Is it unethical to take advantage of a competitor's mistake?

by garyv 117 replies
I was doing my usual competitor scouting on google to check out the competition, and I noticed an adwords ad, where they had mis-typed their url. Example - they had put widget-big.com, instead of big-widget.com. I look at the adwords link and it goes nowhere. So then I do a search, and find that the url is not registered. I register the url and have a website up in about 15 minutes. Now I'm getting free traffic from a url mistype.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #advantage #competitor #mistake #unethical
  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
    LMAO - unethical, no!

    Smart, yes.
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    • Profile picture of the author CmdrStidd
      ROFL - That has got to hurt the other guy. How long before he realizes that he is getting all these click throughs on the ad but is not making any sales? I am sure he would check the ad to see he had it right and will notice his misspelled URL.

      Please let us know how long you get free traffic from his typo. I want to see how long this poor schlep takes to figure out his mistake. lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Clyde Dennis
    One word... Nope! I agree w/Jeremy - very smart.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I call it a lucky break and good that you noticed it. Capitalizing on mistakes isn't unethical in my book.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    I'm sure it won't last for too long, but I couldn't resist. That sort of mistake pays for a domain registration usually in less than an hour.

    What's really fun is to find an unregistered url that was mis-spoken on TV. I've done that before as well. Free money, you gotta love it!
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    • Profile picture of the author ~Davor Debrecin~
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      What's really fun is to find an unregistered url that was mis-spoken on TV. I've done that before as well. Free money, you gotta love it!
      Hm, just curious - how do you actually find out if a URL is mis-spoken on TV? Do you check every URL you see on TV?

      If you do, you really have an interesting habit.

      If you do check every URL shown on TV, could you share with us the "mis-spoken conversion rate" haha? If it's one in a 100, boy, I'd hire someone to watch TV all day..



      Take care,

      ~Davor
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by ~Davor Debrecin~ View Post

        Hm, just curious - how do you actually find out if a URL is mis-spoken on TV? Do you check every URL you see on TV?

        If you do, you really have an interesting habit.

        If you do check every URL shown on TV, could you share with us the "mis-spoken conversion rate" haha? If it's one in a 100, boy, I'd hire someone to watch TV all day..



        Take care,

        ~Davor
        Domainers are a little crazy and somewhat obsessed. I often see something on TV and run to the computer to see if something is already registered. I also dream about domains and get up in the middle of the night and check to see.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

          Domainers are a little crazy and somewhat obsessed. I often see something on TV and run to the computer to see if something is already registered. I also dream about domains and get up in the middle of the night and check to see.
          Glad to know I'm not the only person who does that. My friends and family think I'm nuts.

          What is unethical is clicking on a competitor's ad, and obviously not intending to buy the products. Competitor clicking is one of the biggest reasons I don't use PPC very much for my advertising. It's wrong, and if you feel you need to do something like that to compete, you should probably go back and look at your business model again.

          You took advantage of a mistake and it was smart, but opportunistic at best. It may not be considered "unethical" but it isn't exactly something to be proud of either. Integrity is pretty important in business, and remember what goes around, comes around.
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          • Profile picture of the author garyv
            Originally Posted by Jeremy Morgan View Post

            Glad to know I'm not the only person who does that. My friends and family think I'm nuts.

            What is unethical is clicking on a competitor's ad, and obviously not intending to buy the products. Competitor clicking is one of the biggest reasons I don't use PPC very much for my advertising. It's wrong, and if you feel you need to do something like that to compete, you should probably go back and look at your business model again.

            You took advantage of a mistake and it was smart, but opportunistic at best. It may not be considered "unethical" but it isn't exactly something to be proud of either. Integrity is pretty important in business, and remember what goes around, comes around.

            Actually - I never clicked on the ad - If I said that I mispoke. I never click on adwords ads when I'm browsing. There's a way to find out an adwords link without clicking on it, you just do a right mouse click on the link and look at the properties. I look at my competition all of the time - it would actually be kind of crazy not to.
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            • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Morgan
              Originally Posted by garyv View Post

              Actually - I never clicked on the ad - If I said that I mispoke. I never click on adwords ads when I'm browsing. There's a way to find out an adwords link without clicking on it, you just do a right mouse click on the link and look at the properties. I look at my competition all of the time - it would actually be kind of crazy not to.
              Ok, I apologize for making that assumption.
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              • Profile picture of the author garyv
                Originally Posted by Jeremy Morgan View Post

                Ok, I apologize for making that assumption.

                Actually I don't think you did, I think I did type that I clicked the link somewhere. But what I should have said was I used the link. So it was my bad.
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      • Profile picture of the author garyv
        Originally Posted by ~Davor Debrecin~ View Post

        Hm, just curious - how do you actually find out if a URL is mis-spoken on TV? Do you check every URL you see on TV?

        If you do, you really have an interesting habit.

        If you do check every URL shown on TV, could you share with us the "mis-spoken conversion rate" haha? If it's one in a 100, boy, I'd hire someone to watch TV all day..



        Take care,

        ~Davor
        There was a time when it happened quite often. Now the competition is fierce.

        The most recent one was just a few days ago, when someone on Fox News Channel's Red Eye made up the url yellowfellows.org. Don't remember what they were talking about, but when I heard that url, I could tell that he had just made it up on the fly. So I checked it, and it was un-registered. I took it, and haven't really done much with it yet, but it will get free traffic every time that they re-run that show. Plus they show red eye episodes on hulu.com.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pete223
    That's hilarious!!!!!!

    Unethical, absolutely not... opportunist is what comes to my mind!!!!!

    Cheers, Pete
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  • I would say it's fair. I wonder, however, how long before the Google Adwords algo uncovers this problem and suspends the ad due to a QS of 0. You may need to act fast.
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  • Profile picture of the author pretter
    lucky dude I must say.

    Not unethical for me, but I understand your little guilt feeling, I would feel the same way too, because I'd want to contact the guy about his URl
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by pretter View Post

      lucky dude I must say.

      Not unethical for me, but I understand your little guilt feeling, I would feel the same way too, because I'd want to contact the guy about his URl
      I was actually going to do that first, but his original url had a private whois - so, oh well. At least I tried.
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      • Profile picture of the author pretter
        Then I guess it's cool all the way. conscience clear. That would have been the bugger for me.

        Originally Posted by garyv View Post

        I was actually going to do that first, but his original url had a private whois - so, oh well. At least I tried.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    As the others have stated, no. Luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet. This was your lucky day for sure. I doubt it will last very long. But Google is going to take the money no matter what. At least this way someone benefits from it. You have to feel sorry for the guy that is paying for it though. Such is life.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Steel
    His mistake...What can I say? I would do it -

    js
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  • Profile picture of the author BurgerBoy
    I would do the same thing you did. I just wish I had thought about it before you did.
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  • Profile picture of the author xohaibx
    Unethical in no way! In fact, it's always good to learn from mistakes others make, especially if they are your competitor! lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    It is unethical and scummy. How would you like it if the tables were turned?
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      It is unethical and scummy. How would you like it if the tables were turned?
      I'd hate the fact that I made the mistake and would hope that someone would email me and let me know. And that's what I tried to do in the beginning, however the original url had no contact information, and the registration info in the whois was private.

      That's money just being thrown out the window in my opinion. I'm just providing the bucket to catch it with. If that makes me scummy, then bring on the scum
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      • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
        Originally Posted by garyv View Post

        That's money just being thrown out the window in my opinion. I'm just providing the bucket to catch it with. If that makes me scummy, then bring on the scum
        Gary,

        Don't you mean bring on the Karma?

        KJ
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason_V
        I, personally, love how you ask in a public forum if something is "ethical" Then, when someone turns around and tells you something you didn't want to hear, you get self-righteous.

        It seems to me you wouldn't have asked in the first place, if you thought everything was sunshine and kittens. Unless, of course you were trying to demonstrate that you are "oh, so superior and clever" to everyone here with a thinly veiled intention.

        If you contacted the Google Adwords team, and told them, they would probably in turn contact the publisher.


        Originally Posted by garyv View Post

        I'd hate the fact that I made the mistake and would hope that someone would email me and let me know. And that's what I tried to do in the beginning, however the original url had no contact information, and the registration info in the whois was private.

        That's money just being thrown out the window in my opinion. I'm just providing the bucket to catch it with. If that makes me scummy, then bring on the scum
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        • Profile picture of the author garyv
          Originally Posted by Jason_V View Post

          If you contacted the Google Adwords team, and told them, they would probably in turn contact the publisher.
          I think I did mention above that I contacted a google adwords rep about this. But I don't expect much action on their part.

          Believe me, I've contacted adwords before for affiliates that were sending traffic directly to my site - forgetting to put their own affiliate link in the middle. I went through 4 reps before one understood what I was talking about, and yet they still did not contact the affiliate about their mistake.

          I did email a rep however. So if they contact the person is up to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author JennJessop
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      There was a time when it happened quite often. Now the competition is fierce.

      The most recent one was just a few days ago, when someone on Fox News Channel's Red Eye made up the url yellowfellows.org. Don't remember what they were talking about, but when I heard that url, I could tell that he had just made it up on the fly. So I checked it, and it was un-registered. I took it, and haven't really done much with it yet, but it will get free traffic every time that they re-run that show. Plus they show red eye episodes on hulu.com.

      That is awsome. Again second time I have said this tonight, way to think out side of the box. You always have to keep your eyes open for those great opportunities out there. They are out there you just have to look. And Congrats on the find, definitely not unethical just business.


      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      It is unethical and scummy. How would you like it if the tables were turned?
      Kick my self for not double checking my spelling. If I was stupid enough to make this mistake I would say thats what I get and the money lost is my punishment. This is not scummy at all again, just business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
      Are you kidding, of course its not unethical (or scummy)

      Serves him right for making such a stupid mistake, Gary already said he tried to warn him

      Kim

      Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

      It is unethical and scummy. How would you like it if the tables were turned?
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  • Profile picture of the author Randy Bheites
    The real takeaway here is simple:

    Always QC your work.
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    have a great day

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  • Profile picture of the author traceye
    That's gold. I wouldn't even think to check if they had the correct url or not.

    I would have done the same and registered it quick smart.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
    I'm learning a lot about some of the members of this board.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    Again, I wasn't trying to be mean to the guy/gal - I actually made an attempt to try and contact them first. But this is traffic that was going to absolutely nowhere.

    And if you look at it in another way, I may actually be saving his Google Quality score.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      Again, I wasn't trying to be mean to the guy/gal - I actually made an attempt to try and contact them first. But this is traffic that was going to absolutely nowhere.

      And if you look at it in another way, I may actually be saving his Google Quality score.
      No matter how you spin it, you are stealing his traffic. The fact that the traffic was going nowhere doesn't give you some kind of license to swipe it. Is that really how you want to conduct your business?
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      • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
        Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

        No matter how you spin it, you are stealing his traffic. The fact that the traffic was going nowhere doesn't give you some kind of license to swipe it. Is that really how you want to conduct your business?
        Rich,

        You're not wrong in your thinking. The fact that people can *rationalize* doing the wrong thing doesn't make it right.

        On the surface it looks fairly innocent, no harm - no foul, but the underlying truth is that someone is losing out, and someone is taking advantage of someone else. Both sides of this equation are not good.

        And I agree, you can tell a lot about some of the so called Warriors who have posted to this thread.

        KJ
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      • Profile picture of the author garyv
        Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

        No matter how you spin it, you are stealing his traffic. The fact that the traffic was going nowhere doesn't give you some kind of license to swipe it. Is that really how you want to conduct your business?

        To compare this to stealing - just shows that you don't know how this system works. And when I asked whether or not this was ethical, I was actually being sarcastic - I didn't actually expect a response in the negative. I was using the question as a sarcastic intro to my story.

        This is no where near stealing - that money was going into a virtual shredder. If I hadn't of bought that domain, the money would still be disappearing from his account.

        Scenario - What if I had purchased that domain without even knowing about this person's mistake? Would you still consider that stealing? Or would it just be lucky? I know enough about my own surroundings to make my own luck.

        Scenario #2 - What if someone on TV made a commercial saying "Come on down to my shop at 147 14th Avenue." When their shop is actually on 14th Street. Would you consider it stealing to set up shop on 14th Avenue if the lot is vacant?

        I don't get the logic in saying that it's stealing.
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        • Profile picture of the author robert25
          Originally Posted by garyv View Post

          Scenario #2 - What if someone on TV made a commercial saying "Come on down to my shop at 147 14th Avenue." When their shop is actually on 14th Street. Would you consider it stealing to set up shop on 14th Avenue if the lot is vacant?

          I don't get the logic in saying that it's stealing.
          The example you had given is perfect one. Leaving opportunities like that is some what a dumb approach towards a business.

          If one don't take advantage of that, then there will be another who will grab it.

          This types of smart moves actually increase vision about finding leaks, though its not a business model at all, but still it can give a nice lesson about avoiding mistakes of our self and capitalizing others mistakes .
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          • Profile picture of the author garyv
            Originally Posted by robert25 View Post

            The example you had given is perfect one. Leaving opportunities like that is some what a dumb approach towards a business.

            If one don't take advantage of that, then there will be another how will grab it.

            This types of smart moves actually increase vision about finding leaks, though its not a business model at all, but still it can give a nice lesson about avoiding mistakes of ourself and capitalizing others mistakes .

            Yes I definitely do not use this as a business model. I just try to make myself aware of my surroundings at all times. After over a decade of doing this, you find traffic in the weirdest of places sometimes if you're paying close enough attention. Something someone says on TV, or even an ad in the newspaper could be a traffic gold mine if you know how to harness it. I'd never spam or do anything illegal, but I will gladly take traffic if it's being left unattended.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

        No matter how you spin it, you are stealing his traffic.
        No, he's not. If the ad points nowhere, it's not traffic - it's an unsatisfied customer. Another company CAN and SHOULD step in to make that customer happy.

        Imagine that it's a real business. The company runs an ad with the wrong address. Customers drive down there, and the address is vacant.

        Is it unethical to lease that address for your own business?

        No. It's smart.

        Is it unethical to make that business the same kind of business that ran the ad?

        No. It's smart.

        All the OP did is step into someone else's screwup and turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one. Having done the actual work, he collects the money. And if that screwup happened to cost another business more money on top of the lost customer, that's their problem and their fault.
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        • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          No, he's not. If the ad points nowhere, it's not traffic - it's an unsatisfied customer. Another company CAN and SHOULD step in to make that customer happy.

          Imagine that it's a real business. The company runs an ad with the wrong address. Customers drive down there, and the address is vacant.

          Is it unethical to lease that address for your own business?

          No. It's smart.

          Is it unethical to make that business the same kind of business that ran the ad?

          No. It's smart.

          All the OP did is step into someone else's screwup and turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one. Having done the actual work, he collects the money. And if that screwup happened to cost another business more money on top of the lost customer, that's their problem and their fault.
          Give me a break.

          At least now I know who not to do business with.
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          • Profile picture of the author garyv
            Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

            Give me a break.

            At least now I know who not to do business with.

            Hey come on, I'm not trying to create battles and make enemies here. If anything let it be a story to remind us to pay attention to details. And if it makes you feel better, I have deleted the index page on that site, so that the traffic again goes to nowhere.

            Sheesh I didn't realize that this would create such a controversy. Anyways my original URL has been closed, so lets pretend that the original title is now: "Pay attention to details".

            Let's all be happy warriors now and get along and make some money!
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            • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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              Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

              There's no controversy here, just a few morons. They're allowed to post here too, lol.



              Yeah, that's what he should do....run to his lawyer over a $10 domain registration and the $20 this clown will waste on this campaign before he figures out what he's done. As often as some of you seem to run to your lawyer, I'm surprised you have any money left at all.

              Sheesh, this advertiser will likely never know when this domain was registered, let alone why. So good luck proving that one....if it even is illegal.
              Well, maybe that's because some of us have a hell of lot more to lose than you do.

              That measly $10 domain registration could end up costing a fortune in legal fees, fines and other penalties.

              It's called Risk Management - something a lot of marketers know nothing about because they assume that if it's done online, they can get away with it.
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              • Profile picture of the author garyv
                Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

                Well, maybe that's because some of us have a hell of lot more to lose than you do.

                That measly $10 domain registration could end up costing a fortune in legal fees, fines and other penalties.

                It's called Risk Management - something a lot of marketers know nothing about because they assume that if it's done online, they can get away with it.

                Big Mike, normally I agree with everything you say. But it doesn't take a legal genius to know that no crime was committed here. Not even close.
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                • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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                  Originally Posted by garyv View Post

                  Big Mike, normally I agree with everything you say. But it doesn't take a legal genius to know that no crime was committed here. Not even close.
                  I didn't say a crime was committed Gary, and it's precisely because I'm not a legal genius (and assuming you're not either), that I suggested it merits checking out.

                  While on the surface it may appear harmless (and perhaps it is), you don't know with any absolute certainty that a crime wasn't committed, however inadvertently. You're making an assumption that one wasn't, but that doesn't make it true one way or the other.

                  And clearly, by posting in a public forum with all the details, there's some
                  doubt in your mind if this was the right thing to do or not. I commented in the thread because it's only being viewed as an issue of ethics.

                  I stated what I would do - mainly in the interest of risk management. It sounds to me like there are more than ethical issues here and it could bit you in the ass. Or not.

                  Measuring the risk of a $10 investment against possible outcomes should be part of the discussion (my opinion).

                  In the end, it's not up to you or me or anyone here to decide if it's legal or not. The only real test would be if the domain owner decided to pursue it through legal channels.
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by Rich Struck View Post

            At least now I know who not to do business with.
            Me, too. Isn't it nice how that works?
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            "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author actionplanbiz
    you still getting traffic from it?
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  • Profile picture of the author mhuktar
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    • Profile picture of the author stephenraj
      Originally Posted by mhuktar View Post

      "Is it unethical to take advantage of a competitor's mistake?" is notUnethical, absolutely not, SEO is learning from someone Mistake. you need to learn how to find mistake of someone enable to outsmart him.
      You are right. And what he did was a smart thing, he is getting traffic for free from someone's ads. . .
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      • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
        Originally Posted by stephenraj View Post

        You are right. And what he did was a smart thing, he is getting traffic for free from someone's ads. . .
        And that, by definition, is theft.
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  • Profile picture of the author robert25
    If you can pull more money than your domain cost then its really a smart move.

    I had done similar thing with ezinearticle.com article which is ranking fairly for competitive term.
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  • Profile picture of the author Igor Kheifets
    Originally Posted by garyv View Post

    I was doing my usual competitor scouting on google to check out the competition, and I noticed an adwords ad, where they had mis-typed their url. Example - they had put widget-big.com, instead of big-widget.com. I click on the adword link, and it goes nowhere. So then I do a search, and find that the url is not registered. I register the url and have a website up in about 15 minutes. Now I'm getting free traffic from a url mistype. Would you consider this to be unethical?
    I think "unethical" is a wrong word-"smart" is the right one.

    Igor
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  • Profile picture of the author ptlhost
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    • Profile picture of the author robert25
      Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

      Amazed how everybody say it is not wrong. If you walk past a shop at night and the owner accidentally left a door open. So it is ok to walk in help yourself and call it nailing your competition.

      In plain simply language it is called THEFT - The fact that domain have privacy on don't stop you from emailing the registrar telling them you need to contact the owner. Another part left if the domain name as i a sure if we/you go to the domain name there would be contact details on the website.

      What you sow you will read - the tables will turn on you.

      For those that say it is ok - How would you like if that happen to you?

      Moral decay in the world wide web - hey how about giving me the domain you are using like to click on you google adds
      Taking advantage of others mistake is what business is all about.

      You can apply it to any business, Think on this...
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  • Profile picture of the author birdfood
    Could not help laughing when I saw this article title.

    If taking advantage of a competitor's mistake is unethical than capitalism, sport and anything else competitive is unethical.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    In my book - it's unethical.

    (Definition of Ethical = Morally correct, honorable)

    How would you like someone to leech off of your paid
    ads if you slipped up?

    There's a BIG difference between not letting your
    competitor know about their mistake and actually
    intentionally taking steps to steal traffic they're
    paying for.

    Plus, it's very short-sighted.

    Many of your competitors can be your future JV
    partners so dumping on them is not a wise move.

    Treat people how you'd like to be treated.

    If you wouldn't like people to do this to you then
    it's simple: don't do it to others.

    Also, it may be time to review your business model.

    If you're relying on being opportunistic to make a
    quick buck, then review your strategy.

    Can't you make enough money through honest means?

    Dedicated to your success,

    *Shaun O'Reilly
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  • Profile picture of the author robert25
    Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

    Maybe coming coming here was a mistake. Just got my first IM lesson. Theft is ok.

    So what you saying if you walk past a shop and see the door open what would you do

    1) Report the matter to the police or security company
    2) Walk in and steal as much as you can

    Lets check out the moral standard of some people here or shall we say. Let us see who are the thieves here.

    A spade is a spade
    First thing, registering a domain which Website Owner had accidentally inserted is not illegal at all, it is his mistake not keeping focus about what he is doing.

    The example you are giving is of illegal activity.

    In marketing(which ever it is), taking advantage of competitors mistake is the rule of successful business. Only thing, you have to stay in the boundaries of law.
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    • Profile picture of the author ptlhost
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      • Profile picture of the author robert25
        Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

        What is the difference - he accidental left his door open ( his wrong google add) So the in passing the poster now walked in and is using his property illegal.

        Anycase i sleep well at night - just the fact that the person that started this thread wants to know if it is right or wrong proves he is feeling bad about it.

        The best thing for him to do is contact the owner tell him about it and give him the other domain to make right
        May be this debate will not over between us! Let It.

        I am happy with my so called "unethical approach" (smart move for business magnets) as long as its legal. You be happy with your ethical approach.

        Have a nice day!
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  • Profile picture of the author imran.qureshi
    This is definitely not Un-ethical. But really very smart thinking!
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  • Profile picture of the author warrior82
    i think this is unethical. because, they are actually paying for their campaign...and as you are smarter you are actually taking the advantage of their mistake.

    and if they are not aware of their mistake you probably will get traffic for a very long time with the help of their money and who knows may be their very hard earned money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zack Lim
    Hi Gary,

    I personally feel that you have at least tried to find ways to contact the owner of the domain name.

    In terms of business, I feel that you have make a smart move to get the free traffic

    Zack
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    • Profile picture of the author Wakunahum
      If you have done everything you can to contact the person, I think it's perfectly ethical.

      No sense in that traffic just going to waste.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
      Interesting idea....

      Now, just how many hours before some clown creates the "Mistyped Url Ad Finder" software which is a spider that scans pages for mistyped URLS that aren't registered and reports back to you so you can scoop up the traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author Akogo
    Have you tried contacting Google?
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by Akogo View Post

      Have you tried contacting Google?
      I did email an adwords rep about it. But I doubt that they will take action. Otherwise all adwords users would start emailing Google claiming "mispelled url" on their competition.
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  • Profile picture of the author sylviad
    Wise, very wise. It pays to stay alert, huh? It pays even more to take action quickly.

    Being the person I am, I would have contacted the person to let them know their mistake - not even thinking how I could maximize on it instead.

    Oh, the disadvantages of hiding your WhoIs.

    I think it's a great move, Gary. No need to feel guilty, especially since you did at least try to contact them.

    Sylvia
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  • Profile picture of the author kentaiwan98
    I think the example is more akin to walking along the street and picking up $10 ... you have no idea who it belongs to, no way to return it to them, and the police might laugh if you took in such a small amount.

    Of course, if you SAW someone dropping money right out of their bag, most people would help them pick it up and return it to them if that person was right there.

    It's not theft, it's not robbery.

    But I've come across lots of mistakes like these: one IM vendor was 'selling' a product on CB but actually configured his purchase page wrongly. Instead of going to CB, it took customers straight through to the download page. We contacted the vendor, but got no reply. I'm

    Obviously, he got no commission or sale; and the client got a 'freebie'. As a vendor, I'd 'hope' someone would tell me about the mistake. I'd appreciate it if they did. But I would never 'expect' someone to tell me.

    And if people were able to take advantage of my mistake, I wouldn't blame them. I'd blame myself for not double checking my work. It's that simple.

    My 2c.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Unethical? Why is that?

    When your competitor forgets to add that precious bonus and people call you about it, asking if you can deliver a bonus, what do you do?

    a) Call your competitor?
    b) Provide the damn bonus and make more sales?
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Motley
    No its not unethical, its competition.
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  • Profile picture of the author JeffLam
    I would say its grey - its kinda unethical yet smart in a manner.

    However, you removed the 'unethical' part by at initially trying to contact the guy to correct his mistake first!

    Well done dude!
    Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    Even if it's a protected/private registration, usually the registration includes an email address which should forward to the person who owns the domain. This works kind of like CraigsList, where the real address is hidden from anyone who's replying to an ad... but you can get an email through.

    (In fact, I just sent myself an email using the anonymous email address on one of my domains provided by NameCheap's private registration, and it forwarded to my regular address.)

    So you should be able to inform this person of his/her mistake if the anonymous email does indeed forward.

    Cheers,
    Becky
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    Originally Posted by garyv View Post

    I was doing my usual competitor scouting on google to check out the competition, and I noticed an adwords ad, where they had mis-typed their url. Example - they had put widget-big.com, instead of big-widget.com. I look at the adwords link and it goes nowhere. So then I do a search, and find that the url is not registered. I register the url and have a website up in about 15 minutes. Now I'm getting free traffic from a url mistype.
    Not unethical. You are in competition so I think its just a lucky break. However, they won't be your best friend and perhaps you can forget about a joint venture.

    Once a warrior sent a URL out to his list that was wrong. He was at the airport and did it in a hurry I'm sure. Since he would be on a flight for the better part of a day I knew he would lose sales. It was an affiliate redirect. I registered the incorrect domain and pointed it to where it should go for him. Could I have taken his traffic? Yes with ease, but I made the choice not to.
    He was totally shocked and appreciative. It didn't lead to a joint venture, or even a cup of coffee, but I felt really good and have a story to tell.

    To each his own.
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post


      Once a warrior sent a URL out to his list that was wrong. He was at the airport and did it in a hurry I'm sure. Since he would be on a flight for the better part of a day I knew he would lose sales. It was an affiliate redirect. I registered the incorrect domain and pointed it to where it should go for him. Could I have taken his traffic? Yes with ease, but I made the choice not to.
      He was totally shocked and appreciative. It didn't lead to a joint venture, or even a cup of coffee, but I felt really good and have a story to tell.
      Awesome. No JV (though I'd imagine that's still possible), no coffee... but definitely a lot of good Karma.

      Cheers,
      Becky
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

      Not unethical. You are in competition so I think its just a lucky break. However, they won't be your best friend and perhaps you can forget about a joint venture.

      Once a warrior sent a URL out to his list that was wrong. He was at the airport and did it in a hurry I'm sure. Since he would be on a flight for the better part of a day I knew he would lose sales. It was an affiliate redirect. I registered the incorrect domain and pointed it to where it should go for him. Could I have taken his traffic? Yes with ease, but I made the choice not to.
      He was totally shocked and appreciative. It didn't lead to a joint venture, or even a cup of coffee, but I felt really good and have a story to tell.

      To each his own.
      Actually, I like that story much better than my own. If I had known this person I might have considered doing that. However, I had no way of contacting this person. R Hagel - above says that I may have been able to contact them through the private whois email address, but I did not know that at the time.

      That is a great story though, I would have gladly given you at least a split of my earnings.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I know that Yahoo would automatically disable your ad if it leads
    to a blank page but I guess Adwords doesn't have that feature.

    As far as ethics is concerned this is a dilemma of waste vs. economy,
    and not honesty vs. dishonesty since you tried to contact the
    'competitor'. How many Warriors contact their competitors to tell
    them how to improve their Adwords?

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author la dominatrix
    Fabulous priceless that has made my week. I to would love to know how you long you get free traffic for, and frankly if soemone makes such a stupid mistake it could be ages before they notice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zemalf
    Good job on spotting that and nice tip on the URL-spotting from TV too!

    I don't understand how anyone can set their ads without double-checking them first, but oh well, mistakes happen. I wonder how long it takes for the fellow to realize his mistake
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  • Profile picture of the author dsmpublishing
    I call it lucky - i think many of us would do the same given the chance even though not all of us would actually admit to it!!!

    kind regards


    sam
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason_V
      Speak for yourself, because quite frankly I consider it theft.

      The publisher is paying for that traffic. You are getting that traffic for free. I have no qualms about taking advantage of a competitor's mistakes so long as I spend my own dime doing it.

      Yeah, you can argue he spent his own money on the domain name. However, that's like saying, you see a tractor trailer driving down the road. The driver fcrgot to lock the trailer up. a pallet of merchandise falls out. You have a friend wait there while you go rent a U-Haul.

      It's yours though, because you spent the money on the U-Haul, right?

      Originally Posted by dsmpublishing View Post

      I call it lucky - i think many of us would do the same given the chance even though not all of us would actually admit to it!!!

      kind regards


      sam
      X
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      • Profile picture of the author garyv
        Originally Posted by Jason_V View Post

        Speak for yourself, because quite frankly I consider it theft.

        The publisher is paying for that traffic. You are getting that traffic for free. I have no qualms about taking advantage of a competitor's mistakes so long as I spend my own dime doing it.

        Yeah, you can argue he spent his own money on the domain name. However, that's like saying, you see a tractor trailer driving down the road. The driver fcrgot to lock the trailer up. a pallet of merchandise falls out. You have a friend wait there while you go rent a U-Haul.

        It's yours though, because you spent the money on the U-Haul, right?
        That's not even close to being the same scenario. If you know how adwords works, then you know that the traffic being sent to that mis-typed domain is gone forever from this person, no matter what I or anyone else does.

        Suppose I put up an adwords ad and accidentally type in a url that YOU already own. Would that be considered stealing on your part? You'd be getting traffic that I paid for?
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        • Profile picture of the author Jason_V
          Again,

          You asked in the title of the thread "Is it unethical..."

          here's a definition of ethical from dictionary.reference.com:

          pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

          To follow that up here's a definition of morality:

          founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.

          The point being, ethics and morals are more about the frame of reference per individual.

          You'll never convince me that what you're doing isn't stealing. That's based on my ethics and morals.

          I agree wholeheartedly with what ptlhost said above me. There's a HUGE difference between someone accidentally pointing traffic to a domain name you own and purposely funneling that traffic for monetary gain.

          Again, you're the one who asked the question. Don't cry sour grapes when people tell you what you don't want to hear. If you were so sure that it was on the level; sunshine and kittens as I put it, then you would've never posted asking about it.

          If you're so convinced it was ethical and moral, than why do you have to keep justifying it? If you truly don't think there's nothing wrong with it, more power to you. Just don't be upset when others dissent.


          Originally Posted by garyv View Post

          That's not even close to being the same scenario. If you know how adwords works, then you know that the traffic being sent to that mis-typed domain is gone forever from this person, no matter what I or anyone else does.

          Suppose I put up an adwords ad and accidentally type in a url that YOU already own. Would that be considered stealing on your part? You'd be getting traffic that I paid for?
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    Originally Posted by garyv View Post

    I was doing my usual competitor scouting on google to check out the competition, and I noticed an adwords ad, where they had mis-typed their url. Example - they had put widget-big.com, instead of big-widget.com. I look at the adwords link and it goes nowhere. So then I do a search, and find that the url is not registered. I register the url and have a website up in about 15 minutes. Now I'm getting free traffic from a url mistype.
    Pretty smart if you ask me.

    Though I would talk to a lawyer, and see what the odds are of getting sued over it. Even if you're right, it's a pain to defend your actions in the face of their obvious stupidity.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

    1) You didn't purchase that domain without knowing about it but with one purpose to take what the owner is paying for - and no i won't consider it stealing if you didn't know about the person mistake and purchased that domain
    If it were actually "stealing" - then whether or not you knew about it would make no difference in a judges eyes. - That's why this is not stealing.

    And no I didn't purchase that domain with the purpose of taking what that owner paid for. The purpose of the domain was for taking what he was throwing away. Big difference.


    I think more than exposing ethics here, this thread is exposing an ignorance as to how Google Adwords and Pay Per Clicks work. HIS money is already gone to Google, whether I pick-up his misdirected traffic or not. Even if I didn't register that url - He would still be out the SAME amount of money.

    Another Scenario - I'm sitting outside of a pay carwash - I notice that one of the water hoses is misdirected, and overshooting the car. I try to contact the car's owner - but they are no where to be found. I try to contact the carwash owner, but they are too slow to react. Would it be stealing if I parked my car next to the carwash receiving a free car wash from the overshooting hose? That water is coming out no matter what I do. It can either hit the ground and be wasted - or it can be used.

    Same with the traffic -The traffic has already been directed. It can either be used, or go to nowhere.
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    • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      I think more than exposing ethics here, this thread is exposing an ignorance as to how Google Adwords and Pay Per Clicks work. HIS money is already gone to Google, whether I pick-up his misdirected traffic or not. Even if I didn't register that url - He would still be out the SAME amount of money.
      All moral/ethical points aside, when I run an Adwords campaign and my QS drops my CPC rises and that given keyword is disabled by Google until I raise my bid, and/or raise my quality score.

      To contend that a dead page would keep costing your competitor money doesn't make much sense to me.

      It is clear to me that if you create a page where the QS is sufficient your competitor will keep spending his ad budget, and this will be a direct result of your intervention.

      There's no free water hitting the ground here.

      KJ
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    • Profile picture of the author ptlhost
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      • Profile picture of the author garyv
        Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post


        And you still havent replied to my last question- as you know the domain name did you goto the domain and contacted the owner

        All planned - as a compasionate person i would have tried to contact the owner via his site, google or whois. Failing that i would have register the domain and redirected the traffic to the correct domain.
        I believe I've answered that one several times now. There was no contact info on the website at all, and the whois was privatized. So I had no way of contacting this person.

        And if I redirected traffic for all of the misspelled urls I find online I'd be broke. I'm in this for the money.

        I don't steal, I don't spam, I don't do b-l-a-c-k-hat. But I'm not nice enough - or rich enough - to spend $10 registering domains for everyone that doesn't know how to spell. If you want to be the Mother Teresa of the Internet that's ok with me, I'd actually donate money to your cause. But I can't afford to do that myself.
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      • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
        Banned
        Originally Posted by CmdrStidd View Post

        First off, because of all the hoopla about lawyers and such, I called a dear friend of mine that handles most of my internet dealings. I laid out the scenario as it is stated here with all the known facts and asked the simple question of "Did person A commit a crime or not?" The answer was a flat out NO! There was no crime committed and therefore there can be no lawsuits and no legal fees and so on and so forth. That ends the issue of a crime.
        Since you're posting what amounts to legal advice, please also post the name and contact information of the source.

        Your post is a perfect example of exactly why NO ONE should ever ask for or follow legal advice in a public forum like this. You're essentially giving the OP an unqualified legal opinion (unless you yourself are a lawyer, in which case I apologize.)

        Folks, NEVER take a post that starts out, "I spoke to a _______ friend..." as gospel. Chances are that person did not receive all the facts and cannot possibly issue an opinion that is legally accurate and binding worldwide.

        Additionally, assuming that no crime has been committed, there is still the possibility of civil action, which does not necessarily require that a crime has been committed.

        So don't say "therefore there can be no lawsuits and no legal fees" - because in that statement you are utterly wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author embrown
    All I have to say is: if the OP didn't do it, somebody was going to do it. People do it all the time, misspelled or similar domains names are one example of taking advantage of it.

    This reminded me of a blog post I read. There's a prepared visa/mastercard available for walmart shoppers, the walmart money card. This guy registered the domain name: wwwwalmartcard.com because Walmart hadn't done so already. Notice, that domain name lacks the period (.) between the www and walmart, a common typo. Most major retailers have redirects on those domains and common misspellings. Check wwwamazon.com, for example. It goes right to the Amazon main page. So, even if you did leave the period out, you may not have noticed.

    Just imagine how much money he could have made if he was a scammer. Well, my point is that someone's gonna find away to do bad things, due to someone's else's mistake. Its better for someone who doesn't have a scam in mind (I hope the OP, doesn't) to get the traffic rather than someone who does.
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    • Profile picture of the author CmdrStidd
      To everyone that is calling this stealing or unethical or just plain wrong:

      I have a question for you. You find a competitor has made his entire sales page out of different sections of flash and that they have no real text on their page at all. They are getting a PR of 8.

      Do you go to them and tell them what their mistake is? No, you don't. Instead you do a better job on your sales page so you get a rank of 3 or 2 instead. Therefore, by your own logic, you are unethical and stealing and scumbags and every other mean thing you call the OP. You are monopolizing on the mistakes of your competition. That is exactly what he did, what Toyota does, what Nintendo does and every other company in the free world does.

      It is called good business. Now, unless you are telling your competition about all the mistakes they have with their copy and sales pages, you are no better than the OP. Plain and simple.

      Now, start telling the truth and shaming the devil, the only reason you are saying it is unethical and whatnot is because you did not think of it first. Well, neither did I but you don't see me pissing in his post toasties. I salute the man for catching the opening and moving in for the interception just like on Monday Night Football on ABC.

      Oh, I guess the LBs in Football are unethical when they intercept the pass, or in soccer when one takes the ball away from the opponents player, or when the runner steals second on a wild pitch and the list goes on and on and on.
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    • Profile picture of the author ptlhost
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      • Profile picture of the author CmdrStidd
        Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

        You are aware that if you would register a domain such as wwwamoson.com you wont have it for long. You know why? because you are profiting of a trademark (stealing that companies marketing efforts) or is that also competition.
        Actually, you are wrong here. There is no law that says you cannot own the domain name of amoson.com or anything else like that since their trademark is not on that but on amazon.com. The only way you would get into trouble is if you then pretended to be amazon.com which is where the fraud would come in.

        Since he has not ever said that he is pretending to be this other company, but rather is only utilizing his competitors mistakes to his advantage, which is the very essence of marketing any products that are similar, he is not under the label of fraud. I doubt that he has made his site to look exactly like his competitors site would have looked, or does look like, nor is he passing himself off as his competitor, or at least he has not told us that is what he is doing so he is within all legal boundaries. As I stated before, he is doing nothing that the linebacker at the football game who intercepts a pass is doing nor any of the other examples I listed in my previous post.
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      • Profile picture of the author embrown
        Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

        So i suppose you dont know that all these domain that was registered in this fashion was removed legally from the original people registering the wwwamazon.com wwwvisa.com etc. from companies such as amazon etc.

        You are aware that if you would register a domain such as wwwamoson.com you wont have it for long. You know why? because you are profiting of a trademark (stealing that companies marketing efforts) or is that also competition.
        I never said registering a misspelling was just competition, in fact I don't think I mentioned competition at all in that post. I was just pointing out that people can do much, much worst if given an opening and even big companies, such as Walmart, provide those openings.

        Plus, that site still exists. Most likely because they are not claiming to be Walmart, just complaining about how much their security sucks: This is not the Walmart Money Card website
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
    One Sunday morning the preacher says .

    Brothers and sisters confession is good for the soul . Who would like to start the confessions ?

    A lady stands up in the back and says she had been having impure thoughts .

    Preacher say ... tell it like it is sister ... tell it like it is

    A gentleman states that he cursed a lot when he smashed his finger .

    Preacher gets in a tizzy and say ... tell it like it is brother ... tell it like it is ...

    This little old man in the back gets caught up in all the excitement and stands up and proclaims

    Preacher I made love to a goat .

    Preacher looks at him and says ... brother I don't think I would have told that .

    Smart... yup

    ethical .... only you can answer if it is acceptable in your moral code

    I am not passing judgment one way or the other cause in the long run it is non of my affair .

    But I am kind of like the preacher . Sometimes it is smartest to keep some things to yourself .
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  • Profile picture of the author John Willer
    Nothing unethical about that!
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  • Profile picture of the author newBum76
    Definitely not unethical. This is competition, it's their own fault for making the silly mistake, maybe they'll learn a good lesson and up their game.
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    • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
      Originally Posted by SingleMom View Post

      The one thing that confuses me on this whole subject is - and this is if my memory serves me correctly as I don't use Google anymore - doesn't the Google campaign management software 'automatically' check your links for validity when you attempt to post a new campaign? And don't they check the site, too, for correct keywords and content to match your ad?

      I just don't see how the ad could have been approved originally if the link was not a valid link to a valid site.

      As for ethical, or unethical, it is not for me to say. But being a struggling single mother I would be devastated at a loss such as this if it were my campaign.
      What if you had hired an incompetent PPC pretender to run your campaign for you?

      And I agree with you on Google checking the links. That part really is confusing. :confused:

      KJ
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  • Profile picture of the author Talinn
    The term ethics works differently with marketers and Internet marketers in general. I don't want to offend any affiliates here doing this but I think most people would consider "creating a story like 'how I lost weight' or 'how I got my ex back' around a product that you have never used or maybe never ever seen, and hyping it up and then selling it and making a profit off of it" highly unethical.

    On a somewhat different note, I was hosting an affiliate site for a "get your ex back" product. Needless to say I hadn't used the product (although I had seen my review copy) but I was promoting it anyway. Then something happened and I was nearly in tears, I don't know why. My site was a Wordpress blog and from Statpress I saw that someone had searched for "miss my ex girlfriend hugely" in Google and came to my site.

    "Miss my ex girlfriend hugely"... it struck something within me, I would contact him and say, if I could: "man I am so sorry for you, I hope you get your ex GF back, and don't believe anything I wrote in this site, I didn't get an ex back with this product, lets meet and have a beer, man"

    Well that's probably because I was dumped by an ex and was nearly committing suicide because of it (I know, I'm silly). I have gotten over it but I know exactly what "missing your ex girlfriend hugely" meant.

    Maybe I'm super silly but I'm now having second thoughts about continuing to run that site.
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  • Profile picture of the author sdcast
    yeah, that's pretty smart
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    Change your life with a home business where your minimum commission could be $1,000! Minimal risk - I pay your way in! http://www.easystreetwealth.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Polomka
    This is a hard one, but as I see it, that person is paying for traffic - people are clicking on his link and going nowhere - he is still paying for the traffic. Regardless of whether you purchased that domain or not, he would still be paying for that traffic, so I don't believe you are doing any harm to him as he'd be paying for that traffic to go nowhere anyway.

    Hmmmm, did that make sense????

    Having said that.......

    Has everyone checked their PPC ads to make sure you have the right links - perhaps it's your ad!!!!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Will_Surren
    For the ones who think this is unethical. Say I work on a website for 2 years and know only a little about SEO. I have a site that has links all over but I have not done well with with keywords. I don't renew my domain and someone comes along and grabs the domain and slaps up some content using proper SEO and starts profiting from my previous work in link building. Now is that unethical? No not at all that is smart business.

    This is no different than grabbing up phone numbers of competition. If you are running a widget repair shop in your town and your competition that runs a widget repair shop goes out of business and you request their phone number from the phone company, you think that is unethical? No!!! Just smart business and it is used everyday by successful marketers online and off.
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  • Profile picture of the author Max Whitson
    Business is business.

    This is like saying is it unethical to past someone in a race when he is slower than you..
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    What I am really worried here is that you have affected the quality score of his campaign. Before then, the url was going nowhere and it was possile that his campaign would be slapped by Google i.e. price per click raised to such an extenet that it would stopped. Now you have put a site there, the quality score would increase and this would allow his campaign to go on.

    In this case, the explanation that you are simply collecting clicks that would otherwise been useless would not hold. You are making him pay much more for that mistake for your benefit.
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    Do not get between a wombat and a chocolate biscuit; you will regret it dearly!

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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by derekwong28 View Post

      What I am really worried here is that you have affected the quality score of his campaign. Before then, the url was going nowhere and it was possile that his campaign would be slapped by Google i.e. price per click raised to such an extenet that it would stopped. Now you have put a site there, the quality score would increase and this would allow his campaign to go on.

      In this case, the explanation that you are simply collecting clicks that would otherwise been useless would not hold. You are making him pay much more for that mistake for your benefit.
      That's actually a good argument - someone else also said that above. However the business being conducted by this url, is measured in conversions. So they would be conducting their business based on ROI (return on investment) Therefore they'd stop their campaign at the same spending point either way. They may have just hit their spending point a little faster if their quality score went down. Either way their spending will end up being the same - at least this way they can find out without having to build their quality score back up. I may actually be saving them some money.
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      • Profile picture of the author ptlhost
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        • Profile picture of the author garyv
          Originally Posted by ptlhost View Post

          WoW now that a compassionate statement "saving them money"

          Bottom line is you are taking what is not yours and you know it and that makes it unethical. Call it what you want, justify it as much as you want but you know it is wrong.
          Actually it is mine. I paid for the domain, and he's sending the traffic to me. I'm not taking it. He's sending it. If someone sends something to you, that is not stealing.

          Yes I asked if you thought it was unethical, and you do you've made that clear. And I'm absolutely fine that you think that way. You're obviously in the minority here.
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          • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
            Edit - Forget it, this is pointless.
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          • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
            Banned
            Originally Posted by garyv View Post

            Actually it is mine. I paid for the domain, and he's sending the traffic to me. I'm not taking it. He's sending it. If someone sends something to you, that is not stealing.

            Yes I asked if you thought it was unethical, and you do you've made that clear. And I'm absolutely fine that you think that way. You're obviously in the minority here.
            If you had already owned the domain and this person was sending you traffic by mistake and you tried to contact him to no avail, then I'd agree - it's serendipity at it's best.

            But, as you stated, you registered the domain after the fact with the intent of knowingly capturing traffic paid for by someone else without their knowledge or permission. Setting aside the ethics of the situation, I "think" that may be illegal.

            If it were me, I'd have researched it [legalities] carefully and maybe consult with a lawyer who has expertise in this area, before committing to the domain registration.

            Ethically, I don't think I'd have done the same thing in your position, but that's me. From a business perspective, I don't see any real longevity to the traffic anyways, so the effort would seem to be a moot point.

            Since you already registered the domain, you could just slap a redirect on it back to the right domain and call it good.
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      • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
        Gary,

        You sure started a fire storm with this thread.

        What's the most striking thing about the responses here has nothing to do with ethics or morality.

        What's striking is how many posters display the inability to think clearly, and demonstrate that by the analogies they use. Some of them miss the mark so far it's frightening to think they want to go out on their own and face the world.

        With the exception of a few, it's easy to argue that on the despicability scale your actions barely make a blip. This is hardly a crime.

        What also strikes me as odd is that if you had posted that someone was siphoning off your Adwords clicks and directing it to a site that mimicked your site's name you would have seen some of the same posters gnashing their teeth and wailing in outrage that some scoundral would do that to you. We've all seen these threads and the reactions.

        On a last note, the quote below states facts not in evidence. For all you know that competitor hired out the job to some knucklehead who couldn't manage a PPC campaign if their life depended on it, and now they are a double victim, for lack of a better word.

        Originally Posted by garyv View Post

        That's actually a good argument - someone else also said that above. However the business being conducted by this url, is measured in conversions. So they would be conducting their business based on ROI (return on investment) Therefore they'd stop their campaign at the same spending point either way. They may have just hit their spending point a little faster if their quality score went down. Either way their spending will end up being the same - at least this way they can find out without having to build their quality score back up. I may actually be saving them some money.
        Can't wait to see this as a WSO.

        KJ
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by Killer Joe View Post

          What also strikes me as odd is that if you had posted that someone was siphoning off your Adwords clicks and directing it to a site that mimicked your site's name you would have seen some of the same posters gnashing their teeth and wailing in outrage that some scoundral would do that to you.
          I wouldn't. If you mistype the URL in your AdWords PPC campaign, and traffic goes to someone else while you pay for it, you're an idiot. The longer it takes you to figure out you typed the wrong URL, the bigger an idiot you are. And everyone should laugh at you. I certainly will.

          And you have every right to do the same to me: if I mistype my URL on an AdWords campaign, you have my permission to set up a site at the misspelled domain and collect all the traffic I send you as long as I keep doing it. And you can call me an idiot and laugh at me when I find out, too.

          Because if I ever do that, I am an idiot, and I deserve to have people laugh at me. I'll laugh right along with them.
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          "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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          • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
            Well CDarklock,

            Hang around here long enough and you'll see my words are true. Obviously not in your case, but by and large, that's how the cookie crumbles.

            KJ
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by Killer Joe View Post

              Hang around here long enough and you'll see my words are true.
              Oh, I know they are. I've been studying the formation and development of online communities for years. They all work like this.
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              "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • Profile picture of the author rowenalee
    Competition is extremely tight in the internet world so I don't think it is unethical and I believe it is a smart way. Continue your journey.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    Killer Joe - I think that we are close on this one. I'll admit that the scenario on it's face looks "slightly" unethical. {emphasis on slightly} Otherwise I wouldn't have asked the question. But it's no where near a crime or thievery.

    I can see how some would come to that conclusion based on their thinking. I just think that they don't know enough about the scenario to come to a clear thinking conclusion. Wow - did I say think in that paragraph enough?

    Anyways - no hard feelings anyone. I'm normally a very generous guy, however like was said above, I guess I never should have told everyone that I screwed the goat!
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  • Profile picture of the author mentorondemand
    I don't know whether it is unethical or not.
    If you feel truly okay with it that is a simple
    barometer.

    What is done is done, however from a business
    stand point this is a small short term gain.

    I don't judge people so right or wrong is a relative
    term.

    However if in the future a person on this forum found
    a mistake similiar to this I would suggest to maximize
    your profits by starting a new profit center.

    Approach the the competition as a would be client and or partner
    and offer your service by presenting yourself as the neighborhood
    professional whose expertise is to make sure quality control is
    delivered.

    Owning the domain name gives you negotiating power.
    Finding and presenting the problem then yourself as
    the solution gives you credibility and leverage.

    I would even use this last situation as a case study.

    If nothing else you make a link partner or someone
    who may let you promote to his or her list for
    a thank you.

    Relationship building is a priceless commodity even
    among competitors.

    Just a thought .

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    yves
    the mentor on demand
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  • Profile picture of the author developerholic
    No, it's nothing personal, it's business. Lol!

    Well, it actually depends on what personally feel on ethical values. Just bear in mind, what goes around comes around
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  • Profile picture of the author yommys01
    That is very bad, you shouldn't do such a thing. It is unethnical....




    but it is not unethnical if your competitors takes advantage of your mistake.
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  • Profile picture of the author AlexR
    Hmmm.

    Let's say the postman incorrectly delivered a cheque addressed to someone else to your address. Do you rush down to the bank and open an account in that name so that you can cash the cheque?

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by AlexR View Post

      Hmmm.

      Let's say the postman incorrectly delivered a cheque addressed to someone else to your address. Do you rush down to the bank and open an account in that name so that you can cash the cheque?

      Alex
      Sorry, not a comparable scenario. Checks can be returned. Traffic can not.

      A more comparable scenario would be - What if the postman incorrectly delivered a bag of cash to your address and said that it was set to burst into flames and burn to ashes if no one claimed it immediately. Would you claim it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Reed
    In the world of business, he who builds the better mousetrap will reap the spoils!

    Eric
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    Gas Prices are HIGH Enough... But, your Website Graphics don't have to be: http://www.affordablegraphicsandbanners.com
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  • Profile picture of the author ken_p
    Theres a saying that comes to mind. STRIKE while the IRON is STILL HOT!
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    hates the rain
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    • Profile picture of the author mylelo
      Autoschediastic, that's what you have done, you saw the opportunity of making something out of wasted traffic with the first intent of contacting the owner of the misspelled site and being unable to contact it you decided to just cash in. Nothing wrong with that, it is like if you find a hundred dollars bill, what would you do? keep it if you don't know who it belongs to, I'm sure that if you knew who owns that site you will let them know about it, I have seen errors on web pages like broken links or some like that and was able to contact the owner and get him to correct the problem, a couple of them actually have a link to my site since I contacted them on good faith, so what you have done it's not unethical in any manner, not at all, keep it up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joeman
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    • Profile picture of the author CmdrStidd
      Originally Posted by Joeman View Post

      LOL @CmdrStidd thanks for the religious angle on this!!

      The Bible - average book with a bloody good marketing campaign
      Hello Joeman,

      Normally I do not involve the Bible on this forum because it is not the place for it, however, I can't stand to see someone pick and choose scriptures to use that make themselves look so much better than everyone else. That is the same trick that the Pharisees and Scribes did in Jesus time.

      Besides, I want him to know that when it comes to the scriptures, I am very well versed in what is in them. (Pun not intended but will be taken )
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    Unethical yes and potentially illegal if you're profiting from someone else's trademark.

    Tyrus
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    yes -no
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