This post originally appeared on the JadoPado Blog and has been re-produced here to preserve the JadoPado historical record.
We recently got a bit of flak for taking advantage of a competitor’s decision to shut shop. Since the outset, we’ve always bid against competitors names, but this time around we decided to up the ante slightly and put up a few directly targeted aggressive adverts.
It took about 24 hours before someone’s sensibilities were bruised, and the first tweet came along:
That was followed by a few re-tweets and a what I like to call a Twifight or a Twitter Punch Up discussion. I actually found the negative reaction around the campaign to be quite surprising. In other markets it’s pretty common to see direct competitor comparisons and aggressive advertising across all types of media. Including things like:
as well as sites like “Freshdesk is a freaking ripoff”, hosted at ripoffornot.org. All in the name of pursuing and beating your competition. It’s worth noting that Freshdesk was recently funded by Accel Partners, while DuckDuckGo was funded by Union Square Ventures last October.
The UAE has laws against defamation and libel, and the authorities tend to pursue cases very seriously, even going to the extent of shutting down Twitter and Facebook accounts, should the need arise.
But I don’t think businesses engaged in a competitive marketplace need to act in a defamatory manner. Direct feature comparison, advantage comparisons and price comparisons will kick in as the market matures and the number of participants within a given industry increases.
To the best of my knowledge, the UAE’s laws (aside from perhaps Healthcare products) do not directly prevent aggressive competitor targeted or comparative advertising (the only discussion I could find is a blog post over at Hadef & Partners), but as with any public action, it’s necessary to consider the society that we live in and its nature before undertaking an overly aggressive campaign.
While the jury’s out on whether we should or shouldn’t target competitors, one thing that is clear is that when you’re engaged in a marketplace where it’s winner take all, it pays to be aggressive. And even more so when you’re a start up.