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Protect Your Brand in Search Engines


A few weeks ago, Google modified the way they regulate the use of trademarks within Google AdWords sponsored link campaigns. To refresh your memory: this system allows for paid ads to appear on search results pages triggered by specific keywords in the search query.

Until recently, the dominating policy imposed by Google was the following: an advertiser could not use a registered trademark within their campaigns unless they have proven to be the legal owner of said trademark.

Only the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada were the exceptions to this rule: in these four countries, an advertiser could use the trademark to trigger their ads, but the trademark could not appear within the text of the ad.

Beginning early May, a more flexible policy than that described above was rolled out, and applies to over a hundred countries around the world. In the affected countries, advertisers now have more room to maneuver regarding sponsored link campaigns.

Among these changes, Google also announced another huge modification, exclusive to the US market: advertisers can now use registered trademarks in their ad texts, as long as they respect one of the following three conditions:
  • The advertiser's site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the goods or services corresponding to a trademark term.
  • The advertiser’s site must sell the components, replacement parts or compatible products relating to the goods or services of the trademark.
  • The primary purpose of the advertiser’s site must be to provide non-competitive and informative details about the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term.

This change worried many about the possibility of an increase in "legal" ads that promote sites selling counterfeit products. Essentially, these sites fit somewhat within the criteria of the first condition mentioned above, and can then fall into the new Google policy and escape the trademark dispute process offered by the search engine.

This danger is one that the Mountain View giant rapidly understood, and has consequently reacted: it now offers the possibility to denounce a site suspected of selling (or facilitating the sale of) counterfeit products, with the goal of removing them from the AdWords system. This protection necessitates on the brands' behalf a constant monitoring of their intellectual property.

Effectively, now that American advertisers are more free to use trademarks in their ad campaigns, the hunt for counterfeit products now turns to the identification and individual analysis of suspected sites. This requires a tremendous amount of work, considering the size of the market and the number of unscrupulous advertisers.

in this context, manually monitoring these trademarks within a system such as AdWords is almost impossible. Conscious of this reality, IC-Agency has been constantly improving on BrandSweeper,, an exclusive monitoring and trademark protection solution, in order to help those brands defend the search engine territory that is legitimately theirs.

This solution has most notably help clear Nespresso's official territory, which is a case study we invite you to (re)discover. Don't hesitate to contact us for more information!

By IC-Agency | July 02, 2009 | Search Engine Protection

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