I've written in this space before about MarkMonitor, the self-styled "global leader in enterprise brand protection" that helps fashionable or well-known firms fight fraudsters, counterfeiters, pirates and sundry other ne'er-do-well's. Today the company made available its Site Staydown Service, a sort of big red lever to let clients shut down websites threatening their reputations and income.

The internet is doing interesting things to brands. They've lost some of their mystique (and margin) because everything about them is accessible over a browser. It's easy to track down best prices, details of ultimate owners, even cost of materials and so on. And yet most of us, from Rolex-banded captains of industry to Nike-outfitted urchins remain in thrall to names, symbols and a nameless, ethereal cachet, meaning that those who create cheap knock-offs that appear cosmetically very similar will always prosper, unless we create a police state to rival those of the eastern bloc in the time of the Cold War.

Mark Monitor's press release quotes Deborah Greaves, general counsel of True Religion Brand Jeans (trousers popular with the younger generation, m'lud) as saying "An option like the Site Staydown Service from MarkMonitor provides an effective alternative for brand owners to shut down infringing sites quickly, protecting consumers and reducing the profit potential for fraudsters."

I'm sure it does, but these companies will always be chasing their tails because gullible people never go away and neither do those who seek to exploit them.