Competition – How far do you go?

I’ve been asked many times over the years…”So, how can I go after my competition? Can I use their name(s) in my ads? Can I go after their keywords?” These are vary tough questions to answer and very easy questions to ask. To give you the very simple answer. No, do not go after your online competitors online by using or marketing under their own company or brand names. My reason, do you like it when they do the same to you?

I have had a few lawyers in my day contact my peers to have them cease all online marketing under competitive brand terms. I’ve personally witnessed red faced lawyers screaming through the phone swearing a holy judgment and legal action to the end of days because of using branded terms and company names to display ads and market online.

To most individuals that are online marketers or searchologists…I say don’t do it. Your competitors will figure it our sooner or later and return the favor and you are not going to like it one bit.  To my clients I say don’t do it because you may end up starting a bidding war or a minor legal battle which will not be worth the time.

However, it’s gone beyond the pale these days. Yes, now I’ve seen it all. I know it’s been going on for a long time but I’ve never EVER have believed it until I saw it with mine own eyes. There are companies out there so brasien as to add their competitors keywords and brand names in search engine optimiztion keywords.

Yes, there is an upside when it comes to pay per click advertising under competitive brand names and terms. This is a little more acceptable…especially when the tables have been turned on you or your client in the first place. Then yes, it is a little about revenge and it is a lot about solid ROI at a lower cost per lead or sale. But when you start throwing stones at glass and add these terms into your own website and page copy…you’ve simply gone way to far. Too far.

Yes, there are companies and individuals willing to support adding in other competitive brand terms and names into their page descriptions and title tags. Yes, it has come to this. It is a wonder why some companies and individuals involved in search engine optimization and search engine marketing have crappy reputations. Sure, it is not just about redicously high prices…the other reason they have MUD for a name is due to ADDING COMPETITIVE TERMS INTO SEO PRATICES!

As I mentioned…to use other compeitive terms and names in pay per click can be acceptable under optimal circumstances…but I do not like the pratice and have only done so under extreme situations. Never, would I nor should you work with…an search engine optimization company or pay per click service provider which recommends doing so first thing out of the gate. Run, and keep going. It is a very bad practice and frankly, rude. As I said…would you want your competition to do it to you? No, then don’t start a nasty cycle. Life can be difficult enough. Let’s all try to be a little nicer and possibly we can learn how to get along just a little better when we market on the Internet.