Broker alleges espionage on the web

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Brokers beware: competitors could be using your name to boost their search engine rankings. That is in fact what one leading broker is alleging.

Vancouver broker Mike Averbach, of Averbach Mortgages, found another brokerage firm blatantly encoding his name on a blog webpage entirely unrelated to him or his brokerage. A Google search for his name yields a hit for that competitor’s site on page two of the search results.

“It’s very frustrating and aggravating, and how I should go about taking care of this?” Averbach told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It’s infringing on my gains and my search engine marketing.”

Averbach's competitor told MortgageBrokerNews.ca that someone else constructed the webpage and that he was unaware of the tag.

Averbach had been using search engine optimization (SEO) since 2007 and regularly checks the company’s placement in organic search results by using the computers of friends. Those computers don’t have search histories that would influence results.

Averbach is concerned that another competitor may also be using his name to drum up Internet leads.

That second competitor's Google ad pops up with a search for “Mike Averbach.”

Averbach is now pursuing CAAMP complaints against both competing brokers.

“People using my name to gain rankings in Google – what do you do about that?” Averbach said. “I know you can do something in the United States but I’m not sure what you can do in Canada.”

CAAMP’s ethics investigator, Mark Webb, said the organization would investigate any complaint, but could not comment on how that investigation would turn out.

“It sounds similar to a case I already have,” Webb told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “To be fair, you have to get both sides of the story because there could be more details that the person making the complaint is unaware of.”

 

 

 

  • Larry Arnason on 2012-03-14 10:10:39 AM

    The same tactic is being done to me and in this case it is an agent in the same firm as me. I cannot say that the agent is aware this practice is happening however, he has hired the marketing firm and he is responsible for the content they use on his site. In my opinion this is an unethical business practice and it should be stopped. As mortgage brokers we are trying to build our market share but when this type of thing happens it hurts us all.

  • Bentley on 2012-03-14 9:41:58 PM

    Would be keenly interested in the results of this complaint as I have a local competitor who actually bought my personal name in .ca extension as a domain name to host a mortgage page.

  • Mike Averbach on 2012-03-15 2:06:40 AM

    If we don't respect our fellow brokers and the hard work they put into building their OWN business and brand, how can we expect consumers to respect US!?

  • Ron Butler on 2012-03-15 2:25:33 AM

    Good point Mike, sleazy marketing practises like these do reflect on the character of the people who use them. I wonder what tricks they are pulling on their clients if they are so devious about how they market.

  • Ottawa Broker on 2012-03-15 9:29:53 AM

    On a similar note, we have a large broker owner here in Ottawa that has gone around buying up every domain name that is even remotely related to another brokerages name and that of personal agents. Funnels it all to their website. Some say smart business with the advance of technollogy, I say dirty business. A former admin staff of their brokerage said they have over 400 web addresses associated to other brokers and brokerages funnelling business to their site. Lesson learned, when you register your website, buy everything. (.com, .ca, .net, .org)

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