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Can I Bid On My Competitor's Company Name?

     
7:36 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Hi there, Everyone:

I have a well known / well branded competitor. The stuff we sell would appeal to their demographic, but is about half the price.

So, can / should I bid on their company name? It doesn't seem like anyone else is bidding on it.

If I DO bid on their company name, how can I get a good quality score without getting myself into copyright / trademark trouble?
8:51 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



how can I get a good quality score without getting myself into copyright / trademark trouble?
I would do some serious homework here before I went into this gray area. Maybe the reason there are no bids for the name.
9:45 pm on Nov 18, 2011 (gmt 0)



So, can / should I bid on their company name? It doesn't seem like anyone else is bidding on it.


You can. AdWords policy is to make sure you don't use other advertisers trademarked terms. That's not to say that your competitor might not contact you directly and have you remove the ads, but I very rarely hear of that happening. Should you? Why not. If anything it may help increase the CPC's of your competitors brand terms.


If I DO bid on their company name, how can I get a good quality score without getting myself into copyright / trademark trouble?


Use keywords that are as close to their trademarked term without infringing on their trademark. Either way, you are probably not going to see a high QS on these terms because you're not relevant. If you get anything higher than 5-6, I want to hear about your magic bullet .. ;)
4:51 am on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@ alexsel:

AdWords policy is to make sure you don't use other advertisers trademarked terms.


But wouldn't their company name be a trademarked term?

Let's say for arguments sake that I wanted to bid on the company name "oracle" I just tested a search and there weren't any adwords ads for the term oracle.

On the other hand, if I search for "microsoft" there are a few ads in the top of the page ad block above the official microsoft ad.

Yet again, No ads if I search for a word that is both a product and a company name, such as Pepsi.

I wonder if it is just because no one is bidding on oracle and pepsi, or if it isn't allowed?
6:25 pm on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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A would-be competitor did this to me, and I was able to make them stop it by threatening to report them to AdWords for infringement.
6:27 pm on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@ HRoth

Did they use your company name in their Ad or landing page at all? Or were they just bidding on it as a keyword without mentioning it in their ad / landing page?
8:35 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They were bidding on it as a keyword and displaying it in the ad as the url, but of course the url was actually to their site. My company name was not on their site anywhere.
9:57 am on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



A lot of people do use competitor names as kws in the fields I work in. I havent heard of anyone having any real trouble from it. The most they get is a letter asking to remove the term.

You should definately try it.
10:36 am on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Bidding on competitor names happens a lot in the sector that I work in. Do I like it? Not really as you can shell out an awful lot of money just trying to protect your brand.

That said we do bid on some competitor names and sometimes include a comparison of why people should come to us vs what the competitor offers.
8:50 pm on Nov 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@ sem4u

That said we do bid on some competitor names and sometimes include a comparison of why people should come to us vs what the competitor offers.


can you tell me whether you mention the competitor by name in your ads or on the landing page?

And I would love to get an idea on how you phrase the benefits of your site over the competitors.

Thanks in advance.
9:35 am on Nov 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The competitor name is not mentioned in the ad at all, including the display URL. On the landing page we work the competitor name into all of the usual 'SEO' areas including title, meta description, H1 and body copy.

These ads are in the gambling space so we name benefits like payout percentage and the amount of free bets given away to new customers.
11:37 am on Nov 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I use competitor names in the title, ad and the display url. A few companies have asked for it to be removed and I have obliged and they wee happy with this. If google allows it then it's worth trying.

Quality scores are low but profits are high. I have special ways of doing this. Mail me if you want some tips on it.
3:44 pm on Nov 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@ sem4u

On the landing page we work the competitor name into all of the usual 'SEO' areas including title, meta description, H1 and body copy.


How in the world do you do that without getting sued?
3:55 pm on Nov 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Quite easily. As long as it is all factual then I don't see it as being a problem. No legal issues as yet and we have been doing this for over a year now.

We did have an issue with a competitor including our brand in their URL, but they were spoken to directly and the link was changed sharpish.

Note: I don't actually work on this myself, but I do work closely with our in-house team and an external agency.
2:59 pm on Nov 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



sem4u


As long as it is all factual then I don't see it as being a problem.


Wouldn't you have to use the registered trademark symbol and a disclaimer that the name XYZ is the registered property of XYZ corporation?
 

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