The Pasch Consulting Group
represents a diverse group of businesses that are in need of assistance with Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We have a specialization in digital marketing for car dealers but it’s our entire client base that keeps us as a leader in our field. A recent situation came up with one of our newest clients that can apply to anyone who is running a Google Adwords campaign.
This is a case study on Internet Marketing Ethics.
Recently we added our first publishing company to our list of clients; Tate Publishing
is located in Oklahoma and provides book publishing and audio book creation services to writers. When started a review of their Internet marketing visibility we came across a company called “Dog Ear Publishing
” who is a competing book publisher. This company was easy to spot because they were using Google Adwords to purchase the search phrase “Tate Publishing” and display an advertisement.
We’ve worked on hundreds of Internet Marketing campaigns and to date we have never witnessed such an aggressive negative attack from one business to another using Google Adwords. Dog Ear Publishing has an axe to grind but I think they are barking up the wrong tree.
On January 17, 2009
we took a screen snapshot of a Google search for “Tate Publishing” and the second paid listing, boxed in red, is one that is running from Dog Ear Publishing. (see graphic below).
The ad reads “Don’t Use This Publisher…until you read this review of the services and costs of this company
“. If there is any humor in this ad is the thought of a competitor giving a fair review that would be unbiased.
Internet Marketing Ethics
I wrote this commentary not because Tate Publishing is our client or that they are worried about Dog’s claims. I thought it would be a great case study for Internet marketing ethics. Since Internet marketing is like the “Wild Wild West” with explosive growth and little constraints on marketing approaches, it was time to speak up.
As an Internet marketing consultant I would not encourage any client to use negative press to put down competitors. Negative smear tactics is not a method for success on the Internet; if you live in a glass house don’t throw stones.
Every car dealer has satisfied customers and dissatisfied customers. DealerRater.com
has made a business out of this fact. The Internet is the great equalizer for consumers to share their experiences. Companies should stay out of direct B to B attacks, to me it looks childish.
SEO companies that make outrageous claims and leave business owners high and dry every day. We would never setup a Google Adwords campaign, using another SEO company’s name, and bad mouth them in Adwords. For us, that would be unethical and it would be in poor taste.
I was mentored that I should build my business on the positive merits of my work and not to bath mouth my competitors. Websites like Consumer Reports have a much more balanced view of reviewing competing brands, services or products and are respected for that editorial content.
Crossing The Line with Google Adwords
When a company buys a competitors name in Adwords and writes an ad to divert customers to another website, I start to question the marketing ethics of that company. Car dealers buy other dealers names in their Adwords campaigns. That is no surprise or not the point.
Creating a display ad to attack a competitor’s brand, is very bold.
I hope that car dealers don't stoop this low.
Is Dog Ear Publishing doing anything illegal?
I don’t know that answer. We can let the two companies battle that out. While this continues in the public eye , it is an important situation to review for Internet marketing consultants.
I would advise companies not to engage in this type of marketing. To me, this gives the impression that Dog Ear Publishing is both threatened and desperate. They took the low road to Internet advertising.
Would Tiffany’s take out an add under Harry Winston Jewelers and say “Don’t Buy Diamonds from Harry Winston..until you check out our selection”? Never.
The Internet gives companies like Dog Ear Publishing and opportunity to write about the merits of their business model. Those articles can be indexed and used to attract new authors to use their services.
Using Google Adwords to further a diversionary marketing campaign against a competitor is in bad taste.