What Google’s new trademark policy means

As inevitable as the summer season in England only lasting four days, Google has changed their Trademark policy in the UK to align with the US.

From 14 September 2010, advertisers will be able to use third party trademarks in their paid ad text, even if they don’t own that trademark or have explicit approval from the trademark owner to use it. So if you were selling smartphones, for example, you could put ‘Buy the iPhone here’ in your ad text.

But why did Google decide to make this change in the first place?

“We believe that this change has helped both our users and advertisers by improving the usefulness of text ads on Google.com and across partner sites in the U.S,” explained Google Product Manager, Dan Stokeley, in an official blog post.

But is there another reason behind this change?

“For example, resellers of jeans have been able to highlight the actual brands they sell in their ad text making their ads even more specific and relevant for users,” said Stokeley.

Yes, as Dan suggests, adverts will become more relevant, but in addition, everyone will be bidding for that brand name, which means the price will rise and Google will make a larger margin.

Any restrictions?

However Google isn’t completely opening the field and this policy change does have some restrictions.

For example, you can only bid against a trademark name on the basis that your site is actually selling the item, components of the item, offers to repair the item, or is an informational site about the item.

If you’re concerned about this policy change, the SEO agency team here at dotdigital Engagement Cloud suggests the following:

1.    Monitor your brand terms now. If your CTR starts to decrease you will be easily able to detect the impact of this change on your brand.

2.    For direct retailers, keep open communication with your resellers to keep them happy and so as not to increase the cost of your brand terms.

3.    Have a chat with your search team or SEO agency; they should be aware of this change and can advise accordingly.

4.    Don’t panic! The new policy changes don’t apply to competitors. So, with some persistent enforcement, you will still be protected.

So, in summary, yes Google is allowing ads to be more targeted, but it is also increasing the cost of trademarked terms and putting more money in its pocket!

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