Growing a business to a profitable stage is a remarkable feat in itself. Any small business owner reading this will attest to that fact. Maintaining the profitability of your business, protecting it and growing it are further challenges that you know and realise only too well.
Along that road, as owners or employees, we work hard to get our products and services to market. In my career experience it has always been my goal to get products and services to market in as honest and as deliberate a fashion that I can. The concept of business ethics is important, otherwise we have no moral base to build our business community and expect to trade with those that we trust to promise to pay when invoiced.
Doing business is based on a huge amount of trust. I’m sure you already know that. The amounts in question will vary from business to business. Some work on slim margins so every penny counts, others are more fortunate and can afford some slippage here and there.
What happens when the largest competitor in your industry begins to stalk you online and use your trademarked name in an advertising campaign.
Where’s ethics? Where’s the sense of fair play?
According to Google, ‘Advertisers can use a trademarked term within ad text if they are authorized, meaning that the trademark owner sent Google the necessary form allowing an advertiser’s particular account to use a certain term.’ However, a few paragraphs down the line, they drop the bombshell, ‘Google will not investigate or restrict the use of trademark terms in keywords, even if a trademark complaint is received.’
I wrote to Santiago Solanas, the CMO at SAGE. They employ 13,380 people in 24 countries. I asked Santiago to stop as he was infringing the copyright of the trademarked Big Red Cloud name. According to Mr. Solanos, ‘Sage’s acquisition and use of any Google AdWords is always undertaken in accordance with legitimate commercial practices and the threat made in your earlier email is entirely without foundation.’
I’m Michael O’Brien, Marketing Manager at Big Red Cloud. We employ 22 people and are proud to sell accounting software to small businesses in Ireland and the UK. I believe in ethics and fair play and would never countenance using another company’s name without permission.
When you can’t fight the good fight what options are left open to you? Who do you turn to when the bully in the room has longer arms and deeper pockets?
I’m turning to the many business associates I’ve met and built steadfast relationships with over the years. I’m asking you to share this story so that other small business owners can see there is another way to fight the fight.
You take one punch and you get back up only to discover the bully has also taken over Bing.
Another punch, and you realise that the bully is also over on Yahoo.
Please take a minute and Google, Bing and Yahoo ‘Big Red Cloud’ and click, if not for me, then for fair play!
I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom which are quite apt for the current situation I find myself in.
If ethics are poor at the top, that behavior is copied down through the organization Robert Noyce, inventor of the silicon chip
The time is always right to do what is right Martin Luther King, American leader of civil rights movement and Nobel Peace Prize winner
It’s ironic, the Free Dictionary has Sage listed as ‘one venerated for experience, judgment, and wisdom.’ When was the last time you thought the name of a company was totally misplaced and out of kilter.