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Does trademark ownership weigh in site rank or position?
Does Google favor the trademark owner?
MrWumpus




msg:3461758
 6:13 pm on Sep 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can anyone confirm or share their experience whether Google uses trademark ownership of a domain name or phrase as a factor in a site's rank or position?

I am aware that they do investigate AdWords trademark infringements, but they state at [google.com...] that "any such investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google." Also, I have seen DMCA notices sent to Google that mention trademark violation as one reason to remove an offending site, but these cases are always in the context of blatant copyright violations.

To clarify this, I'm not talking about cybersquatting or copyright violation, or sites that are removed entirely. I'm talking about established competing sites, where one happens to rank higher for a trademarked phrase owned by the lower-positioned site. Would Google respond to complaints by manually bumping the trademark owner's site to #1 while dropping the competitor to #2, for example?

If you think they do not do this in response to complaints, do you think Google's human evaluators or algorithms are using trademark ownership as a factor in positioning, particularly on sites whose domain name matches a trademark?

 

tedster




msg:3462875
 4:47 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Would Google respond to complaints by manually bumping the trademark owner's site to #1 while dropping the competitor to #2, for example?

I doubt that - manual tweaks are not all that likely. As you probably know, Google prefers to find scalable solutions and manual tweaks do not scale.

Using trademark data is an interesting idea, though. I've never read of Google using it in organic search, but they surely could be, as one small part of the big picture.

[edited by: tedster at 6:37 pm (utc) on Sep. 27, 2007]

Pico_Train




msg:3462911
 5:17 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would not think this to be a good idea. Trademarks are territorial, meaning that if you own "Brand" in Canada it is not necessarily the case that you own "Brand" in Spain. Trademarks expire as well, they have a set life, like a domain name, and after this set period, which also varies from country to country, if you do not renew, then you lose it so G would have to factor that in too.

Also a trademark can be held for one product type like "Brand" for shoes and also another trademark "Brand" can be held for candy so how do you work that in?

I'm speaking about trademarks in general terms there but trademarks are very complex, ask my wife, she's a Trademark attorney and boy is she complex!

Later!

MrWumpus




msg:3462986
 6:05 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think these are good points. Trademarks are complex, messy business, often under dispute and changing status. Automating trademark status in an algorithm sounds hazardous technically and legally.

It sounds even more shaky legally if human evaluators were deciding rank and positioning based on current trademark status. For large competing retailers one position drop means losing big income. If they suspect Google did this based on mistaken trademark information, doesn't that make Google liable?

Still, I'm interested in hearing if anyone has anecdotal experience that leads them to suspect trademark has some influence on site position and rank in Google.

Robert Charlton




msg:3463254
 11:02 pm on Sep 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does Google favor the trademark owner?

Explicitly, no. I'm sure there's no manual ranking bump, human evaluator skewing, trademark ownership checking, etc.

But the trademark owner has a big advantage in the algo. Links carrying the trademark name are much more likely to go to the trademark owner's site... and trademark.com is always going to have better chances of ranking for [trademark].

...particularly on sites whose domain name matches a trademark?

Not exactly sure what you mean by this. Again, I don't think human evaluators are going to move a site up or down because of trademark ownership... but if trademark.com is not the trademark owner, then it's a legal matter, not a Google matter.

MrWumpus




msg:3464199
 9:00 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not exactly sure what you mean by this

What I meant by "particularly on sites whose domain name matches a trademark" was that on sites whose domain name matches their trademark, perhaps Google was giving extra relevance to those in the SERPS when people searched for the trademarked word or phrase.

Are manual ranking factors that unlikely in Google? What about wikipedia? If you Google some common English nouns you can see wikipedia in the #1 spot now for many of them, and a major company as #2 that no doubt held #1 for years before wikipedia showed up. Why wikipedia in #1 and not some much older dictionary site's definition page for the noun?

tedster




msg:3464221
 9:38 pm on Sep 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's all about backlinks, anchor text and text that surrounds the backlink. I'd say these factors account for both Wikipedia's ascendancy and for the fact that "trademark.com" appears to get preference.

novustek




msg:3470001
 2:24 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

ive recently been told by my company that we have 19 .. yes 19! trademarked words and ofcourse a few of these are useful as keywords ( or so my company thinks ;) ), if google and/or other search engine give some precedence to this is there a way to notify them. how do they regulate it.

i was at ad:tech in london last week and i could have swore that one of the seminars i attended mentioned trademarked words and google giving precedence.

tedster




msg:3470018
 2:49 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Were you possibly in an AdWords session, rather than an organic search session? The issue of using trademarks in ads is a whole other question.

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