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Follow up on my lawyer keyword dispute post

A few days a go I wrote about a dispute between Louisville lawyers, Ben Cowgill and Peter Ostermiller. The dispute arose out of Mr. Cowgill’s Internet marketing which included buying a list of Google AdWords, one of the words being Mr. Ostermiller’s name.

For those unfamiliar with the process, an advertiser submits keywords at Google AdWords. When a Google user does a search using one of the keywords a sponsored link displaying a phrase submitted by the advertiser with a link to the advertiser’s Web site appears on the right side of the Google screen. The advertiser pays each time the sponsored link is clicked on.

In this case, the Louisville paper reported last week about a situation where Mr. Cowgill made an Google AdWord buy including Mr. Ostermiller’s name. The Louisville paper also reported that “[Mr.] Cowgill aborted his link early last week, about an hour after being interviewed about it by a reporter.”

I said in my earlier post “Cowgill could not have been that proud of what he was doing in that he removed the link the day after he was called by the paper’s reporter.”

In no way was I am implying that Mr. Cowgill was admitting or acknowledging that he did anything illegal, unethical, misleading or improper when as the paper reported: “Cowgill aborted his link.” I was only expressing my opinion of the situation.

I am now told that Mr. Cowgill terminated the sponsored link in an effort to terminate any dispute with Mr. Ostermiller. This was apparently done by Mr. Cowgill to bring a good faith disagreement to an end so that it would not harm anyone nor rise to the level that it has.

I am not personally familiar with Mr. Cowgill nor Mr. Ostermiller. I can only presume they are both established, experienced and capable lawyers always seeking to do a good job for the people they represent.

I reported on a story I read in the Louisville paper and for which the reporter doing the story had called me. It was unfortunate that I may have drawn a conclusion that could be viewed as a cheap shot to another lawyer.

As far as whether to use a competitor’s name in a list of AdWords on which you are buying sponsored links, I would not do it. I will not be buying my competitor’s names as part of a list of AdWords I buy from Google, I will not be doing so for a our lawyer customers and I recommend lawyers and law firms not do so. In my opinion, there are better ways to market oneself.

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