A client called me yesterday and was pretty frantic because when he Googled his name, another ad for another attorney popped up above him. He’s not running pay per click ads, but this other law firm is using his law firm’s name as one of the keywords to trigger an ad on social media.

My client’s a pretty prominent attorney in New York City. I’m not going to tell you his name, but he’s very well-known.

What Can Be Done When This Happens To You?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about it. You can obviously bid higher on your own name. If you’re sending people to your website, you’re using your name, and your name appears on the website, then in theory, the way that Google AdWords works, you should outrank them.

That’s because your quality scores should be much higher because you are more relevant to the search term, be it your name, the law firm’s name, or whatever the brand name happens to be that they are targeting.

But can you stop them? No, not really. I’ve seen many cases, typically not necessarily for attorneys, but a lot of times for products. I know there are a lot of lawsuits happening right now over this exact thing, including one law firm bidding on another law firm’s name.

Should You Be Worried?

Here are a couple of things to think about. First of all, if someone is searching for your law firm’s name, there’s a good chance that they’re actually looking for you.

I always tell my clients, don’t worry too much about it because unless you are a huge attorney, like for example Morgan and Morgan, which are a huge law firm on the East Coast of the US, it would make sense to target Morgan and Morgan or forthepeople.com (their slogan).

It would make sense that you could target someone who’s searching for John Morgan or Morgan and Morgan or for the people with your brand. Still, the only reason that that makes sense to me is because of the sheer volume of people that are searching for those attorneys by name.

They spent so much money on advertising that it makes sense that someone is searching for them because they’re looking for a personal injury attorney and trying to find their information.

But again, most law firms don’t have to worry about this. If someone is searching for your name, it’s likely because they’re looking for you. Another ad for another attorney is not going to make a difference.

So, What Can Happen?

Another marketer commented that their client was bidding on another attorney’s name, and most of the calls that they got were people thinking that they were calling the other attorney and it was a lot of, oh, sorry, the wrong number, and then they hung up.

If someone’s bidding on your name, there’s not a lot you can do about it, but you can rest assured that they’re probably not going to be getting much out of it.

Going For A Comparison

Now in the instance of Morgan and Morgan, how can you use that for your benefit if you wanted to do that? Instead of just running a blanket ad, you could target someone and say how we compare to Morgan and Morgan, or before hiring Morgan and Morgan, read this article, and it can be a comparison.

I know of different products and services that have done this, like big brands. For example, if someone’s searching for Coke, Pepsi could run an ad and say, before you drink Coke, make sure that you read this article that shows that Pepsi wins all taste tests.

I’m just making this up off the top of my head. But there are a lot of instances where that’s happened. As long as you’re not pretending to be the brand, you can call on another brand, and you can say, “hey, before you hire Morgan and Morgan, check us out” or “here’s why you should hire us instead of Morgan and Morgan.”  

From different lawsuits that happened in the past, I believe that it’s been ruled or upheld that that type of advertising is okay. Now again, I’m not a lawyer. Don’t take my advice as the final word, but that’s the idea here.

What If You Call Google?

If you call Google, they won’t do anything about it. We had a client not too long ago where somebody was running paid traffic to their website, and I have no idea why they were doing that or who they were. To this day, we still don’t know why it happened or who was doing it.

We called Google first to try to figure out who was doing it, and second to try to make it stop. This is because what they were doing is running ads to our client’s website for pro bono legal work.

When someone searched for a free attorney, they were putting our client’s information up, and people were clicking it. They were thinking that they were going to get a free attorney. They were wasting all of our client’s time with people that thought that he was going to represent them for free.

He reached out and said, “You’ve got to get this to stop.” I called Google, and I argued with them for hours, and they wouldn’t turn it off. It’s difficult to make Google do anything. Just don’t stress about it too much if somebody is bidding on your brand name.

Unless you’re Morgan and Morgan, then maybe you need to think about it a little bit more. But for the most part, for 99.99% of attorneys out there, it doesn’t matter. People are probably wasting their money when they’re bidding on your name.