Protecting High-Value Branded Search Terms – SESNY

Alex Irvin, Online Programs Director, 1 800 PetMeds
Caroline Rolfe, Head of Online, Links ofLondon

Caroline starts off the presentations. Links of London, a jewelry brand has stores in USA, Canada, Europe, Japan. Their iconic products are the Sweetie and the Friendship bracelet, and have given the most problems and the most success. Counterfeiters have tried to capitalize on the brand. A luxury goods study shows that counterfeit sellers divert 120 million annual visits from brands, equivalent to 47% of traffic to a brands’ core e-commerce sites. 1100+ sites contain a luxury brand name in the domain name (cybersquatting).

How does this relate to search?

Traffic lured to rogue sites via paid search campaigns:

  • increase cost of branded search terms
  • negative impact to overall e-commerce success
  • decrease in customer confidence for the brand

What do counterfeiters do to our search strategy?

Paid search abuse:

  • to sites selling counterfeit or competitive goods
  • increases cost of SEM
  • creates clutter
  • organic search manipulation – traffic theft

The strategy to deal with this: unique collaborations between our PPC/SEO agency and brand protection agency equals:

  • efficiency in spend
  • more eyes on the search space
  • fresh ideas on our search strategy

Both agencies regularly look at search space to keep communication open with each other to target new and persistent offenders. I Spy reported offending sites to search engines after identifying the worst offenders within PPC.

Sharing results:

  • 41% decrease in brand CPC
  • More clicks for the same budget (50% increase in traffic from PPC)
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Increased e-commerce sales
  • Significant improvement on new customer acquisition cost
  • Reduction in amount of counterfeiters using AdWords
  • Improved customer service

protecting brand online panelNext Alex will talk about troubles with affiliates and competitors causing confusion with typo-squatting domains. They researched, found some low-hanging fruit and took action. It was a whack-a-mole game. They hired help for typo-squatting – Citizen Hawk. Then there was a new type of mole – paid search infringement. Same whack-a-mole game. They realized the scope of the problem, hired help for typo-squatting and search infringement, and now social.

Why is online brand protection important to 1-800-PetMeds? In the pharmaceutical industry, brand trust is particularly critical. They have to protect their marketing investments, both online and offline. And lower costs are an important part of the equation. Their CPC dropped 85%!

The challenges:

  • Competing advertisers’ non-compliance with engine PPC guidelines
  • PetMeds affiliates bidding on trademarks
  • Competing websites using PetMeds TM in domain andMetainfo

What to do?

  • Identify current state
  • Prioritize
  • Act
  • Measure results
  • Repeat

Address affiliate abuse:

  • Establish and communicate clear guidelines.
  • Monitor, investigate and enforce against habitual abusers.
  • Reduce unnecessary commission payments.


Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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