There have been many reports of the decision by Google in the UK to allow a search on a trademarked keyword to trigger a Google Adwords advert for a competitor – marketing law has a great overview of the situation. With this approach already allowed in the US, I thought it was time to investigate how aggressively companies in the electronics sector are attacking competitors’ brands with Adwords.

I was quite surprised to find that the industry is either incredibly nice to competitors, or very slow to catch on. For example none of the microcontroller or FPGA vendors were targeting competitors’ brands when I looked. I did find some other sectors, such as power, where competitors were triggering Adwords on competitors’ trademarks, but clearly few companies are taking this approach. Just to make sure that other industries are taking advantage of the new rules I did, of course, Google “Adwords”, and not surprisingly the top advert was from… you’ve guessed it… Yahoo!

I’d definitely be prepared to accept that targeting competitors’ brands has limited benefit, but am surprised at the lack of activity, especially as many of the brands have several empty ad slots on the first page. If you’ve targeted competitors, why not email me and tell me your experiences?