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中国电商网站打击刷单行为

时间:2016-11-26 18:10 点击:

April Chen was one of millions of hopeful buyers logging on to Alibaba’s shopping platforms on November 11, hoping to take advantage of some discounts on Singles Day, China’s biggest online shopping festival of the year.

11月11日,数以百万计的购物者满怀希望地登录了阿里巴巴(Alibaba)的购物平台,希望能获益于中国一年之中最大的网购节日——“光棍节”(Singles Day)。阿普丽尔.陈(April Chen)就是这些购物者中的一员。

The Chongqing native had only intended to buy two items. But when she checked her account on Alibaba site Taobao later, she was in for a shock. In the space of less than a minute, at 11:05am, someone had placed orders for 80 items, everything from a Rmb91 ($13) skateboard, a Rmb1,200 ukulele to a Rmb18,900 oak bed frame. The orders had been placed, but not paid for.

这位重庆人只打算买两件东西。然而,当她随后在阿里巴巴旗下淘宝网(Taobao)查看自己的账号时,却大为震惊。上午11点05分,在不到一分钟的时间里,有人下单购买了80件物品,所购商品包括91元人民币(合13美元)的滑板、1200元人民币的夏威夷四弦琴、1.89万元人民币的橡木床架等各类商品。这些商品已经下单,却并未付款。

Ms Chen had become a victim of “brushing”, an unwanted growth industry in China and a practice that companies such as Alibaba are trying to stamp out. With online sellers under tremendous pressure to rack up sales, especially on Singles Day, many resort to the time honoured practice of placing fake orders. Higher sales mean better placement on ecommerce websites, leading in turn to more sales.

陈女士成了“刷单”现象的受害者,这是中国一个不想要的成长型产业,也是阿里巴巴等公司试图杜绝的现象。面临提振销售的巨大压力(尤其是在光棍节当天),许多在线商家选择了屡试不爽的虚假下单行为。销售的提高意味着电商网站上更有利排名,进而会带来更多销售。

Whoever hacked Ms Chen’s account left a clue for the mysterious behaviour — each order contained a note for the merchant, advertising a unique “promotion” service: “We are a professional Taobao promoter and we cordially invite you to come communicate with us, mutual help in improving shop ranking, order numbers and business development.”

攻破陈女士账号的人为这种神秘行为留下了线索:每个订单都包括了一则留给商家的说明,推销一种独特的“排名提升”服务:“我们是专业的淘宝排名提升团队,我们诚挚邀请您联系我们,共同帮助提升店铺排名、订单数和业务发展。”

Specialised companies — which appear to have victimised Ms Chen — offer the services of what are known in China as “water armies”, capable of making a lacklustre online shop appear a thriving business. Many use bots or, increasingly, hack users accounts and place fake orders. Before Singles Day, regulators had promised to crack down on the practice, but with little success.

使陈女士沦为受害者的,似乎是一些在中国被称为“水军”的专业服务公司,它们能让一家乏人问津的网店显得业务繁忙。其中许多“水军”会使用自动程序或(越来越多地)破解用户账号下虚假订单。光棍节之前,监管机构曾承诺要打击这种行为,不过收效甚微。

“If a company really wants to be successful with online sales, it needs to find a way to improve its on-deck search ranking [on ecommerce platforms],” said Mark Natkin of Marbridge Consulting in Beijing. “The difference between being at the top of a page of results and buried at the bottom is night and day. Brushing is a very tempting shortcut.”

北京迈博瑞咨询(Marbridge Consulting)的马克.纳特金(Mark Natkin)表示:“如果企业真的想在网上销售方面取得成功,就必须想办法提高(在电商平台上)在线搜索的排名。在搜索结果页面的顶端和埋在页面底部有着天壤之别。刷单是一条非常诱人的捷径。”

Partly due to the prevalence of brushing, the impressive numbers that New York listed Alibaba reports every Singles Day have invited scrutiny, including from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. On November 11, Alibaba reported up to $17.8bn in sales over the 24 hours, more than Brazil’s projected ecommerce sales for the entire year, and a 32 per cent increase from the previous year.

部分是由于刷单盛行,在纽约上市的阿里巴巴每年光棍节报出的令人印象深刻的数字都会招致严密关注——甚至包括美国证交会(SEC)的审查。今年11月11日,阿里巴巴在24小时内录得高达178亿美元的销售额,同比增长32%,超过了巴西全年的预期电子商务销售额。

In May, Alibaba said the SEC had queried its reporting of Singles Day numbers. This year, Alibaba said it would hire accounting firm PwC to audit the Singles Day GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) to ensure it was free of fake orders.

今年5月,阿里巴巴表示美国证交会曾问询其对光棍节数据的报告。今年,阿里巴巴表示会聘用会计师事务所普华永道(PwC)来审计光棍节的商品交易总额(GMV),确保该数据的统计中不含虚假订单。

But this is easier said than done. Alibaba and other ecommerce sites play a cat-and-mouse game with “brushers”, as they try to safeguard the reputation of their sales platforms. In order to evade algorithms designed to detect brushing, merchants will go as far as to place orders for each other’s products in what are known as “brushing pools”, and even send each other fake parcels, paying and then cancelling the orders.

不过,说起来容易做起来难。阿里巴巴及其他电子商务网站在试图捍卫其销售平台声誉之际,和“刷单者”玩起了猫鼠游戏。为了规避旨在侦测刷单行为的算法,商家会为彼此的商品下单(这种现象被称为“互刷”),甚至会彼此发送虚假包裹,并在付款后再取消订单。

“Alibaba has no tolerance for the practice of brushing on our platforms,” said Alibaba. “Our system swiftly blocked these orders to protect the affected user.”

阿里巴巴表示:“阿里巴巴对我们平台上的刷单行为持零容忍态度。我们的系统会快速封杀这些订单,以保护受影响用户。”

One small business owner registered with Tmall told the FT that the common procedure for brushing is that merchants publish or give their brushing assignments to professional brushers; then the brusher places orders, makes payments and the merchants will fake an order dispatch online, or send an empty parcel.

在天猫(Tmall)网站上注册的一家小企业的业主告诉英国《金融时报》,刷单的常见流程是,商家向专业刷单者发布或分配刷单任务,刷单者下订单、付款,商家则会伪造发货记录或发出空包裹。

Meanwhile, in a practice that has drawn fire from elsewhere in the industry, many sites like Alibaba and its competitors JD.com and eBay can take a relaxed view of what constitutes a “sale“, making brushing even easier. Some will even count ordering and not paying for a parcel in their sales totals in some cases.

同时,电商普遍存在一种饱受零售业其他领域抨击的行为:阿里巴巴及其竞争对手京东(JD.com)和eBay等许多网站可能对“销售”持较宽松标准,这让刷单变得更加容易。在某些情况下,部分电商甚至会把订单(而不是对包裹的付款)计入总销售额。

Alibaba indicated that it was taking a more conservative approach to Singles Day sales than it takes to GMV — it said the $17.8bn final tally for the day referred to orders “settled through Alipay”, later confirming that this referred only to items that had been paid for.

阿里巴巴指出,该公司对光棍节销售额采取比商品交易总额更保守的统计方法。该公司表示,光棍节178亿美元的最终统计数字是指“通过支付宝(Alipay)结算”的订单;该公司后来确认,该数字仅仅对应于那些已经付款的商品。

This year, Alibaba has stopped publishing quarterly GMV figures — the unaudited measure was getting too much attention and inviting too much controversy, say analysts.

分析师们表示,今年阿里巴巴已不再发布季度商品交易总额数据——此前这一未经审核的数据吸引了太多注意、引发了太多争议。

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