Using your competitor’s name as part of a Google Adwords campaign

In Israel, businesses may set up Google Adword campaigns that use their competitors’ names and brands as keywords. In August 2006 an Israeli judge ruled that Crazy Line, a women’s clothing retail chain, was not guilty of any wrongdoing when they set up an Adwords campaign using the keywords of another clothing store, Matim Li.

But I still think it’s a bit sneaky to do that kind of thing. If a person is looking for a certain store, it is unfair to shove your brand in their face. It’s pushy, and even demeaning to try to ride the wave of someone else’s success.

Whether it’s right or wrong, imagine my surprise when I discovered that someone had set up an Adwords campaign using the name of my company, illuminea! My reactions were mixed:

  1. Flattery – this person apparently saw my company as very successful and wanted to benefit from our success.
  2. Amusement – I certainly ain’t no Matim Li. While we are experiencing a lot of demand for our services at the moment, we are certainly not worthy of being used for a Google Adwords campaign.
  3. Discomfort – I felt like this was a sneaky thing to do.

Anyways, today I didn’t see the Adword campaign anymore when I searched for illuminea. Did the guy figure out that we figured it out? Or is it a limited budget Adwords campaign and it will show up again later?

There are now two illumineas in the world

Whatever the case, I also discovered something else – a band in Philadelphia recently changed their name from illumina to illuminea! And they even use a small “i” too! Until now, the only entity in the world called illuminea was my business!

In terms of trademark issues, I don’t have anything against them. We’re in totally different industries, and different countries (which is not always a criteria since people can file international trademarks). But it means that I’ll actually have to become concerned now about where I appear in the search engines when someone searches for illuminea. Bummer.

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