First, let me give some link love to a couple Twin Cities auto-body shops.
They’re both taking legal action against those who are pay-per-click bidding on their branded names.
Whether this amounts to anything is anybody’s guess, but it raises eyebrows.
In most cases, PPC bidding for competitor names is not illegal, but is definitely unethical. It happens all the time, but why would anyone do this anyway? If marketers studied true conversions, they would realize that it usually does nothing more than to piss off the competition.
I can understand why they would want to bring a lawsuit on, but there are easier ways to remedy this…
1) Contact the company and ask that they remove the ad
2) Bid on the competitor’s brand, just long enough for them to realize that you know what they’re doing (not necessarily recommeded)
3) Better yet, create your own branded ad. For Google, it costs nothing compared to legal fees and can make your competition look unprofessional. Here’s an ficticious example:
Imagine seeing this in the mix of competitor ads. I’d definitely click on the above example when searching for their name. Plus, both Google and Yahoo have built in a “Quality Score” in their advertising models. One of their factors is the more relevant site you’re pointing to will pull more weight than ads pointing to sites that are less relevant.
Basically this means that an ad from the actual business could pay something like 11 cents a click, and still be placed above a competitor branding for your name paying 22 cents a click.
Nonetheless, I hope the best for both local businesses.