Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Did you hear about Google’s NEW rule?

That’s right… Effective June 4th Google will no longer be protecting trademark terms. That means you can now bid on your favorite music artists, celebrities, and brands. This is HUGE if you run polls or even competing company offers. Here are my three favorite picks from the list of over 150 countries that Google will no longer investigate.

  • United States (US)
  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • Canada

BAM That’s money right there. Unfortunately my #1 country isn’t on the list.

Click here to see Googles official list!

Click here for the article in Search Engine Journal!

Get those campaigns ready. It’s going to be a dirty fight to take over some of those trademarked terms!

You will need to remember to look at the original TOS for the offers that you are running.  Some offers make their own rules and you will still need to follow their rules on bidding on trademarked terms.

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39 Responses

May 12, 2009

Good way to stay on top of all the breaking news Kris. I might have to make myself a little bit more money because of that juicy news!

May 12, 2009

That’s awesome news! I’m getting my polls ready…

May 12, 2009

@Kris “Unfortunately my #1 country isn’t on the list.”

Would that #1 country be Australia?

May 12, 2009

yeah, i once did real well with a video professor campaign almost exclusively on trademarked terms – unfortunately though the advertising eventually made me shut it down

May 12, 2009

@John Marbach – OF COURSE! I <3 advertising in AU.

May 12, 2009

Wow.. that’s a good news.. easier to choose keywords and more money to be made… :)

May 12, 2009
Kai Lo

I stopped by from Ad Hustler’s site and I’m already seeing some good post here.

I didn’t know Google was protecting anything in the first place.

May 12, 2009
Asian Dating

Someone beat me to guessing ‘Australia’…I’d like to know the reasons why it’s not on the list

May 13, 2009

I am confused what is new here.
Google is acknowledging it and making it official now.

But we all have been bidding on trademarks before, right?

May 13, 2009

Great! Thank you very much! I always wanted to write in my blog something like that. Can I take part of your post to my site? Of course, I will add backlink? Regards

May 13, 2009

Very interesting infomation. Thanks for sharing!

May 13, 2009

@Roger- Yes we have been bidding on trademark terms in the past and when you got caught by Google you got shut down. Now Google will allow it so that’s less headache for us to deal with.

May 13, 2009

Bidding on trademarks was allowed in US and UK for over a year. The only news is the other countries in the list.

May 13, 2009

Wow just looked at the list, didn’t realise some of those countries even existed, let alone we can now exploit trademark opportunities.

As someone who runs a network, ambiguity is the biggest killer for PPC affiliates, people just say “no brand bidding” and then when smart guys find quirky mispellings that the brand’s search agency is too dumb to find the affiliate gets slapped.

Make sure they have “explicit” terms and all other stuff should be fair game.

May 13, 2009

wow that is very surprising! But great news for anyone involved in PPC.

I am just getting into PPC so this could be great for us noobs too…

May 13, 2009

Whoa – unbelievable

May 14, 2009

This is all well and good from a Google AdWords perspective, but all they are really doing is letting the market self-regulate – you are still responsible as an advertiser for “unfair use of trademark terms”.

Essentially, the trademark owner can still seek compensation in a court of law if you are bidding on their trademark in an effort to divert business away from their brand.

This is the case in the UK and my guess would be that it is the same in the US and Canada.

Caveat: Not qualified to give legal advice – we recently interviewed a UK lawyer about this issue. Article on http://tillison.co.uk as soon as I finish it!

May 14, 2009

Though Google is changing their rules, it is important to note that most advertisers will not allow you to bid on trademark terms as well!

May 14, 2009

Well, I’m not really surprised. Google also announced new changes on Monday for those of you who watched the Searchology webcast.

May 14, 2009

@Erica – This is an excellent point. Remember to read the TOS for what the advertiser allows. Most say no bidding on THEIR trademark terms. But they don’t say no bidding on their competitions trademark terms!

May 16, 2009

This is big news for advertisers especially those who use Pay Per Click marketing. I may give this a try myself, I am surprised Google is making this new move. Thanks for the report Kris.

But what about personal responsibility? Surely this means that you can still get sued by trademark owners for using their brands illicitly?

Jacques; as I commented before, yes, it is the legal responsibility of the advertiser to ensure they comply with trademark laws. Google et al are not liable, until another case sets a different precedent of course!

May 19, 2009

We can bid on keywords now, but does that mean we can use the trademarked keywords in our ads?

Derek: Depends where you are for the moment
(see Google’s recent post http://tinyurl.com/raldqf), some adjustment on the US policy and I guess other countries will follow suit in due course. BUT just because Google permits it, doesn’t mean it’s legal!

May 23, 2009

This is good news. I recall having to apply for an exception because i used the word “time” in my ad copy. It flagged it as a trademarked term, I suppose because of Time Magazine…

May 26, 2009

Dude – This is completely irrelevant. I just got off the phone with Google. The policy is that you CAN use trademarks as keywords, you just can’t use them in the ad.

Nothing has changed.

I’m not surprised about this at all. Of course Google would want some of that advertising money. Why would trade marks stop the mighty Google from making a buck? This doesn’t really affect me though. Any trademarks that I would want to bid on are blocked by my advertisers as well. They control the PPC keywords of their affiliates.

June 1, 2009

I think it’s just a cosmetic change. Knowing google it’ll all get back to normal pretty soon.

Some adjustment on the US policy and I guess other countries will follow suit in due course. BUT just because Google permits it, doesn’t mean it’s legal!

June 8, 2009

I have seen some sick clashes for number one positions this week. This is a huge change that’s going to cost a lot more advertising dollars for most of us.

James spotted the real objective here, huh? Google profit. However, the trademark issue has been a constant source of pain for many of our clients who would not actually be infringing copyright by using marks in a descriptive way.

If you ask Google about this, they WILL NOT budge from their policy of insiting on a written declaration from the trademark owner stating that a specific advertiser may use the mark in ads.

(Which sounds like to me like many cases would end up in court to achieve it).

Roll on the policy change in the UK.

Thanks for breaking the news. I think this change is good.

October 2, 2009

Google only open for 3 countries? maybe next year, the list will be expand.

October 6, 2009

Hey man,

this is good news because those trademark restrictions were really defying the purposes of PPC. I’ve been advertising on trademarks for a while now but i thought it was only the US that was allowed.

I only realised there were 150 countries on the list when i saw this post. Unfortunately your google docs link to the regions not investigated is dead.

Here’s the working URL http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=144298 in case you’d like to update the post with it.


March 10, 2010

It is good news of course :)

April 16, 2010

That is a good news, although it is old i didnot know about it.