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Brand protection on Google soon to become a luxury?

With Google's AdWords advertising system currently in place, luxury brands are losing all control of the use of their name on the search engine.

For the past 7 years, a legal battle has been unfolding on the European scene of which the result could send shockwaves throughout the online advertising domain. The protagonists? LVMH and Google.

The american giant, an inevitable point of contact between brands and their clients, holds on average 90% of the online search market in the Europeen Union. This is particularly true for the 5 top export markets for the Swiss watchmaking industry in Europe - France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Spain.

What has Google done to become the target of the "number one" in luxury? In middle of these tensions is the advertising system Google AdWords, which allows the purchasing of keywords that make ads appear for specific queries.

Continue reading this article on Worldtempus, written by IC-Agency in collaboration with Louis Nardin.


By Jonathan | January 14, 2010 | Luxury Watch Special , | News & Trends , | Search Engine Protection , | Sponsored Links
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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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Tourism, Internet and Customer Loyalty

Yesterday, Yves-Alain Schwaar, Consulting Director for IC-Agency, hosted a workshop about the impact the Internet has had on the rules of customer acquisition and loyalty. Organized by Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) and its research department, this event incited a great deal of interest from the audience, which consisted of directors and executives from EHL’s Alumni Enterprises.

The key players in online tourism: comparison sites, search engines, travel agencies like Ebookers, Expedia and TripAdvisor were reviewed in order to better understand their impact on a traveler’s online behavior before, during, and after their trip. It is important to note that Kayak, leader in tourism search engines overseas, has extended into Europe: further proof that things are far from stagnant.

To discover more, we invite you to consult the presentation from this workshop:
Tourism: How does the Internet Change the Rules of Customer Acquisition and Loyalty?

By Philip Arseneau | February 11, 2009 | Actualité , | Competitive Monitoring , | Demand Analysis , | E-Advertising , | E-Commerce , | IC-Agency Events , | Perception Analysis , | Search Engine Optimization , | Search Engine Protection , | Sectorial Analysis , | Sponsored Links , | Strategic Consulting
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The importance of protecting our brand on the Web

At the end of March, two articles appeared in the Journal du Net and in 01Net which brought up the question of brand protection on the Internet. 

The first article tells us how Google and the travel site Faraway24.com were fined 75 ' 000 Euros for false and misleading advertising. This fine resulted in a complaint from the hotel group Citadines, in the motive that the pages of results related to the query “Citadines " posted sponsored links towards competitors’ websites, of which included Faraway24. The Tribunal de grande instance de Paris thus forced Google to remove the word Citadines from their Adwords platform.

The second article shows the numbers published by the world organization of intellectual property (OMPI), according to which the number of complaints for excessive unauthorized use of domain names would have increased by 18 % in 2007.  According to the OMPI, this increase would mainly be due to the new rules concerning the protection of the personal information. since webmaster data isn’t appearing when querying the Whois database, since some people are abusively using domain names while remaining hidden from their "victims". 

It seems that company policies consists more “of introducing disputes when they deem them necessary, rather than to lead defensive domain name campaigns”. It’s a surprising choice, seeing as systematic monitoring and repatriation of strategic domain names is much more effective (and much cheaper!) than going to the courts.

Wether it be “positionsquatting " or domain names management, IC-Agency proposes profitable and effective solutions to protect your brand within search engines and reduce traffic diversion. Do not hesitate to contact us to know more about it, or read our case study concerning Nespresso’s protection concerning illegal sponsored links.

By IC-Agency | April 30, 2008 | Domain Names , | Search Engine Protection
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The purchase of registered trademarks now authorized by Google UK

As from May 5th, Google will apply in the UK and Ireland the same policy it practices in the United States and Canada regarding the purchase of registered trademarks as keywords.

Concretely, it means that British advertisers using AdWords can bid on registered trademark names that will trigger their advertisements on Google search results pages.The use of unauthorized registered trademark in text ads remains prohibited.

This change of policy was due to a recent decision of the British judiciary, which asserted that Yahoo! did not violate the intellectual property of registered trademark holders by allowing competitors to use these brands to create sponsored links.

IC-Agency manages sponsored link campaigns at the international level. Our customers, active on the British market and confronted with this new policy, will benefit from optimizations that were implemented in the United States and Canada for several years, maintaining the goal of guaranteeing a strong position at a lowered cost per click.

By IC-Agency | April 29, 2008 | Search Engine Protection
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