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Microsoft adCenter Updates its Trademark Policy

5:16 pm on Aug 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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From September 10, 2007, Microsoft adCenter will update the AdCenter trademark policy.

The key points are in full on their blog post, however, it looks like it is clarification only to explain about streamlining the process of trademark issues, including reporting and management.

The heart of the trademark policy is unchanged. Microsoft adCenter disallows trademark infringement, and forbids advertisers from bidding on or using trademarked terms in a way that constitutes trademark infringement. Advertisers may not bid on a competitor's trademarked term or use that term in their ad copy. Affiliates and resellers may bid on trademarked terms relevant to the goods, services, or sites that they promote.

Microsoft adCenter will no longer attempt to mediate affiliate compliance by creating lists of trademark-owner approved advertisers who can bid on trademarked keywords.

Microsoft adCenter will support trademark owners in their efforts to protect their intellectual property.

When Microsoft adCenter receives a report of trademark infringement from a trademark owner (or their designate), we will investigate the report and take appropriate action on offending advertisements and advertisers.In some cases, this will mean that an advertiser will be forbidden from using a keyword in the future, and in other cases, it will mean that a particular ad is removed. If the complaint does not warrant action, no action will be taken.

Microsoft have a Trademark Concern Form [support.msn.com] page.

Microsoft adCenter Updates its Trademark Policy [adcenterblog.spaces.live.com]

5:38 pm on Aug 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Seems that they didn't listen to the feedback at the UK adChamps day. References to Whack-a-Mole seemed appropriate to the actions that would have to be taken to deal with issues.

The problem with Trademarks is you can't please everyone. Agencies that are handling the accounts for trademark owners will be peeved, but others will be quite happy. IMHO adCenter is improving and has a very good ROI, but even Microsoft acknowledge that traffic is a problem. Let's hope that the lack of volume coupled with this policy clarification doesn't stop agencies suggesting adCenter to clients.

11:40 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Not sure this will upset agencies looking after client trademarks too much. This seems to me like the onus is on the advertiser to stick to their trademark rights, but trademark owners will still be able to protect their marks as and when.

Isn't that the same as Google now? but without the added complication that Google's strange matching rules tends to match Pepsi with Coke?

I can't believe this move wasn't at least in part trying to address the issues raised at AdChamps. Presumably persistant offenders can be nooted altogether.

6:18 am on Aug 27, 2007 (gmt 0)


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It shouldn't bother agencies, cause client won't complain about their agencies using their TMs. Outside of that, it sounds like a big mess. No clear policy, preventing poeple from bidding on TMs (which Google does not do), not flagging accounts approved by a TM owner as approved to use TM?

Microsoft is Microsoft so they can do whatever they want but this sounds confusing and inconsistent.

4:16 pm on Aug 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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No clear policy, preventing poeple from bidding on TMs (which Google does not do), not flagging accounts approved by a TM owner as approved to use TM?

I don't get what you are saying skibum.

1. I think the policy is clear enough compared to the other PPC suppliers - just not policed with an assumption of guilt any more (which was killing the system)

2. Google DOES screw up regularly - even when a DCMA notice is filled out by the TM owner. It also starts with the same default as Microsoft is now doing, but with far more hoops for the TM owner to jump through.

3. It's not that they are not flagging accounts approved by the TM Owner, they indeed say they will support the trademark owners in protecting their TM.

9:54 pm on Sept 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just to throw my experience in here.

The day after this was announced, I submitted a complaint (granted the new policy is not in effect yet).

They responded with a request to see my Patent Office filings which I complied with immediately.

The responded with a boilerplate, "sorry, we didn't remove any ads because after careful, blah blah"

That was yesterday.

Today, I can not find a single competitor and specifically the 4 I reported, only pricegrabber type sites.

However, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before (maybe just oversight on my part) and that is "Related Searches" showing up with almost all my competitors names. Granted if I search for my competitors names then my company name shows up in the Related Searches, so...

Has "Related Searches" always been there and has it always so blatantly shown "Pepsi" if you search for "Coke" etc.?


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