Google’s Search Trademark Rules, Disputes and Adwords Policy

15 Apr. 2013 - - Total Reads 7,058

Google. It’s one of those brands in the past decade synonymous with goodness and all the internet could be about: positive and well-balanced work life. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin certainly had that intention positioning the company well to do good (not evil) and bring about positive change online in the ’90s. Google Labs was a huge demonstration of this. Rolling out tons of free apps and tools, it was the envy of developers and software firms big and small. Even the Google headquarters, the Googleplex, was a place people and businesses around the globe would idealise as a new benchmark. Every software engineering student I knew at university would talk about wanting to work at Google like it was walking into heaven itself! While I’m certain the culture at camp Google hasn’t changed that much in recent years, it’s policies like, trademark rules, certainly have. Over the past few years Google have made more moves that are redefining the company, in a pretty straightforward way, something every business wants – to grow market share, maximise profits and reduce overheads.

Now, this isn’t an article bagging out the fine, founding virtues of the company. On the contrary, it’s about the commercial reality all businesses face. The ability to remain in the game, at the top or anywhere above the profit line is tied to the free market policy – you can only do so much good, and that good has to be good for the business.

Google’s expansive Labs project, which launched Gmail, Goggles, Maps, Reader, Docs and hundreds of other free and loved tools was closed more than a year ago. Disappointingly, Reader joins the official RIP list of more than 100 tools, following recent spring and winter cleaning press releases from Google. They are clearly starting to focus on platforms that lead to revenue and profit.

Google's Search Trademark Rules, Disputes and Adwords Policy

(Above – live example of Audi advertising on BMW keyword – 15th April 2013 )
Their biggest earner, AdWords, recently announced a massive and somewhat surprising change to their best practice. They are allowing advertisers to buy keywords associated with trademarks of other businesses. This means, starting April 23, Sony could start AdWords campaigns on search terms like “Panasonic” or “LG”.  Sure it can be argued it protects the open market for small and medium businesses. But if you are ACME accounting (ACME being your registered trademark), I’m sure you won’t be happy when I search for your company name and one of your competitor’s lands on top of you in the search results. But that’s exactly what Google are advocating with this announcement:

“Our trademark rules are designed to provide greater choice to users via Google ads. This is similar to the way a shopper benefits when they see a variety of brands’ products on a store shelf.

Even if they are looking for a particular brand of running shoe, for example, seeing many different options enables them to compare features, prices, and more to buy the best running shoe for them.

The same idea applies on the web – people searching for one brand of product should be able to easily find information about products from similar brands to make informed decisions.”

While I can see this balances the playing field for companies and simplifies the worldwide trademark policy for Google, it means a massive rise in offensive and defensive advertising requirements for companies, at the same time probably not hurting AdWords’ profits.

Add to this Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which has changed so considerably in the past 18 months, the funding required for best practice and certainty in results, based on our clients’ spends, is tipping over to be more expensive than advertising. While Google have, in some ways, done the right thing with SEO, tailoring their algorithms to move away from low-cost offshore providers ramping up their search results with fake links and content, they have also aligned search to favour larger organisations, pushing power back towards advertisers including, of course, AdWords itself.

With organic and paid search being a priority for many companies and one of the largest companies on the planet now as focused as you on the bottom line, it is a real wake-up call for online marketing. My advice, after providing expert testimony in a recent online trademark dispute, is unless you’ve got deep pockets and enjoy litigation, start ramping up your digital sales channels to give your business a good spread across advertising platforms. This will not only serve as a great defensive strategy, if calibrated properly to ROI, you should also considerably grow your business.

Michael Simonetti
Posted by:

Post Reads: 7.1K

Share this

Go on, see if you can challenge us on "Google’s Search Trademark Rules, Disputes and Adwords Policy" - Part of our 171 services at AndMine. We are quick to respond but if you want to go direct, test us during office hours.

Add Your Comment

Trusted by

University of Melbourne
Professional
Jalna
James Buyer Advocates
Engine Swim
vissf
Elucent
DepSkin.com
Dusa
GPT Group
Kay Burton
National Relay Services
Tony and Guy
Ego Pharmaceuticals
Tek Ocean
Nmiinsurance
abc
Smart Company
TSB
Australian Physiotherapy Association
Fed Square
Grow Rich
Grow Your Business
Magento Solution Specialist
Shell
Tassal
Crumpler
Atlantic Group
Switzer
National Museum of Australia
Melbourne Heart
GooglePlay
Dial Before You Dig
ADP Payroll
OJAY
Melrose Health
Uber
One Shift
Parker Lane
Ello
Palace Cinemas
Google
Maxine
Bondi Sands
Grays Ecommerce
Bintani
Magento
Ebay
Focus On Furniture
Fortune Institute
Marshall White
Victorian Government
Drupal
Canberra
Melbourne Central
The Burger Cheese
Scrum
Royal Freemasons
AC/DC
Macmillan
WTFN
Sports Power
CBRE
Watches of Switzerland
ISO Certified
Bank of Cyprus
21st Century Education Agency
Toy World
Etihad Stadium
MyAccount
Fairfax Media
Moov Head Lice
Madman Entertainment
Bulk Nutrients
Melrose MCT
McArthur Skincare
CAN
Australia Goverment
DeeWhy Market
Fresh Cheese Company
Rackspace
QV Skincare
Cronos Australia
Anthill
Vendor Advocacy Australia
Dinosaur Designs
Acquia Drupal Certification
Mamma Lucia
High Street Armadale
Swin
News
Castran Gilbert
Jetstar
Associated Press
Paypal
OMS
Schiavello
Coles
Telstra
Smh
BlackMores
Arthur Galan
Arc One
Florsheim
Brisbane Times
Eway
TPP
White Suede
Novvi
SunSense Digital Agency
Aqium Gel
Windsorsmith
Van Egmond Group
POSTER Magazine
Metricon
Liveoneday
Appstore
Max
The Age
Natralus Australia
iPrimus
Green St Juice
BCG
Microsoft-Certified-Azure-Fundamentals
Loan Market
tribe
Matchbox
Instant RockStar
Ubertas Group
MAP
131 Pizza
Positive Poster
Oracle
Engineers Without Borders
MSAC
Amino Active
Movember
Hanover
Rydges
Hairhouse Warehouse
Digital Agency Panitsync
Chia
LBG Australia and New Zealand
Unsw Australia
CSquared Executive
RMIT University
Viktoria + Woods
Rock Pool Group
Bigcommerce
Forbes

Testimonials

Not only is Michael professional but he is also a great friend to have in your court. He is balanced in his advice, fair in his quotes and has the best twitter feed for all things tech - i highly recommend you follow him and also hire him! Clare Smith, GM – Brand & Marketing Communications at Sensis

More Testimonials
AndMine-Google-Partner-Signature