Ask PPC Hero! Is Bidding On Your Competitor's Trademark Terms Legal?

We frequently receive questions from readers in regards to PPC strategy, management, the industry at large, etc. and we usually respond on an individual level but we are shifting gears slightly. If one person has a question on PPC, more-than-likely other people have similar a question. So, we thought we’d share our answers as questions come in and help everyone!

I will answer today’s question with a series of links! Greg Moore recently asked,

“Is it OK to bid on a competitor’s trademark? Would really like to know what trends you see – is this happening more and more, or less and less? Thanks!”

This is a tricky question! Here is a tricky response: you can and you can’t bid on a competitor’s trademark terms. I will answer this question in two of ways: legality and best practices.

Legality: This issue is addressed in both the AdWords help section, and the Yahoo’s Legal Guidelines. Both of them state that they take the issue if trademark/copyright bidding very seriously, and they should. To get it straight from them, you can just click on the links above.

Best practices: If you want to bid on your competitor’s name and trademark terms, you can do this but you have to do it wisely and fairly. Google & Yahoo want to provide a great user experience by delivering the most relevant search results possible. When a user types in a company name, they are more-than-likely looking for that specific company. However, you may be able to serve your ad as an alternative to the searched-for term if you have a similar product or service. This means that you need to make a direct comparison between your company/product/service, and that of your competitor. Don’t be tricky, just be honest and try to present a viable option to a possible customer. Check out a recent article on PPC Hero on this topic!

In summary, be careful, be smart, be fair and most importantly, be relevant. Those should be the four rules to consider when bidding on your competitor’s trademark/copyright terms and brand names.

If you would like to ask PPC Hero a question – please do! We welcome questions of all shapes, sizes and complexity (simple to advanced). Just click here to drop us a line!