Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding trademarks in the UK and Ireland. For complaints received on or after Friday, April 4, 2008, we will no longer review a term corresponding to the trademarked term as a keyword trigger. However, we will continue to perform a limited courtesy investigation of complaints regarding ad text purported to be in violation of a trademark.
Beginning May 5, 2008, keywords that were disabled as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in the UK and Ireland.
Full details are available at the link. The new policy is in line with the trademark keyword & ad text rules for US & Canada.
Brand who get the majority of their sales through branded terms are likely to see a rise in CPA as competitors step in - maybe advertisers will be forced to allow affiliates to bid on branded terms now to prevent competitors benefiting from this change...
I'm not sure I fully understand what this change is. Does this mean that when a non-trademark holder is bidding on a trademark ad in the UK (and including the trademark in the ad title/copy) that their ad will simply stay live while G conducts the investigation, whereas before the ad would've been taken down during the review period?
My interpretation of Google's wording is that the change affects only the use of trademarked terms as keywords, and there is no change in the policy or process for trademarked terms in ad text.
Assuming the word "brand" was trademarked by "Company A"... Before Apr 4: - Company A could control who was allowed to use the term "brand" as part of a keyword - Company A could control who was allowed to use the term "brand" as part of the ad text
As of Apr 4: - Company A cannot control who is allowed to use the term "brand" as part of a keyword - Company A can still control who is allowed to use the term "brand" as part of the ad text
(The above applies to ads on Google shown in the UK and Ireland.)
[edited by: Rehan at 3:34 pm (utc) on April 4, 2008]
My take on this announcement is that if you have a competitor term as a keyword in your PPC account but that brand is trademarked, at the moment Google will automatically prevent your ads appearing against that term.
Post 5th May this will not be the case - you will be allowed to bid on competitor brand terms.
i don't understand G's explanation for why they made the change, as it could apply to anywhere outside the 4 countries. what changed specifically in uk/ie trademark practices that permitted relaxation of trademarked keyword bidding restrictions?
There was a recent High Court ruling in the UK that was probably what gave Google a basis to open up bidding for trademarked terms as keywords. theregister.co.uk/2008/03/07/yahoo_links_ruling_high_court
So a certain small food manufacturer from Ilford tried to sue Yahoo, and in doing so allowed Google to change the rules for the rest of us? The legal world is a bit crazy, I think!
IMHO there are a number of brand names that are treated like generics by consumers (I'm thinking stuff like "#*$!#*$! ink cartridges" or "#*$!#*$! mp3 player"). By blocking these terms the manufacturers essentially can wrangle control of the online market, and I think that its beneficial to allow bidding on these terms. Its just a shame that you still can't use those terms in the ad copy.
However for retailer brands like Amazon I see very little advantage to the consumer by allowing brand bidding. Instead I think it will make things more confusing.