Gucci knock-offs, SEM-style
Because VC's are awash with money and because search is the new Comstock gold mine, lots of firms have been getting funded in the SEM space that really have no business existing. This is a testament to the me-too nature of most VC firms and ultimately the desperation with which larger investment firms, retirement funds and the like are trying to achieve return in a target-poor investment environment.
Take SearchForce, for example, who by all appearances has built their entire business model around copycatting Efficient Frontier. For over a year the CEO was buying EF's brand name on Google and Yahoo, and for as long as they've been around their marketing message has been an EF knock-off. Case in point:
Do a search for "maximize the effectiveness of millions of keywords" on Google and you'll notice that results 1-5 and 7-10 are EF press releases going back to 2004, before SearchForce even existed.
That, my friends, is plagiarism, and pretty blatant at that. At least some of our other competitors like 360i/SearchIgnite take the time to change a few words here and there rather than steal our marketing message outright.
Fortunately, it's not possible to copy EF's technology, experience and world-class team. As is the case with Chinese rip-offs of designer hand-bags, the sophisticated buyer will know the difference, hopefully before buying.