Today we are going to discuss how to identify and handle unfair branding of your company by competitors when it comes to Pay Per Click (PPC). If you search for your brand or product name, you might be surprised by finding PPC advertisers bidding on your keyword.
Is that legal? Unfortunately, yes. Google allows advertisers to purchase trademarks as keywords in their PPC campaigns, saving them money because company/product names cost much less then the general terms and are much more targeted. Anyone can use the competitors’ keywords, even those trademarked, BUT: they cannot use that keyword or those keywords in their ads!
For example, let’s say that Brand A is a competitor to Brand B. Legally, Brand A could purchase a PPC deal using the keyword ”Brand B” and tout how great Brand A is. However, what they cannot do is use ”Brand B” in the actual text like ”Get a much superior product to Brand B with Brand A!” The reason is that these advertisers are actually stealing the traffic from the brand/product owners. Whenever you actually see your trademarked keyword used in the ad title or description or even URL of that PPC ad, go ahead and file a complaint against that advertiser in Google. This is very easy to do. Just follow this link:
You can also read about dealing with it directly from Google.
Google will require the advertiser to remove the trademark and prevent them from using it in ad text in the future.
While you might be tempted to fight back and get nasty in your ads against your competitors, the more prudent course of action is to let them hang themselves with such shady practices. The companies practicing this are among those who not only disrespect their competitors, break Google Adwords rules or not competent enough to know them, but also are apparently afraid of you. Take it as a sign of the good work on your brand awareness.
All you need to do is file a complaint and rest assured Google would deal with it. ”Don’t Be Evil” is their motto. Meanwhile, you might want to write a nice letter to those advertisers asking them to kindly remove those ads. Again, take the high road. Dishonest companies will always ultimately find a way to hurt themselves which such tactics so focus on how to beat them the right way and not fall into the revenge trap. As they say, revenge is a dish always best served cold.
Until next time.
Director, Online Marketing
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