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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: 1255

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

There is absutely no legal precedence to prevent any business from bidding on your name. The good news is you'll always get the cheaper click because you are more relevant.

While it may seem like a big slap in the face and big deal. It's really not (a big deal). If they want to waste budget on conquesting that way, let them. I highly doubt they'll garner that many clicks and if they do it will likely result in a high bounce rate.

Google frowns on it and that means it's an expensive click for them. Don't sweat it one bit. Think about it...if a shopper is performing a search for your business by name, how likely are they, really, to click your competitor?

It's also an indicator their provider may not be the best. DO NOT BUY THEIR NAME IN RETURN!!!! You'd be wasting ad dollars. There are many other more effective uses of your SEM budget!

One other thing of note, if your are continually performing live searches and not clicking your ad, it tells Google your ad isn't relevant and will show another ad. NEVER EVER perform live searches. Use AdWords Preview Tool for the truest results without effecting your own campaign negatively.

Good advice Britt! Thanks a lot! 

I'm so glad Britt Hoffmann knows the true ROI! I agree with him 100%!

Great advice Ralph Paglia!

This is coming from two true SEM marketers!

I agree with both of them 100%!

Lets sell some cars!

Manny has the right idea here.  We haven't done this with VW but we have done this with a few other brands.  The only way to stop it that we were successful with was to complain to the manufacturer, VW, in this case.

If your VW rep doesn't take it seriously enough, show other VW dealers that the competitor is also bidding on their name.  That will light a fire.

Bingo Carl Maeda! Now you have a win/win/win!

Ken, what they are doing, actually using your company's name in their PPC ad is not allowed by Google. Google does not want their users to be misled and that's exactly what is happening here. I am surprised they have not caught them posting one name and sending them to a different URL. I would alert Google and your VW rep. It's OK to bid on competitor's name, but not to use their name. I would also encourage you to follow Ralphs advice and place your own PPC campaign so your ad is right at the top. That way the people who just aren't paying close attention to the PPC ad will be clicking on you ad instead most of the time, until you get it all sorted out.

This is the correct answer folks. 

Hey Ken, think about this, and if you need to know about aggressive search engine marketing, Ralph teaches this. 

WOW! " 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."

You've got your answer my friend.  That said, be true to your game.  Produce what you promise.  Whatever you promise online should be equaled by what the customer finds when they come into your store.

Google won't do anything about it. It's not against any policy. Again, it's not worth complaining to the OEM. It's not neau as big of a deal as some here are making it out to be.

Conquesting a like brand is a losing strategy...and expensive. Own your backyard and carry on without worry of what that guy is doing.


Little bit of bad advice as a good PPC provider would tell you to protect yourself and how to do so. Using the name of a competitor in ad copy is an issue, in fact it was big enough for several cease and desists to be sent out from the legal depts. of various dealerships I worked at (and serious for the dealerships to not try our bluff) and more recently was in the spotlight with Group 1 going after Randall Noe Dodge (ironically 6 months after Group1 used same tactics against my dealership at the time). Tell you the truth if you sent it to your AG they might and probably would construe it as fraudulent advertising practices (lets not forget how hungry they have been here lately regarding that one), so to be honest, I would consider it a huge deal. 

Also to counter some more bad advice Google actually loves to protect your Trademark and it is in fact against Google TOS (stipulates it so in paragraph 2 of TOS agreement) if it is a legally trademarked term which I am assuming Douglas made it during incorporation how ever many years ago. You can even have it set up so ads auto reject all you have to do is add your term to Google's list of trademarked terms and done its that simple, in fact whoever your PPC provider is as long as they are a Google Partner should have a rep that can help them expedite this for you. Providing them the screenshots will have your competitors account slapped with a warning as well.

Conquest against your competitors is exactly how market share is won. Otherwise how else is it accomplished? You have to take the market share from somewhere, you have to make someone's piece of the pie smaller... saying otherwise makes no sense. You just have to make sure it is done in an ethical manner. Ive never seen anyone increase market share from buying their own name and protecting home plate. Complacency is not a winning strategy. 

Trademarked terms are against policy but there's gray area when it comes to market share is won with high share of voice in you're own back yard. Competitive campaigns geared toward cross-shoppers using specific techniques is a more advanced tactic to win market share. Conquesting is a budget burner, period.


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