The Not So Local, Local Florist…

Well, I was messing around with our Google PPC (Pay Per Click – “Sponsored Listings in Google Search Engine) campaign this weekend, and was looking at our ad locations while I was setting up for our “Back to School Sale” that we started this week, and noticed some new advertisements in the searches.

For a little background:  We have been pretty lucky here, where it comes to the paid advertising over the past little while.  Our small Winnipeg market was not a very likely target for the offenders, but over the past several months, the false advertising seems to be more and more prevalent.

There is a new player in the game in Canada.  I am not going to name any names in this posting, because I am still trying to figure out the best course of action to have them banned from advertising on the search engines, and banned from the search engines in general.  (We all have to have a mission in life)

Here is the story from the past couple of days with this new threat to the honest consumer.

Sunday: 

I noticed the new offender in the Google sponsored listings.  (Right under our ad – that’s probably what burns me the most)  I was able to keep my composure and not commit click fraud by clicking on their sponsored listing repeatedly, and typed their URL into Google to see what was up with these new advertisers.  It would appear that this florist is represented in almost every major city in Canada, including, but not limited to I am sure:

Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton… and the list goes on.

Every one of the individual web pages for each of these “local florists”, have a URL like – phonyfloristwinnipeg.com or phonyfloristcalgary.com and each page states that they are in the heart of …”insert city here”.

I dismissed it as just another phony local flower shop and went back to watching Sunday night TV.

Monday:

Again, I was messing around with our Back to School Sale, and saw these guys again.  I decided to take a look at the sites again, and noticed that each flower shop, in each city has a LOCAL phone number and every short description in their Google listings says either in the heart of “insert city here” or are a local “insert city here” florist.

This kind of thing really gets me going!  It’s INCREDIBLY false advertising and what bothers me even more, is that the unsuspecting consumer (It could have been me 10 years ago) is going to go for the great deal they are offering in the ad, support this fraudster and get little value for the money that they are spending on flowers.

Later on Monday I took another look at the web sites and decided they needed to be blogged about.  So I started doing some research.

Coming up next:  I try the local phone numbers.

If anyone has any information on how to legally deal with this kind of fraud in Canada, please let me know.

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