Got an ethics question for you...
How many times does this happen to you, and what do you do about it?
You could take a stab at guessing the web address of a brand, but you use your favourite search engine to find it (for 80+% of us, that means Google).
You are now presented with a choice. Click on the organic link or click on their text ad, in which case they will pay whatever they bid for their name as a key phrase... say 50p.
Not so long back the company would have bid a minimum price - 5p or 10p - for their own name as a keyword, but in a controversial move last year *, Google opened up the Adword bidding on brand names to rivals, so now it can get quite competitive... especially in the travel sector.
So, what do you do?
I nearly always click the organic link.... but sometimes, just sometimes, if it's a brand I don't particularly care for...
*In May 08, Google changed its policy on companies being allowed to bid on their rivals' trademarks. It allows advertisers to bid on any brand names, but prevents them from using a rival's trademark in the text of the ad that appears in the sponsored search slot.