The Law of
are you being ripped oFF?
many of thE lEgal issuEs keyword or search term for PPC. This is about
existing today have little, or no, clear by John dozier non-competitors running programs to identify
legal authority to guide us. This is search terms that are popular, buying the PPC
because many of the abuses are: help from the search engine. Without naming advertising in bulk from search engines and using
names, one search engine seems to be very good your company name in its main advertising title.
Not discovered. and proactive, while most other search engines My law firm had a leading and well respected
seem to miss a lot of fraud. Run PPC advertising technology search engine doing just that against
When they are discovered by the advertiser, on multiple sites and you’ll see what I mean when us. It’s false advertising, at a minimum, but a
they are settled confidentially. you have a fraud issue arise. quick call to the CEO resolved the matter for us.
However, it may not resolve the issue for others
When litigated, it can take years to get a imPrEssion fraud This type of fraud being targeted in this way. The other problem is,
decision that is confusing, inconsistent and comes from a competitor or someone marketing on in fact, the search engines themselves. It used
contradictory. its behalf. Almost all of the quality search engines to be the only ads presented were based upon
use algorithms to present ads. Simplified dramati- the search terms selected. At least one major
Yahoo! and MSN recently launched a new and cally, a good explanation is that your bid and your search engine is presenting PPC ads based upon
improved pay-per-click (PPC) advertising solution ad click rate determine presentation order. It is some ill-advised algorithm that identifies likely
because the companies can make a lot more not a mere coincidence this approach generates ads of interest to the party searching. Thus,
money from you through a PPC model — the maximum revenue for the search engine. Your one client had all of its competitors’ ads being
most dominant advertising revenue model today. competitors can drive down your ad popularity (click presented when users searched the name of the
Here are the three biggest PPC issues to which
you need to be paying attention:
click fraud Traditionally a competitor
would click on your ad, making you spend more The more prevalent problem today is
money for poor results, leading you to deciding
not to bid as aggressively or maintain a big advertising distributor fraud.
budget with the advertisers, which leads your
competitor to outbid you at a deflated cost. The
more prevalent problem today is advertising
distributor fraud. This occurs when your ads are
shown on “partner” sites in which a revenue rate) by generating a huge volume of automated client, even when none of the competitors had
share is paid whenever a click through occurs. searches for your key terms but never clicking on purchased the terms.
There are an infinite number of ways for this type your ad. This drops your popularity, which allows I am reminded of the story about the lion’s
of fraud to be perpetrated. The best approach your competitor to bid lower but get a higher ad prey waking up in Africa every morning. It doesn’t
you can take is to monitor your advertising ranking because your competitor disabled his/her have to be the fastest in the pack to live another
records and log files and identify any unusual own ads when running the “impression attack.” day — just not the slowest. The message for
spikes in volume. You may, or may not, get much Don’t think, however, that you can necessarily figure you is that you don’t have to shut down the
out who is doing this by finding the competitor fraudsters. Just stay on top of things and get
whose ads have been disabled. Affiliate marketers them to pick on someone else!
John Dozier is president of Dozier will run these attacks against you, other competitors
Internet Law, PC, a law firm repre- and even their own client.
senting small and mid-sized online The information in this article is not
businesses. He can be reached at sEarch-tErm abusE This is not intended to be legal advice. Always
email@example.com or online at consult your attorney when faced
the trademark infringement issue concern-
with legal issues.
Cybertriallawyer.com. ing a competitor buying up your name as a
42 //// Practical EcommErcE //// July/august 2007