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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

How to deal with threats

 7:05 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a page on my web site that appears at about position 5 on page 1 of some search engines when you search for a competitors company name. This is because part of their company name is generic and also because on my page I mention their name once but not in a derogatory way at all. Google has over 1 million results when you type in the name of this company and for some reason Google likes our page.

I get a small amount of traffic from this keyword. There is no trademark on this company name but we have received a solicitors letter asking us to remove all trace of their name from our web site. Am I breaking any laws by mentioning a competitor and appearing in the search results for their name?

Any help appreciated.



 7:10 pm on Sep 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Any help appreciated.

Consult an attorney on the issue, especially since they have.


 11:35 am on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Am I breaking any laws by mentioning a competitor... I mention their name once but not in a derogatory way...

In the UK, and in the broadest of terms, no, it's unlikely (Disclaimer: I am not offering legal counsel, please seek legal counsel, etc...). However, a company/individual may not wish to be associated with content that they consider offensive/harmful, etc, and thus may desire any mention of their name removed - not that I'm suggesting you have suspect material on your site.... :-)

As bobothecat suggests, getting proper legal advice is the best thing to do.


[edited by: Syzygy at 11:37 am (utc) on Sep. 18, 2006]


 12:27 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree, get a lawyer.

If your mention is appropriate (as in a news item), then chances are there's no problem

If it's not relevant (eg some form of keyword stuffing) then they have a good case.

But I'm not a lawyer, etc., etc.,

On the other hand, if the stuff isn't really related to your site, then the chances of you getting many referrals are slight (and if you do, they won't stay, will they?), so delete the damn thing and move on ...


 1:01 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all your replies. There is no keyword stuffing on our page. The page says that "we are an alternative to *******"

I can't see anything offensive in that phrase but I was suprised how well liked that one word is by Google. That phrase is in the title tag too. In offline advertising you frequently see companies comparing their products to their competitors but this is no where near as hard hitting at that type of advertising.

Thanks again for the advice.


 5:39 pm on Sep 18, 2006 (gmt 0)


In the US, comparing your product/service to a competitor is protected. Think of all the generic products that say "compare to...".

Sorry, I don't know the UK rule. Just posted in case any US viewers were curious.

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