Detecting PPC Violations is Critical to Online Brand Protection

Online brand abuse is becoming more and more common. This is especially prevalent for those marketers using PPC ads.

Online pirates such as unauthorized resellers, phony websites and other cyber thieves could very well be abusing your brand without your knowledge. These abusers of your brand utilize branded keywords to send potential customers to websites that they operate. This illegal practice can hurt your ranking on Google, in addition to your reputation.

One instance of Trademark abuse covers using branded keywords in the context of PPC ads when violators use them in their PPC ad copy.

Let me go over some of the steps to follow to fight this potential violation of your brand.

Create a Plan

You need to plan a method of attack to defend against these violations. Become aware of all threats you detected up to that point. Where is your company most vulnerable and keep in mind what kind of abuse has occurred and damaged your brand prior. Note how you have fought these violations in the past and figure out a dollar figure with regards to how much you've already spent protecting your brand online. When you a have a brand protection plan in place, know that you will most probably need to adjust it, as you will most likely identify additional forms of abuse to your brand you never came across.



In the digital marketing world, things happen super fast. You never know when a competitor's website might start abusing your brand, even without knowing. Brand abuse is frustratingly so common, your environment needs to be monitored round the clock. Continually monitor the landscape. Keep an eye on the keywords being used by your competitors. Brand Protection isn't just a nice to have anymore, it is a necessity to marketers everywhere.


Brand Abuse is a Mixed Bag

I want you to conduct a test. Using a brand protection tool, track the landscape of your competition. I have no doubt that you will discover that brands who don't have authorization are bidding on the keywords of other brands. Let's take a look at some of the shady actors and their activities you might come across in identifying abuse to your brand.


Online Counterfeiters

You will most likely find online counterfeiting sites that bid on branded keywords so that they can drive customers to their site. These online resellers much of the time, don't even sell the brand. Try clicking on an ad for Gucci and you might be taken to a site selling flip flops from China.


Brands who Bid on Keywords of Other Brands

Take a look at your competitors. See what keywords they are using to attract customers. If you sell the exact type of items they sell, they just might get the business instead of you, cutting into your bottom line. Here is an example of how they can do this. Say someone is looking to buy a Nike sneaker, they click and instead of going to your site, offering the best the online market has to offer, they are directed to an Adidas site. Which may or may not be counterfeit.


Traffic Hoarding by Spammy Sites

Doesn't it get you frustrated when you conduct a search to get to a product page, but the website you're directed to is just filled with ads, keywords, or even worse visibly counterfeit goods? These websites can easily steal your traffic via cyber piracy tactics such as brand jacking or typo-squatting. After a while, these will become easy to spot.


Be Proactive

In today's challenge to protect your brand, only you can take action and are in charge of your fate. If you have a legal department, plan a course of action to fight potential brand abuse and avoid losses in revenue and/or visibility. The sooner abuse of your brand is identified, the quicker you can move to shield it.


Implement a Brand Protection Tool

I can not stress this enough. Brand protection should not be implemented as an afterthought anymore. You need a brand protection tool that will not exhaust time and money resources. With Trademark and keyword abuse of your brand increasing daily, competitors want nothing more than to steal your traffic, redirect potential customers to competing brands or to online counterfeiting sites.

You want to implement a tool that works for your brand around the clock and that is customizable. You want a tool that scans results in Google search according to the terms you provide. You want to be notified in a clear manner with detailed reports of abusive PPC ads who are misusing your brands and/or trademarks. These reports should include valuable information such as text of the ads, links and screen-shots that are sorted by search terms, geographic point of violation and exact time.

To protect yourself against this threat, you need to create an online brand protection strategy that will work for you round the clock to identify those violators of your brand. The PPC ad world is just one forum where you brand can sustain damage. You need an online brand protection tool that will protect you against that and a host of other threats.

Are you using a brand protection tool? If so, which one? Please share this post. If you have any comments at all, feel free to do so below.