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Sony Deploys Watermarked-Logo Program

Sony notified dealers Friday it is implementing a new Sony Authorized Retailer Logo Program, which will strengthen steps to halt sales of Sony products through unauthorized retailers and e-commerce sites.

In at letter sent to dealers Friday from Sony consumer sales president Jay Vandenbree and obtained by TWICE, the program was created to “strengthen Sony’s greatest assets, the Sony brand, and will continue to strengthen our relationship with our family of authorized retailers.”

He said the effort will allow consumers “to quickly identify the retailers we have hand selected to carry Sony products and to ensure that they do not purchase Sony products at the many unauthorized retailers who are not part of this family,” Vandenbree stated.

The Sony Authorized Retailer logo is watermarked to help the company’s agents identify and track retailers that display the badge without permission.

Sony is encouraging authorized e-commerce dealers to provide the logo to any “comparison shopping Web sites” with which they are affiliated to “distinguish [them] on these shopping portals.”

“Consumers will see a list of retailers and prices for a specific model and this will differentiate you as an authorized Sony retailer,” Vandenbree stated.

The program will supplement the steps taken to combat the proliferation of unauthorized retailers on the Internet, Sony said. Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics U.S. president, told TWICE the company has “shut down” more than 30,000 Internet sites merchandising Sony products in an unauthorized manner over the last year, and “to date these activities have successfully shut down over 15,000 sites, retailers and auctions,” according to Vandenbree’s letter.

Sony said it has “engaged a third party, Net Enforcer, to police the Internet for use of Web Collage materials by unauthorized retailers by its use of software tools to search for watermarked materials,” Sony told dealers.

The company has also increased efforts to stop transshipping activity “to ensure that unauthorized retailers’ source of supply is shut down.”

Authorized dealers will receive window stickers and point of purchase material for retail store locations, and sales representatives will be visiting dealers with further details. Sony said it will also support the effort “with a strong public relations campaign.”