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Recently, we were searching one of our dealership clients (Bill Rapp Superstore) in Google and found that a competitor, Nemith Nissan, is bidding on their dealership's name in search. So when we typed in "Bill Rapp Nissan," a pay-per-click ad showed up saying "Bill Rapp Nissan-we beat their price." Further investigation showed that Nemith is bidding on several other nearby dealers' names.
Now, it's all fair to bid on keywords for the cars you sell, like "Nissan" or "Nissan Altima" or even "Nissan Altima Albany" to try to rank your ads as high as possible. But a dealer crosses an ethical line when he bids on the actual names of competitors.
Every car dealer wants to drive leads and sell more cars, but with a well-planned search engine marketing campaign you can do this without using competitors' names. Besides, a car shopper that sees a dealership using this kind of tactic will not trust them to be honest in selling a car. Ultimately, a campaign run like this will hurt a dealer's reputation, causing lasting damage that extends beyond the few extra leads that might come from the ads.