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Hey ADM Community - Need advice in regards to a PPC Ad using our company name.......

Hey Adm`ers need your insight on this one............

Ok here`s the situation;

We are a Volkswagen Dealer; Douglas VW.

Now when you Google Douglas VW you see a competitor running a Pay-Per-Click ad right on top of our name in the organic section of this search.

Now it`s not like they are using Summit VW(as the town) they are literally using our name and Douglas VW is the first thing that you see in the ppc ad. 

When you click the ad, you go right to their website..............

Very misleading if someone is searching for Douglas VW....... obviously.

When contacted the Tier-10 Marketing who handles Volkswagen`s advertising, they stated that this is legal to do............

I don`t see how you can legally(forget morally) use another company`s name when indeed that company also sells the same product as you!~

A few years back I haunted an old dealership that I use to work for utilizing my videos, landing pages & micro-sites by tagging everything appropriately so my digital creations would show up on the first six pages when you Googled their company name. 

However I never actually used Bernardsville VW(The old company I worked for) in any of my creations. Just by utilizing various versions of tags & the town(Bernardsville) in my titles, I caused quite a stir with VW.

So the irony to me is that now this other VW Dealer is doing this via PPC and Volkswagen, as of right now, doesn't really have a definitive answer as to whether this is right or wrong..................

I`d like to hear from all of you especially if you have ever experienced something like this.

Was it legal??????? In my mind the answer is no.............. 


Ken Beam

Tags: Adwords, Google, Keyword, PPC, PPC Bid, SEM, Search Engine Marketing

Views: 1218

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Take a screen shot and send it to your VW rep, also contact and report them.

This happened to a dealer in Houston and the ad company had 10 days to take it down. 

Our client sent the screen shot to all the Kia Dealers and that's when it really got heated up!

Good Luck and let me know how it turns out!

We love playing hard ball with Tier-10! We trumped them in Houston with the Mazda Brand!

Manny if they are broad matching on the term VW or Infiniti there is not much the OEM will do and nothing the assn. can do. 

Thanks Larry,


Manny's advice is correct... Obviously, if you can get the OEM to threaten another dealer with sanctions, that will not only get them to stop, it will also really irritate them! Keep in mind, this situation has happened many times and lawsuits have failed, proving that it is not illegal to bid on keywords that are your competitor's business name. The only reason an OEM can stop your source of irritation in this situation is because you are both franchised VW dealers and the OEM can punish the other dealer if he doesn't do what they tell him to do... (which, by the way, is illegal but usually not enforced)

The good news is that it would be easy for Douglas VW to place your own PPC Google Adwords campaigns, either on your own r using any Google PPC service provider, then have your ads appear on top, or even knock the competitor's ad to the right side of the page. Since your website is the official website of Douglas VW, when you bid within Google Adwords for placement on terms, using "Exact Match" and "Phrase Match" so that you are not bidding on the single keyword "Douglas" or "VW", etc., such correct branded campaign bidding would be on "Douglas VW' and "Douglas Volkswagen" your cost per click will be a fraction of what your competitor is paying. I have seen dealers in the exact same situation get their ads to bump out the competitor's ad for 50 cents a click because they are now bidding on their own name using exact match and phrase match instead of broad match... This brings up another issue...

If your competitor is bidding on the term "Volkswagen" using "Broad Match" bidding, and your dealership is not, then the competitor's ads will appear in the search results at the top of the page when someone searches for "Douglas Volkswagen" and they are geographically located in the area. 

The guy that runs the Tier 10 Google Adwords program is Tim Schmidt and I hired and trained him for the job a couple years ago. He is really good and understands branded PPC search campaigns better than most. You should call Tier 10 Marketing and ask to speak with Tim.  The bottom line is this, if you are not running a Google Adwords campaign, then there is not much you can do about a nearby competitor who is willing to bid on securing your dealership's name in the SERP results... It will cost your dealership a small fraction of what your competitor is paying to knock them off that top listing spot, so if you care enough about it, the cost should not be an issue, because it will be minuscule. I am kind of surprised that Douglas VW does not bd on their brand because Google makes it so artificially cheap to do so.

Hi Ralph - No no...... I get all this......... I certainly realize anyone can bid on your name...... but the question is this.............. is it actually legal to use another company`s name in the actual ad title?????  That is the question my friend.............. 

Ken, I missed the info stating that your competitor is using the Douglas VW dba in their actual ad copy! In my opinion, that changes a lot... Now, speaking as an ultra aggressive Search Advertising practitioner, I have done the very same diabolical tactics that your competitor is using to try stealing traffic from consumers searching for Douglas VW... This tactic is often times intended to deceive consumers. As I am sure you are aware, "Deceptive Advertising Practices" will certainly get the New Jersey Attorney General's attention a heck of a lot quicker than a dealer whining:

"Boo hoo, my competitor across town is buying advertising that I am not, so my customers are seeing his ads instead of my free listings... Wah!!!!"

So, by all means contact your dealership's corporate attorney and have him draft a "Cease and Desist" letter to the offending dealer notifying him that he is engaged in deceptive advertising practices that are intended to divert consumers seeking the Douglas VW website to his competing website by deceiving the consumer into believing that the ad is published by Douglas VW and will take them to the Douglas VW website... When in fact, the deception being perpetrated by the other dealer's Google Adwords Campaign Manager results in the consumer visiting that dealership's website when they intended and the offending sponsored listing indicated, they were on their way to Douglas VW by clicking on the listing which was actually a counterfeit using the great reputation and established business goodwill of Douglas VW to deceive New Jersey consumers...

If your attorney sends the right cease and desist letter, the ads will be taken down the day it is received by the dealer... Believe me, I know because I have down this sort of thing at least a hundred times using my strategy of "Guerilla Marketing"... And, let me just say that I taught Tim at Tier 10 Marketing how to create "Competitive Conquest" campaigns that do some serious damage to the competitor's of Tier 10 dealers who set my Rottweiler-like fraternity brother and leader of the Digital Marketing Team at Tier 10 loose on the competition.  When a dealer instructs my homies to take a competitor's traffic... The job gets done. If the competition is asleep at the wheel and not paying attention, we usually can take half their traffic and divert it to our client's website's and specialized microsites for as long as the other dealer is not tending to their store.

Is this sort of thing "wrong"? I grew up in a ruthlessly competitive fast paced business working for my father, who was well known as a leader in the Produce Business by most Produce Guys throughout North America... He taught me to take your competition down in a choke hold by dominating your local market... When the referee steps in and blows the whistle, you release your grip and go to your corner. When the next round starts, you find another way to do so many customers right by getting them to do business with you, because in the long run the customer is always better off buying from me, rather than my competitor... So, as they say... All is fair in Love, War and Retail.

P.S. - Yes, I have a conscience and always ask who the local "Good Competitors" are versus the few scum bags with bad reputations and notoriously deceptive sales practices... Then I take the scum bag's customers... To save them from that rat bastard across town! Now, go get that Cease and Desist letter to show the offending dealer that Douglas VW is NOT asleep at the wheel when it comes to digital marketing and Search Engine Advertising.


Lastly... If you ever want to absolutely take a big search engine marketing baseball bat to the other dealer, give me a call and I will show you online how to do competitive conquest the RIGHT WAY using the other dealer's business name in your Google sponsored listing to drive a higher Quality Score and bring customers to Douglas VW without deception or creating false perception. I did this for Honda of Seekonk when the GM called me on a Saturday a few years ago and was absolutely fit to be tied because of something that nearby Metro Honda had done... We took between 3 to 5 actual deals from Metro Honda week after week... Using VERY truthful ads that made it clear as day that a Metro Honda buyer could save a lot of money by coming to Honda of Seekonk before taking delivery.

Ralph the competitive name in the ad will only drive higher quality score if it drives higher CTR. Using the name in the landing could help quality score slightly but only slightly. 

The point is to push them off the page. They are not likely getting high conversion from this term it probably would be that hard except that the competing dealer may just like it. 

Yes, Yes. Yes!!!

Love it Ralph!

Ralph a Cease and Desist will have little effect if they are broad matching and if Douglas hasn't trade marked their name. 

Hi Ralph - No no...... I get all this......... I certainly realize anyone can bid on your name...... but the question is this.............. is it actually legal to use another company`s name in the actual ad title????? That is the question my friend..............

Ken, I think you should begin by taking Ralph's advice and calling Tim at Tier 10.  He may be accommodating, or not.  If not, then take it to VW.  Then, if nothing happens, reciprocate.


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