Whats Dumb? Homehound Google campaign!

It amazes me what people will do from time to time with their Google Adwords Marketing. However, this one from Homehound I doubt will endear them to the many agents who are not partners.

It seems that Homehound are targeting non partners and using their business names in Google Adword campaigns. So if you did a search for say First National Palm Beach or Ray White Sydney then a Homehound Advert appears. This much is fair play, what is not fair play is using these companies names in the actual Google Advertisement and then telling them to look at Homehound.com for listings.

Note: Tried this for LJ Hooker and no Google advertisement – a clean slate, seems Mr Hooker is strong on protection (settle E)

It is just another case of being too smart by half.

If a competitor of mine used my business name in search results to bring up their company then I would be fine with that, but if they also used my name in the advertisement I would be furious!

So, it is either an embarrassing gaffe by Homehound or another one of these silly adwords companies that promise the world and deliver litigation costs everywhere. This is not the first time this has happened and the big boys in Australia have been caught out as well in the past, but please, after all of the litigation around the world on this one, you would think companies would learn!

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8 Comments

  • Glenn
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 7:17 pm 0Likes

    We are one of those being targeted it seems.

    The ad states our business name and then the ad copy states that you can view our listings.. When you click on it it does not take you to our listing on homehound it takes you to homehound’s home page.

    I have asked our Head Office to investigate and unless this is removed tomorrow I “will be lodging a formal complaint with Google.

    The particular Adwords Condition breached is

    *******************************
    Customer represents and warrants that it holds or has obtained from the relevant persons unconditional and irrevocable consents permitted by applicable laws to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe such person’s moral rights and hereby grants Google and Partners all rights (including without limitation any copyright, trademark, patent, publicity or other rights) in Creative, Services and Targets needed for Google and Partner to operate Google

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 7:47 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    Peter, this recent example just typifies why the majority of the industry cannot trust the big franchisors, nor any private portal that they own!

    MR Hooker is one of the 4 franchise owners of homehound. For the big franchisors portals which are owned in an association format, represent a way in which to collect listings from their competitors, independents and Cooperatives alike. Glenn just found this out the hard way.

    This is not just bad for innocent agents whose brand is being used unlawfully, it is also an indictment on the chauvinistic MR Hooker.

    Yes Thank you MR Hooker, for using our brands and reputations to drive traffic to a site which you own a share of, whilst you protect your own franchisees.

    Any privately owned portal suffers from the same motivations. Those motivations are to provide a return to its owners. This is why I also have not trusted Myhome from the very beginning.

    Strange isn’t it that Elders jumped into bed with Myhome straight away. Yet the broader industry did not get a look in.

    When you acknowledge the absence of data protection clauses in the myhome terms and conditions, you start to see a bigger picture.

    The big winner out of homehound is Property Data Solutions, who as I understand it has an exclusive right to all agents data.

    It seems that homehound, Property Data Solutions and LJ Hooker all have a case to answer here.

    Thank you MR Hooker.

    E

    p.s. Peter did I disappoint you? 🙂

    p.p.s Glenn I think that homehound and the franchisors should be blaming themselves rather than blaming REA. Isn’t that like coming 3rd in a race and blaming the first and second place getters for your own performance?

  • snoop
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 7:58 am 0Likes

    Homehound is a dead duck.
    Myhome gets more traffic.
    And of course you overlook the fact that Ray White are the major shareholder of PDS.
    The big boys have all made alliances.
    Does it make them more efficient at the operating level.
    I suspect the Good independant agencies make as good or better money than a good Hooker franchise etc.

  • Glenn
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 9:51 am 0Likes

    Elizabeth..

    It was a joke! Of course you cant blame REA for the desperation tactics employed by the also rans trying to play catchup…

  • Glenn
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 10:30 am 0Likes

    I have been doing a bit of searching on this and it seems that there are a few groups targeted at least.. with a lot coming from First National and Ray White. I have tried searching less web prominent agencies in both of these groups and there is listings.

    Everyone is an office with high rankings and high traffic on the web. Maybe they just googled the group names and hit the top 50 individual offices returned for each. The other way they could have found potential targets is just to start on the Hitwise rankings and select from the top 200 agencies.

    A quick look at Google Analytics show we have received 37.12% of our traffic from the search engines and 5 of the top 10 keywords (including number 1) relate to our business name.. ie. suburb first national real estate, suburb first national, first national suburb, first national suburb real estate etc etc…

    3 of these appear to be targeted. They are also amongst our highest quality visitors with the highest goal conversions, the highest pages/visit and longest session times. So they are the worst visitors to lose to trickery.

    It seems since yesterday afternoon a minor opposition company from a few suburbs away is also now targeting our business name as a keyword although thankfully they do not pretend to be us by using our business name in their ad title.They simply have “Gold Coast Property”. Conincidence or maybe they liked the concept after reading it from here, I dont really know.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 8:34 pm 0Likes

    Glen – I did appreciate the joke 🙂

    E

  • Glenn
    Posted August 31, 2007 at 10:30 pm 0Likes

    Nothing removed…so as I promised I will be lodging a complaint with Google over the Weekend.

  • Glenn
    Posted September 3, 2007 at 10:43 am 0Likes

    Seems they are claiming that an external SEO contractor is responsible and they are investigating.

    Given the fact that the recent ACCC case against the Trading Post and Google is a virtually identical matter that is currently before the Fedral Court I doubt the ACCC will take to kindly to this especially since I doubt they would believe a SEO company would not know of this case.

    The ACCC allege that Trading Post and Google breached the Australian Trade Practices Act 1974 specifically section 52 and 53(d) which relates to misleading and deceptive conduct by representing through sponsored links an association, sponsorship or affiliation with another business where one does not exist.

    Clearly Google cannot police everyones adwords campaigns and since the ads were removed when the ACCC become involved I take it their inclusion in the trial is probably about media exposure. IMHO the guilty party in that case was the Trading Post as is Homehound in this case.

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