Curiouser and Curiouser

Yesterday, during my KCPW debate with Unspam’s Mathew Prince on the new Utah keyword registry, Mr. Prince pointed out that if you searched for “xmission” on Google, an advertisement came up on the left for Comcast. Oddly enough, nobody had ever mentioned this to me before, but there it was with the creative tagline, “Better internet than XMission” (lower-case “Internet” not mine). Even though apparently Comcast was treading on my trademark, it really didn’t bother me because the rest of the page is filled with links to the XMission website. If Comcast is desperate enough to bid on adwords against little ol’ XMission, we must be doing something right.

Then something funny happened. Today the adword disappeared. Now either Comcast is afraid of getting sued and moved with lightning speed to correct the situation, or Comcast didn’t place the ad. If I hadn’t had my own experience trying to order Comcast’s mythical “gigabit business connection” after they advertised it at the Salt Lake City Council UTOPIA hearings, I would have suspected the former. What I know about Comcast now is that they’re about as quick as snails in salt.

Who would have motivation to place this adword and only for a day? I don’t care to speculate. What I think is humorous is that the advertisement disappeared without a call to my attorneys and without a regressive law to hold my hand.

2 thoughts on “Curiouser and Curiouser

  1. From the consumer perspective, I’m kind of insulted by what appears to be an underlying assumption by legislators (aka that we are too dumb to distinguish between, say, an ad for or article about Xmission vs. an ad by one of Xmission’s competitors. If I type in Xmission, as a consumer I’m often glad that my search produced not only items about my search term, but also related ads that I might not have thought of. Isn’t “better than Xmission” a legitimate form of comparative ad?

  2. A search engine’s purpose is to give you a variety of results so that you can find the information you want. It’s not meant to give you the single result because a company paid to be that result.

    Another issue that I see… I own a Jeep Wrangler. There are several companies that make accessories for my Jeep. So, I can do a search for “Jeep”, and find all sorts of Jeep related things. The ads include the official Jeep site, a local dealer, a variety of other dealers and some accessory sites. Interestingly, the search results themselves have official Jeep sites as the top two results. I would say that 95% of the time, doing a search for a company or product name brings that up as the very first search result. And when it doesn’t bring that up, it’s often because either there’s no official website or the official website is not very well made.

    Don’t fix what’s not broken.

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