Why the hell is someone able to advertise on Google using my brand name? Don't I own my brand name, and my product names? The simple answer is no, you don't, especially when it comes to using them in search. For the delusional lawyers that think they do, can I please laugh at you? It's gone. Shattered. You can have your brand terms copyrighted, trademarked and employ a whole team of leaders for their defense, but owning? That control state exists only in lawyers' minds. Yes, you may OWN them, but the reality is you just can't sue everybody, not anymore. Like copyrighted material that makes it onto video sites, it's a losing battle.
So, what you really need to do is look at this as an opportunity, not an obstacle.
The way that Google works, and I'm sure as hell going to get flack if I get this wrong, is that if the name is in the competitive set and it is relevant to the purchase, category, product or topic, you can buy it.
Now, what you cannot do, or are not supposed to do as a competitor to the brand, is use that brand name in the copy of that ad. You can use it in the title due to dynamic replacement, but you are not supposed to -- or it is greatly frowned upon if you do -- use it in the copy of the ad. But the reality? Eh, a lot more murky. There are just way too many advertisers buying terms, and it's that democratization that is fueling a lot of the growth.
Look, if a company is buying your product name, or your brand name, then you are doing something right. Are they riding the coattails of your brand equity? You bet your lazy corporate lemming butt they are. And they will ride it and ride it until you wise-up on how to defend it.
There are a number of companies that insist on not buying their brand names with the belief that "I am already ranked at the top of the organic results, so I don't need to." And that is true for many clients. But not buying your brand name in addition is ludicrous.
Here are three main reasons why you want to do this:
1. Combination punching
Enough research out there has shown us that the combination of having an organic link and a paid listing increases response by somewhere around 25 percent. Now, you could argue that the organic link is free and that paying for an additional 25 percent is not worth it. Wrong! Your competitors are unlikely to be over in the section of organic listings. They are hitting you in the ad space. Occupy that space so they don't own you.
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