Advertisers will no longer be able to bid on competitors’ trademarked keywords.
Yahoo Search Marketing has begun notifying U.S. advertisers that they will no longer be allowed to bid on competitors’ trademarked keywords beginning next week.
In the past, advertisers were allowed to bid on competitors’ keywords if their site provided detailed information comparing the trademarked item to its own, in order to help consumers make a decision. Yahoo this week began notifying advertisers that had previously bid on trademarked keywords, explaining in an email that the policy would change on March 1.
"In order to more easily deliver quality user experiences when users search on terms that are trademarks, Yahoo Search Marketing has determined that we will no longer allow bidding on keywords containing competitor trademarks," the message states.
A likely reason behind the move is Yahoo’s desire to court more brand advertisers to link offline campaigns to search, while protecting the trademark owner from competitors who "hijack" the keyword with their own ads, Search Engine Watch’s Danny Sullivan wrote in the site’s blog.
A "hijack" situation occurred recently with Google advertiser Pontiac, which is running a TV campaign urging viewers to "Google ’Pontiac’" for more information. Competitor Mazda capitalized on the traffic by placing its own ads on the "Pontiac" keyword.
Under Yahoo’s new rules, resellers and non-competitive information sites will still be allowed to bid on trademarked keywords, but only if they meet certain conditions. For resellers, the advertiser must sell or facilitate the sale of the trademarked product or service. For information sites, the advertiser must provide substantial information about the trademark owner or its products and services, and they may not sell or promote competitors’ products or services.
Google placed restrictions on use of trademarks in 2004. Under its policy, U.S. advertisers can bid on trademarked keywords, but cannot use the trademarked word in the text of an ad. In Europe, trademarked terms cannot be bid upon or used in ad copy. Google has been the target of several lawsuits filed by trademark owners, all of which have been settled out of court.
This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!
Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.
The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.
The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.