I recently was shown a letter from a national brand to one of its local retailers prohibiting them from using the brand’s name in their site URLs. I am sure most of the retailers would have no idea why they received this letter but for those in the know this is a shot across the SEO bow. To me this was a clear case of a big brand fearing that a little guy is going to outrank them in search results for their key terms.
Besides being nearly impossible to enforce, this kind of aggressive posture can do nothing but backfire. It’s only a matter of time before a pissed off retailer posts a copy of this letter for everybody on the Web to see and give the brand a nice black eye in front of one of its most important constituencies. The thing I don’t get is what’s the difference between a supermarket putting up a URL like www.safeway.com/pepsi and advertising in the paper that they sell Pepsi (FYI Pepsi is not the brand)?
If I were a national brand wouldn’t I want to help my distributors sell as much of my product as possible? Instead of sending cease and desist letters, how about giving your partners some free SEO/SEM advice?
And for those of you still playing the Google Trends game todays Trendy Word of the Day = trojan.win32.starfield