Re: Unethical Advertising Practices

From: Pesach Lattin <>
Date: Tue 05 Nov 2002 14:00:45 -0600

Re: Eugene's complaint that someone was bidding on a keyword associated with
his adserving solution.

    I have to be one of the most outspoken (albeit often obnoxious) people
in the online advertising community in regards to ethics. If there was
something unethical out there in online advertising, I'd be all over their
back, spanking their virtual assess to ensure that it stopped. I don't
however believe this is unethical at all, and is also common practice in the
keyword industry. A few basic points to be made:

1) You raise legality _ why wouldn't it be legal? Free speech & Expression
is still the standard, and as far as I know this extends to the internet.
Why google wouldn't be allowed to sell advertisements (as long as they
aren't misleading) on any of the webpages that they own is beyond me. They
are giving advertisers an opportunity to show competing products, and
competition is the base of our economic system. (except in baseball)

2) Why would it be unethical? I find it funny that anyone in the online
advertising industry would even question the ethics of this. What's next,
bitching because an advertisement in a magazine faces an article about a
competing product? It's been done for years, and will continue to be done
both in print and online. Part of marketing a product is ensuring that the
product matches the best target _ in this case, someone running keyword
searches for anything advertising related will get the paid advertisers. I'm
assuming that your serving solution doesn't have any targeting, if this
bothers you.

3) They aren't using your companies _brand name_ to promote your product,
despite your objections. If they were associating your name through a
misleading link such as _Buy AdReolver here_ it would be a problem. What
they are doing, as mentioned above, is giving competing solutions to your
advertising solution _ giving the customers choice. This is the essential
argument that allows all advertisers to advertise in this country, and
allows us to be protected under the first amendment. Advertising is
essentially a freedom of speech.

You may not like that competitors are out there, but that's the nature of
....competition. What you are basically complaining about is that they are
able to spend money and place links on webpages on Google that contain a
reference to your companies name. There is a very simple word to describe

Take care & be safe,


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Received on Tue Nov 05 2002 - 14:00:45 CST


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