Ministry running a "spoiler" campaign
Media Release 10 October 2006
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage are running a "spoiler" campaign by placing a paid advertisement that displays when the keyword "eventfinder" is searched for on Google.
The technique is known as a "spoiler" because the objective is to attract users that are actively searching for a competitor's website.
In this instance, the Ministry is trying to attract people searching specifically for Eventfinder (www.eventfinder.co.nz).
Eventfinder staff were alerted to the spoiler ad by a member of the public early Tuesday morning. A screen shot on the Eventfinder Blog (blog.eventfinder.co.nz) clearly shows the Ministry's ad attempting to lure users searching for Eventfinder to their own "cultural portal", nzlive.com.
Since launching on September 11, the Ministry has being advertising sporadically on Google. Their ads invariably compete directly with Eventfinder's, and always appear in a higher position.
"We have tried increasing our cost-per-click bid" said Michael Turner, Eventfinder's chief executive, "but the Ministry simply increase their bid each time so their ads always appear above ours - we simply can't compete with their taxpayer-funded marketing budget."
"Although we believe in our competitive advantages, such as a more user-friendly website and higher quality of service, the Ministry can simply buy traffic by throwing more taxpayers' money at marketing their site."
"Even though the Ministry is blatantly trying to poach our audience by using these tactics, we won't be running our own spoiler campaign, as we believe the practice to be unethical."