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unethical advertising practice

a questionable advertising activity

9:58 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 27, 2002
votes: 0

Hi All,

This weekend I was as usual checking my SE Ranking in Google and to my utter amazement I found out that Google shows AdWords advertisement on the "my product" query. "My product" is my company's main product -. This word (or rather - my company's brand) is bid on by one of our competitors. Having spent some time on testing other queries I found out that they are also utilizing other well-known companies' brand names.

How legal is this? I find it highly disturbing that someone is using my company's brand to promote a competitive product.

I'm looking forward to your input on this situation.

[edited by: NFFC at 10:27 am (utc) on Nov. 5, 2002]
[edit reason] Specifics removed [/edit]

10:01 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joined:July 3, 2002
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Ask Google to remove it.

I believe that bidding on brand names is an infringement on copyright issues (perhaps someone else can confirm this?).


10:14 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joined:Feb 14, 2002
votes: 0

I don't know if it's against their TOS but it certaintly isn't a new trick at WW. This was covered briefly here:


10:14 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joined:Oct 15, 2002
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Haven't seen anything about brand names per se in Google's Ts & Cs.

It would obviously be a problem for them to do a blanket ban on brand names (such as "Viagra", "Ford" "Sony" etc.) but this particular case obviously infringes their rules as the link is to a site that doesn't sell the particular product that they claim to, merely something similar.

This could obviously cause further problems for the people selling eg generic sildenafil citrate rather than branded Viagra itself.

But you should be able to prevent your competitor using AdWords for your branded product as they are obviously "passing themselves off" as providing a service that they don't.

I reckon, anyway.

9:45 pm on Nov 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

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joined:July 16, 2002
votes: 0

Copyright law doesn't apply here, but if the name is trademarked, which the names you mentioned certainly are, then there is a legal basis for considering it may be an issue.

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