I'm in the UK, we have advertising rules and regulations, law, trade description, consumer protection, trading standards, advertising standards and whatever other governing body oversees what we say... we have kid gloves compared with the US where they seem to be at each others throats and get away with it....as long as they can defend their claims.
The internet as yet isn't governed as other media is, but court cases are rampant and we will see record damages awarded.
I predict a new breed of no win no fee new media lawyers coming to your screens soon!
|I have seen examples of sites that allow people to review products and services, which under specific search terms can feature highly in the SERPs. If this happens, these sites will no longer feature. |
Editorial use and commercial uses of a brand name are completely different issues. Google's SERP listings fall under the heading of "editorial use" and aren't affected by Dell's restrictions on the use of its trademark in AdWords.
I think the original concept for affiliate programmes was to get people to list your banners on their sites - thus driving additional sales. Most merchants never thought about the other form of marketing (SEO/PPC) - at least to begin with.
I'm in two minds about it all.
Yes - why should merchants pay for existing customers that would have ended up at their site? If I type in www.<brandname>.com or even <brandname> and my merchant site comes up I DONT want users to click on affiliate PPC ads (or seo pages below me) - after all I've probably spent money building up the brand and these customers would have found me otherwise. Essentially the affiliates are intercepting traffic already intended for the merchant site - I can understand why merchants are not keen on this.
On the other hand...there are many search engines/directories that don't list the correct merchant site, don't show the correct site for misspellings and hundereds of other marketing methods that the merchant does not know about and does not have the resources to deal with. Essentially having lots of affiliates means you've got lots of people micro-managing ads to the best possible effect, through channels that the merchant would never have thought off. By banning brand keywords a merchant will 100% lose out on forms of marketing that they had not known about.
So it comes down to a trade off. Does the benefit of stopping affiliates bidding on brand names result in more overall profit - or does it remove traffic from unknown sources and offend affiliate managers to such a degree that you loose proft?
I think the best result is a compromise. Merchants ask google (and the like) to stop showing bids for their brand name, but allow affiliates to do whatever they want with ppc. The affiliates will quickly find out that the brand name can't be bid on on certain engines - but may find variations/misspellings of the brand or other smaller directories/ses to target.
Of course - this probably means that no ones fully happy with the situation :)
When there are a few competing merchants though I'd be strongly tempted to allow affiliates to do whatever they want. I know affiliates who have dropped merchants simply because they start imposing all these regulations on them (takes time to read all the requirements - so they just switch to the competitor with no restrictions).
The companies like Dell decided to compete when they started up their affiliate programs. They hand out all kinds of incentives for web site owners to send those referrals, but are ready to yank the chain when they step out of line. They should pay for Dell. Period. Anything with Dell in it heads into too many grey areas.
The issue of using their name should not be dumped on Google's lap, it should be between the two parties with a contract to do business. The reality is that adding "no using our name for positioning" is already covered in most big affiliate contract, its just a matter of tweaking the wording to ensure that is included.
As far as their competition using their name, well thats an issue for the trademark office. It's advertising, and if you use your competitors name to advertise without their permission you are in the wrong.
From Google's point of view, bidding is the whole purpose
behind that system, if they want to set a precedent, how far will it go? Google is not the advertising babysitter.
If a famous brand made a policy whereas affiliates may market their products in the many ways available online but must not bid on their brand names - or set a maximum but very low bid. Other generic terms and names are fair game, but not brands.
Would they lose affiliates?
I think not.
Travelsite, some great points. But a comment about your point here...
>>>>Yes - why should merchants pay for existing customers that would have ended up at their site? If I type in www.<brandname>.com or even <brandname> and my merchant site comes up I DONT want users to click on affiliate PPC ads (or seo pages below me) - after all I've probably spent money building up the brand and these customers would have found me otherwise. Essentially the affiliates are intercepting traffic already intended for the merchant site - I can understand why merchants are not keen on this>>>>
Just because somebody typed in "www.<brandname>.com" or "<brandname>" as in your example above does not neccessarily mean that the surfer was looking to go to that brand's site. The surfer may have been looking for reviews about that brand from a third party. Or perhaps comparisons of that brnad to another, or maybe even for any warnings or horror stories about doing with that brand.
I really think the bottom line is it's okay to bid on and use another brand name in your ads and on your site as long as you are not "confusing" the public into thinking that you are the "original source" of goods for someone else's product. I don't have "legal training" but that is how I personally interperate the trademark laws I have looked at.
It seems to me that "comparison ads" are fine. And it seems to me that mentioning competitors brnads is fine as long as you are not "confusing" the public into thinking that you are the "original source" of their goods. In other words, would your typical consumer instantly realize that you are not "Dell" as they click on your listing...
I think you have misinterpreted this.
Its not about affiliates - and its not new.
Under Google Adwords policy, if a 'trigger' word is a trademark, then the trademark owner can request in writing, on company letter head (ie paper - not email or webform) that Google does not offer that trademark as a trigger word in the adwords program, in those countries where the Trademark is Registered. And you have to prove the Trademark.
Its not about anything other than the Trademark owner having control over the use of his Trademark.
Yes - potentially it stops affiliates buying the trademark. But it also stops competitors buying your trademark/ Brand as a trigger word for their competing product advert.
If you have a relationship with the Trademark owner - ie retailer or affiliate - your ability to use the trademark should be covered in your agreement. You also need to read the Adwords T & Cs
How many Adwords come up for the trigger word Google?
>How many Adwords come up for the trigger word Google?
None apart from Google, but surprisingly, quite a few ads for some popular keyword combinations including that particular brand.
Does the same apply to brand names?
>Does the same apply to brand names?
Peewhy, not too sure if you're asking if Google AdWords allows brand + keyword, but if so I think yes.
Incidentally, looks like all Dell affiliate ads now removed from Google UK.
"Incidentally, looks like all Dell affiliate ads now removed from Google UK."
I think this is absurd. Even if someone is specifically looking for Dell, why can't Google show an ad for another company (even if they are an affiliate)... The consumer does not have to click on the ad. As long as there is no confusion as to whether or not a consumer thinks the affiliate is actually Dell, then Dell should have no say whatsoever regarding what Google wants to show its users if they are running a search for Dell... If Dell doesn't like it, they can build their own search engine.
Just my thoughts.
PeeWhy, if the Brand name is a trademark in that country - then thats how it works. If the brandname isn't a trademark - then Trademark rules/ laws don't apply.
Gypsychild, with trigger words (ie the actual word/phrase that you bid/buy to 'trigger' your adword ad) I'm pretty sure that you can't buy eg. google - or a host of other trademarks (depending on where the trademarks are registered).
So if you can see ads that are shown for eg "google widgets" then I'd suggest that the trigger word is actually widgets. Try it - I think you'll see that I'm correct. As long as the trademark didn't trigger the Adword display - thats all the trademark holder can ask Google to do.
The issue here is whether you can buy/bid on trademarks on Google Adwords - and it is my understanding that if the Trademark holder doesn't want you to buy/bid on their trademark - then you can't. But the onus is on the trademark holder to tell Google, in writing, that is the way that they want it.
Chris_D, Brand names and trademarks are often two different things. I'll give you an example, Kellogs thought they had 'Corn Flakes' covered because it was a brand, their trademark is their logo 'Kellogs'.
Someone brought out a serial and called it 'Corn Flakes' having searched and found nothing sacred about it. Inevitably it went from court to court and several millions later it was found that 'Corn Flakes' was up for grabs and before it could be secured as a trademark or brand other serial companies had their corn flakes on the shelf. Imagine how long 'Corn Flakes' had been our favourite serial, thinking Kellogs Corn flakes was protected... years and years and years!
You would think that a firm like Kellogs would also take a little legal advice of Trademarks and brands.
|PeeWhy, if the Brand name is a trademark in that country - then thats how it works. If the brandname isn't a trademark - then Trademark rules/ laws don't apply. |
Here, we are discussing Google for one and the banning of brands and trademarks in PPC etc. If the balance was based upon where you lived it might throw some more confusion on the whole issue .. or would someone argue that the legislation is not based upon where we live but where the host server lives?
Hi Peewhy - thats why I wrote:
|if the Brand name is a trademark in that country |
|Here, we are discussing Google for one and the banning of brands and trademarks in PPC etc. If the balance was based upon where you lived it might throw some more confusion on the whole issue .. or would someone argue that the legislation is not based upon where we live but where the host server lives? |
No. When you run an Adwords campaign - you can choose the countries you 'run' it in. Geotargeting. Thats what I am talking about - where the advert is SHOWN or displayed. It has nothing to do with where you, or your server live. It is about the geographical location/s that you have registered your trademark; and the geographical locations to which someone targets with their adwords.
So - for arguements sake - and this is a heavily simplified example - If I have trademarked 'Big Blue Widgets' in Australia - and I can prove this to Google - then they won't let you buy 'Big Blue Widgets' as a trigger word for an adword to be displayed in Australia.
You may have the trademark on 'Big Blue Widgets' in England - and lets even say its in the same product category as mine - so you could stop others from buying your trademark as a trigger word - but ONLY where you have registered the trademark (ie England)
So even though you may own the Big Blue Widget trademark in England - you won't be allowed to show your adwords ad in Australia if I don't want you to (because - hypothetically - I own that trademark in Australia - in that category - and I have proved that to Google).
Obviously - big brands tend to ensure from the outset that they can get their trademark registered in every major jurisdiction
Trademarks are registered based on many factors - and I'm grossly oversimplifying here in this post, because there was obviously confusion in my previous post which required clarification.
I think we are on the same common ground Chris_D ... but;
surely that works on a submission basis but on a search basis the results will bring you whatever is indexed higher unles you specifically request a defined location in the search?
Before we get an avalanche of "when I search I always state the georgraphical area..."
We are in a minefield of laws, by-laws, state legislature, reforms and Acts of Parliament and Congress ... and lots of other bits that make fat cats fatter and rich lawyers richer, we will end up off topic and posting threads relating to trillians of extreme examples of cases relating to everything other than ... Brand names banned from bids ... including cornflakes :)
I put that in before I get my wrist lapped by a mod for going off topic.
Chris_D, I agree the trigger would be the additional keyword - just thought they might somehow have put a stop to that as well, but as you say, this would be difficult to enforce.
peewhy, good to see you've recovered from your recent dizzy spell. :)
Hi Peewhy. Now you have me totally confused. You started this thread, and your opening sentence for this thread reads:
|Dell has asked Google to ban any bids using the word Dell |
Google + bids = adwords. Thats what I read it to mean.
When you configure and run a Google Adwords campaign, you get to select the countries you wish the advert to be displayed to, and a list of words (triggers) that will cause the ad to be displayed, and a max bid price for the words etc. (oversimplified).. The concept of geotargetting the Advertisement - ie showing the advertisement to a selected geographical area (at country level) - is one of the key areas of strength of Adwords. Sure - you can choose 'all countries' - but you can also just choose one or two.
So - if the Trademark owner (remember - a Trademark is registered in a jurisdiction - ie a country for the sake of this discussion) doesn't want his trademark used as a trigger word - he can ask Google not to allow his trademark to be used as a trigger. And if he is the trademark holder etc etc - then it won't be sold as a trigger word - in the country/countries where the trademark applies.
If the ad can't be triggered by the trademark 'word/phrase' in those countries where the trademark applies - then it can't be seen in those countries when people type in the trademark. We are talking Adwords - not serps.
You started the thread - is it SERPS or Adwords? You said BID - so I assumed you meant Adwords?
Now totally confused in Sydney.....
That's alright I confuse myself a lot;)
The original post was in another thread and the moderator really wanted the thread to relate soley for Dell.
I then shifted the post to a new thread - hence the relationship with Dell.
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