Geico vs. Google

Geico_sittinggecko_3Maybe you haven’t noticed, but that little Geico lizard has been doing some Kung Fu fighting with Google, and so far it’s losing.

Geico is attempting to sue Google for letting competitors buy keyword searches linked to the company’s name. On Wednesday, a judge in Alexandria, Va., where the trial is taking place, ruled that the practice did not cause confusion among consumers, despite Geico’s contention that it does. Duh. Brings to mind that old David Ogilvy quote, “The consumer is not a moron. She’s your wife.”

Last time AdFreak checked, people went to search engines knowing—and hoping—they might see the competition’s ads. That’s part of the beauty of search, and the Web in general. There’s an expectation that you’ll be able to comparison shop. It’s sort of quaint for Geico to think that by launching a lawsuit, the company can actually hold back consumers quest for readily available information. (The case is proceeding on a second issue, which is whether competitive ads that reference Geico violate trademark law.)

If we were Geico we wouldn’t waste money on lawsuits, but on keeping those rates low. If there’s a lower rate out there, someone who wants to find it will, and probably in just a few clicks.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor