is it unethical to bid your competitor's company names in a PPC campaign?

15 replies
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Fellow Warriors,

I have recently taken over the Google PPC Adwords campaign at my job. I found that our nearest competitor was bidding on our name as a keyword. I bid on all our competitors as keywords and quickly launched us into the top sponsored links for a lot of our competitor's names. Is this considered bad business? I figured it would just be common sense.
#bid #campaign #company #competitor #names #ppc #unethical
  • Profile picture of the author TheChimp
    Depends what your ads say?

    I would not really like it if the ad read "Dont waste your time with CompanyA, CompanyB will do everything better" or something along those lines. (Assuming you are CompanyB)

    What exactly are you getting out of bidding on their names as keywords? It would totally depend on which business this is for? Is it for IM?
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  • Profile picture of the author Lucid
    It is not unethical to BID on a competitor's name, as your title says. But echoing what The Chimp said, it's *what* you say in your ad that may be considered poor taste. Stay away from anything negative about a competitor. Google may come back and byte you on it too. If you say "Company A will steal your money!", you better have that on your landing page and be able to prove it.
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  • Profile picture of the author KirkMcD
    Originally Posted by Iwanttobuylinks View Post

    I wouldn't do this. If there name is trademarked. Then you are in for a lawsuit.
    What are you talking about?
    There is no law in the US and Canada that prevents you from bidding on a trademark term.
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  • Profile picture of the author searchnology
    We do this all of the time and competitors names, products and websites should definitely be part of your adwords groups.

    Each search engine has different TOS. Google allows you to bid on the trademark term but not use it in your ad. Yahoo doesn't allow either but you have to submit a lot of paperwork showing that you own the trademark etc to prevent others from bidding on it.

    Originally Posted by eddie.dillinger View Post

    Fellow Warriors,

    I have recently taken over the Google PPC Adwords campaign at my job. I found that our nearest competitor was bidding on our name as a keyword. I bid on all our competitors as keywords and quickly launched us into the top sponsored links for a lot of our competitor's names. Is this considered bad business? I figured it would just be common sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author keenstyle1
    If you wern't allowed to bid on your competitiors name, Google wouldn't allow it. When I used to bid on the huge financial firm names they would allow it for about a day, then say it's going to be $15 a click if you want to keep doing it. Scandalous !
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  • Profile picture of the author bettersocial
    I've seen MS advertise for Bing when you search for Yahoo or Google or "search engine" (although I think the campaign was later pulled - will try to find a screenshot). I personally don't think its unethical - after all, much of modern day marketing is built around downplaying the other guy. Think the "mac vs pc" ads.
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    Originally Posted by eddie.dillinger View Post

    Fellow Warriors,

    I have recently taken over the Google PPC Adwords campaign at my job. I found that our nearest competitor was bidding on our name as a keyword. I bid on all our competitors as keywords and quickly launched us into the top sponsored links for a lot of our competitor's names. Is this considered bad business? I figured it would just be common sense.

    Why would that be unethical.

    Motorola advertises at Qualcomm Stadium.

    Verizon advertises at Pac Bell Park.

    Why would camping on a keyword like thst be any more unethical?
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    You can bid on competitor's names but if they can request to be on a trademark list or something like that which will prevent you using their company name in your advert. This will hurt your Quality Score so you will have to pay more to compete.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dillinger411
      Thanks for your comments everyone. I went ahead and bid on the competitors' names but did not mention them in the advertisement at all. Our online marketing is competitive but not derogatory and we try to maintain good repoire with all the other storage facilities in the area.

      I think the reason why the bid price starts going up after a while is because other ppc marketers notice that I am bidding on their company's name as a keyword so they raise their bids in return to stay on page one. Honestly our internet marketing doesn't need PPC because we rank right behind Public Storage on local google searches (there are a lot of storage facilities in Atlanta competing) and we are a PR4 from organic link building over the last 3 years.

      Having the chance to work a PPC campaign for an actual local business is teaching me invaluable SEO tactics and I really appreciate all the help and comments that I have gotten in the Warrior Forum. I wish everyone here great prosperity and success in their endeavors.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lucid
        Originally Posted by eddie.dillinger View Post

        I think the reason why the bid price starts going up after a while is because other ppc marketers notice that I am bidding on their company's name as a keyword so they raise their bids in return to stay on page one.
        No. The reason your price is going up is more likely because the keyword is not relevant. Google doesn't see it on the page or mentioned in the ad (check the keyword's relevancy and landing page quality). Your click rate is probably low as well. All this affects your QS which affects what you pay.
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