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Pointing to Google is a risky business

Pointing to Google is a risky business

Pontiac is rerunning its very strange ads in which it shares branding with Google. Last night I saw one that shows a screenshot of "Pontiac" being typed into Google, with a voiceover saying, "For more, Google Pontiac." [see ad on YouTube].

Isn't displaying, "" enough? Apparently not for Pontiac, and it's a decent strategy if you want your potential customer to see the universe of links related to your product. Although in this case, Googling Pontiac gets you a lot of links unrelated to the cars. On the first page of Google results, you get links to the city of Pontiac, the Pontiac Grille in Philadelphia, and Lyle Lovett's album, Pontiac. So I don't get the strategy.

And there's a big risk: a competitor could swoop in and buy out the Google ads that sit on top of the search result. Right now the top ad is indeed from Pontiac. But there's nothing, except money, to stop Ford, Honda, or another car company from outbidding Pontiac for the "Pontiac" ad word.

Google is a fantastic resource for Web users and for advertisers, but it is not easily controlled. Pontiac is playing with fire here.

More commentary on SearchEngineWatch.