts. If yes, we would like to know whether
WOM has any significant role in locating counterfeit products.
In the second part, the responded were asked to state their
opinion and select reasons behind buying counterfeit products.
In third and fourth part they were asked if they had received
positive and negative advice in the last one year about counter-
feit products. Whether they had received PWOM/NWOM or
not they were asked to show their degree of change in their
prospective of buying counterfeits before and after they receive
PWOM/NWOM. The fifth part of the questionnaire was built to
understand the attitude of the people towards counterfeit. It will
make us understand the moral issues. The last and sixth part
describes gender, age, education and income level of the re-
spondent that may have some relevant relationship towards
attitude and purchase of counterfeit after receiving WOM.
The instrument adopted in the second and fifth part of the
questionnaire comprising Likert-type five item scales with end-
anchors (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). The other
questions in part third and fourth allowed to establish: 1) how
strongly expressed the advice was; 2) whether the communi-
cator was close to or distant from the receiver; 3) whether the
advice was about the counterfeits; 4) whether the advice was
sought or not; and 5) how much advice on the category was
given by the respondent. We also noted age and gender and
income. All statistical analyses were conducted using SPSS
version 19 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, Ill). Results were considered
statistically significant if the two-tailed P value was <0.05.
Role of WOM in Locating Counterfeits
WOM provides the opportunity to products to share infor-
mation in setting direct attention. Out of 170 valid respondent,
99 (58%) claimed that they have never bought counterfeits
while 71 (42%) admitted that they have bought counterfeit
Table 1 shows the results on sources of information in find-
ing counterfeits location. 70.6% respondent said that they know
the place because they had heard it from their friends or family.
This shows that WOM is the main source of locating counter-
feit products. It does not require any media channel, the infor-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 291
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 1.
Sources of information in f inding location.
Source Frequency
(n = 170) Percentage India
(n = 96)Taiwan
(n = 74)
Friend/Family 84 70.6% 83.6%50.0%
Night market/Footpath 50 42.0% 23.3%71.7%
Internet 46 38.7% 38.4%39.1%
News paper/Magazine 12 10.1% 11.0%8.7%
Leaflet 10 8.4% 9.6%6.5%
Television 9 7.6% 5.5%10.9%
Others 2 1.7% 0.0%4.3%
mation passes from friends or family is enough to locate the
market place. The other sources remain very limited to offer
information to locate counterfeits. In India, 54.3% people ac-
cepted that they had bought the counterfeit products from gene-
ral shops while in Taiwan; most of the respondent (57.9%)
believe that hot place to buy these products is night market or
footpath. Our survey shows that general shops in India and
night markets in Taiwan are the major places where people go
to buy counterfeit products. Overall result shows that WOM is
the main channel of passing information to locate counterfeit
Counterfeiting Drivers
Table 2 shows that the most important driver of buying non
deceptive counterfeit is the price difference between original
brand and the counterfeit brand. We found products fashionable
as the second important driver of buying counterfeits. This
support Wilcox et al. (2009) research findings that consumers’
preferences for a counterfeit brand are greater when it serve
social-adjustive function rather than value-expressive function.
Once products are fashionable, it motivates consumers to con-
sume such products for form or image related reasons. Al-
though products qualities are low but they are designed to looks
like original brand. Friends or family recommendations for
purchasing non-deceptive counterfeit brands cannot not consi-
dered as the main driver. It seems that people already has clear
concept about counterfeits quality and don’t want to get im-
pressed by WOM. In other words WOM does not play as ac tive
as price difference between counterfeits and original brand to
influence consumers. The drivers of buying non deceptive
counterfeit products are shown with their mean in Table 2.
Information Channel and Tie Strength
There were 74.1% respondents who agreed that they had re-
ceived PWOM while 74.7% had received NWOM for more
than once in a year. This result provides answer to our second
question (whether people recommend buying non-deceptive
counterfeits?) and proved that referral marketing does work for
counterfeit products. Figure 1 also shows that most receivers
do not seek for the information while it is given without seek-
Because referral behavior is a social phenomenon, properties
of social relations are likely to have a crucial role in its occur-
rence. A consumer’s social relations with others typically in-
clude a spectrum of ties from strong (very familiar) to weak
(not familiar at all).Most of customer who received either
PWOM or NWOM on counterfeits shows strong tie (PWOM
strong tie = 75%, NWOM strong tie = 59.8%). It shows that
customer who received information was passed from their very
close relatives or friends. Moreover, strong ties do not show
any relevant relation with WOM intensity on counterfeits re-
Table 2.
Counterfeiting drivers.
Counterfeiting drivers
Driver Strongly disag ree (1) Disagree (2) Neutral (3) Agree (4) Strongly Agree (5) Mean
Fascinating with original brand 8.8 14.7 25.9 43.5 7.1 3.25
Good previ ous experience 5.9 17.2 34.9 34.9 7.1 3.2
Decorate social position 10.6 24.7 13.5 40.6 10.6 3.16
Friends/family reco mmendation 7.1 25.3 27.6 34.7 5.3 3.06
Quality is not ba d 4.7 32.4 28.8 30.6 3.5 2.96
Good product design 9.4 28.2 28.8 30.6 2.9 2.89
Fashionable 20.6 27.6 10.6 37.1 4.1 2.76
Low price 27.6 27.1 4.7 25.3 15.3 2.74
India Taiwan
Driver Mean Std. Mean Std. t p-value
Low price 1.60 0.72 4.20 0.72 -23.35 0.0 0
Quality is not bad 2.52 0.91 3.53 0.76 -7.68 0.00
Good previous experience 3.21 1.10 3.19 0.86 0.11 0.91
Good pro duct design 2.71 1.09 3.14 0.91 -2.77 0.01
Fashionable 2.27 1.18 3.41 1.06 -6.49 0.00
Friends/family recommendation 3.22 1.05 2.85 1.02 2.30 0.02
Decorate social position 3.70 1.01 2.46 1.11 7.50 0.00
Fascinatin g with original bra nd 3.11 1.09 3.43 1.03 -1.92 0.06
14.7 10.1
1.Just given2.Asked3.Both
1.Just given2.Asked3.Both
PWOM (%) NWOM (%)
Figure 1.
Information channel (PWOM); Information channel (NWOM).
Impact of PWOM a nd NWOM
Tables 3 and 4 shows the impact of positive and negative
advice in the context of counterfeit products. Mean responses
from PWOM and NWOM are shown in the last column of each
Difference in the mean shows that PWOM and NWOM has
significant role in affecting decision of customer. Mean differ-
ence of PWOM which is 0.71 while mean differe nce of NWOM
is 0.34. Since mean difference of PWOM is greater than mean
difference of NWOM, we can conclude that PWOM is more
effective in changing customer decision to purchase counter-
feits. From this result we can also conclude that PWOM has
more impact over NWOM for counterfeit goods.
Attitude and Ethical Issues
Attitude serve several psychological functions, such as help-
ing people organize and structure their environment, attain
rewards and avoid punishments and maintain their self-esteem.
In the context of counterfeits purchase, consumer evaluation is
an important predictor of his/her intention to buy as well as
how much agreement about his behavior he/she receives from
his/her reference group. Based on our survey, unfair price of the
original brand motivates consumer attitude to go for counter-
feits. 86.5% believes that price of original brands are too high.
Consumer purchase of a counterfeit is not a criminal act, but
greater number of respondent (48.8%) believes that it is illegal
to buy counterfeits while 32.9% stay with their neutral view
and very few respondents (18.2%) do not think it is an illegal
act. Consumers perceiving that their friends/family approve
their behavior of buying a counterfeit will have favorable atti-
tude towards counterfeits. Most respondents believe that it is an
immoral or unethical act and once they buy these products their
friends/family will look down on him. The unfavorable atti-
tudes and strong NWOM toward counterfeits may keep cus-
tomer away from buying these products.
Comparing India with Taiwan, people in India typically hold
a more positive attitude toward counterfeit products. They feel
more comfortable on using counterfeit and believe there’s no
difference between original brand and counterfeit.
Discussion and Implication
The authors all agree that there is no better advertising than
word of mouth. After all, a customer who calls you, following a
personal recommendation from a friend or colleague is more
likely to buy (Gordon, 2006). By this, it can be concluded that
Table 3.
Decision change (PWOM).
Decision change
Low LowNeutralHigh Very
High Mean t p-value
PWOM 22.336.135.54.8 1.2 2.17
PWOM 7.4 21.528.834.4 8.0 2.88
–10.72 0.00
Table 4.
Decision change (NWOM).
Decision change
Low LowNeutralHigh Very
High Mean t p-value
NWOM 19.021.548.59.2 1.8 2.34
NWOM 30.035.630.04.4 0 2.00
6.152 0.00
this traditional concept of WOM is very effective even today
and most probably it will be important in future. In most cases,
research of WOM has been done by focusing famous brands or
known products. This research is unique because the author
focuses on the counterfeit products.
Although counterfeit market has grown worldwide, research
on WOM advertisement for counterfeit remains scarce. In order
to fill this void, this paper aimed to investigate the role of
WOM in counterfeiting for several reasons.
First, based on previous question mentioned in the introduc-
tion part of this paper, the authors found that WOM has sig-
nificant role in locating counterfeit products. Whether counter-
feit products are sold at street vendors, night markets, general
shops or internet auction sites, most of customers receive in-
formation from their very close acquaintances. It also shows
people like to talk and spread information in their familiar
Second, previous research on counterfeiting identified prod-
uct price, vendor characteristics, social, cultural, demographics,
and psychographic as drivers and moderating consumers inten-
tion to purchase counterfeit products. For this study, authors
identified WOM as a unique driver that should be included to
determine purchase intention. Although we cannot find WOM
as main motivator to go for counterfeit brands but we can find
that WOM become the main source of information for these
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 293
kinds of products. There are a number of parties who want to
put counterfeiting and piracy under control, or even totally
terminate it. Unless the problem is understood clearly, the im-
plications for genuine brands are clearly far-reaching. It is
therefore important to understand the information channels of
counterfeit brands. Once we discover how people think, react,
speak and refer these products, it will help strategy maker to
come with some effective majors to overcome the problem of
Third, purchase probability (in the direction indicated by the
WOM) is limited by the Pre purchase probability, which could
favor the impact of either PWOM or NWOM. East et al. (2008)
discovered that PWOM has more impact than NWOM for
brand purchase probability. Similarly, for counterfeit brand,
PWOM has more impact than NWOM. It shows consumers
perceive PWOM more reliable together with price priority. It
also indicates that a place where there is more PWOM than
NWOM for counterfeit brand, customer will go for counterfeits.
We know that negative publicity is expected due to its low
quality and negative acceptance in society. This might be the
reason that NWOM has less impact on consumer. Understand-
ing that PWOM is more effective than NWOM can help policy
makers or managers of international brands to understand this
trend and impl e ment best strategy to discourage consumpt ion of
counterfeits and protect the original brand.
At last, the customer who has bought counterfeit has more
favorable attitudes when compared to those who have not. This
is a real threat for the original brands, because once consumers
experiment the counterfeit, they tend to have a favorable atti-
tude and then have a positive behavioral intentions (Matos,
Ituassu, & Rossi 2007). It is also connected with the ethical
issues. In this case marketers should try to influence consumer
personality, such as integrity, although this is the most difficult
to change, encouraging consumers to consider values as re-
sponsibility and h o n e s ty in their life.
Limitation and Further Research
This research was conducted with a sample of undergraduate
and graduate students of National Taiwan University of Science
and Technology in Taiwan, common people walking in mobile
shops in New Delhi and some of the author’s online friends.
There is little reason to believe that the relations of students’
behavioral responses to the functions served by their attitudes,
including the extent to which they rely on their moral beliefs,
will differ significantly from other relevant population. Al-
though this sample frame helped control for some factors, it
does not provide the ability to extrapolate to other populations.
Counterfeiting is a worldwide problem. Survey with more di-
vergent societies and countries might have been taken to under-
stand complete role of WOM among people of diverse attitude.
Despite the interesting findings, this study has taken into
consideration of only two product category i.e. counterfeit bangs
and counterfeit mobile phones. There are many categories of
brands such as watches, camera, clothes etc. that has been coun-
terfeited. Respondents may have bought a counterfeit product
that is not mentioned in the survey questionnaire. Once we take
more products category in consideration, people opinion and
referral may change and may have different impact.
The other possible limitation is the fact that the result might
alter if author have adopted different methodology or different
sample size. Considering, for example, that studies come from
different sources, such as dissertations and papers published in
journals of different quality, decisions related to design, data
collection, and analyses could have an influence on the ob-
tained results. Unfortunately, these factors are difficult, if not
impossible, to control in the context of role of WOM in coun-
Future Research Direction
Future research should further discover the role of WOM in
counterfeiting by integrating the prospective of the WOM re-
cipient and WOM giver. An extension to this approach could
include variables such as source credibility, source attractive-
ness, message congruence, message repetition, situational in-
volvement of the recipient and risk perceived by the recipient.
These variables should be relevant in understanding how the
received WOM influences customers’ propensity to pass the
information to others about counterfeit products.
Another aspect worthy of future investigation in the affective
mechanisms related to the situations in which customer provide
either positive or negative WOM based on their personal atti-
tudes towards counterfeits. Correspondingly, future investiga-
tions about WOM and its relationship with counterfeits satis-
faction and loyalty could be extended to include specific emo-
tions such as anger, regret, frustration, in order to understand
the likely emotional and behavioral aspect of negative WOM
when compared to the more cognitive positive WOM.
Future research can also try to examine buying behavior
based on referral regarding counterfeits products that have
various degrees of involvement in more than two countries.
The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for
your valuable comments and suggestions, and the correspond-
ing author Fangyi Liu can be contacted at:
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