The first page of Google, or the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), is more valuable than a storefront on the 100 block of N Rodeo Drive, or even Fifth Avenue & 57th Street. Rent for either can cost more than a million dollars per year. Real estate on the SERP for a desirable key word is worth millions of dollars and all of the intangible value that go along with its Beverly Hills and New York counterparts. Not only is that placement worth it, infringers are paying it. I interviewed a counterfeiter I caught last year who paid over $400,000 for optimal SERP placement of just one website.
Brand strategists need to take this concept more seriously. Most are still focusing on the lone method of taking down websites. Don’t get me wrong, taking down websites is still a necessary part of enforcement, however this method is like marching down Canal Street in New York City every week and pulling down the counterfeiters’ storefront signs, without actually removing the infringing product from the street. Tackling the SERP is akin to what my father accomplished for years on Canal Street in New York City, by actually keeping the infringing product in the back of the stores and out of public view.
I’m sure the whack-a-mole game can be comfortable and those stats sure can look pretty. If you want to actually affect the bottom line… I mean really want to catch the attention of the C-level folks at your brand, you need to conquer that SERP. Your job is to protect a brand that is worth (in some cases) billions. While you are performing parlor tricks for your friends, your bosses bosses bosses boss is looking at that SERP and seeing websites offering counterfeit versions of their goods. My intention is not to make anyone feel bad. It is to shake you up and make you think about breaking the status quo and becoming extraordinary. Change your company’s strategy. Take a chance and speak up. Stand out.
Now I’m going to finish my coffee.