Posts Tagged: Google

Google’s trademark change is common sense

Google’s new trademark policy – in place from the 14th September – is a big deal that changes the way paid search is bought but it’s also common sense that will ultimately result in a better experience for users.

The policy allows qualifying advertisers to not only bid on other companies’ brand trademarks (a change made on 5th May 08), but to now include the trademarked term in the ad text. Primarily it means resellers of a product, companies that sell spare parts or compatible products, and information sites like reviews and news can now include trademarked terms in ad copy. For instance, a search for ‘Dell Streak’ could result in paid search ads for the product from a range of other non-Dell sites, like online shops and review sites, without asking Dell for their permission.

All changes to Google’s trademark policy affect brands but are mainly about improving user experience and choice. When a user searches for a ‘Breville Cordless kettle’ for instance, they may be looking for reviews, opinion, comparisons etc. In fact, to be presented with alternative options is actually a good thing from a consumer perspective. A ‘real life’ example would be securing shelf space in a shop. When you go to B&Q’s drill aisle looking for Black & Decker parts, you’re also presented with a range of relevant products.

User experience is echoed in one of the caveats Google has announced, that the only ads to be considered for removal will be those that don’t adhere to the new guidelines or, if they do, those that confuse users. For instance, a site advertising a brand of mobile phone when the site you clickthrough to doesn’t actually sell it won’t be allowed. Nor would a car manufacturer be allowed to mislead users by claiming to have information on a competitor brand in order to generate traffic when in fact it has none.

Brands will potentially face competition on trademark terms previously reserved for their exclusive use in ad text but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic. There may be increases in auction costs for brands on their own trademarked terms, but they are likely to be marginal thanks to Google’s own quality score and relevance system. This ensures the most relevant sites to the search term are up weighted in paid results, significantly reducing cost. A Nokia website will almost always be the most relevant site for that trademark for instance. Likewise, if a user is genuinely only interested in a particular brand site, they will still clickthrough – if they don’t, they probably had an alternative motive for searching in the first place.

The change is in line with European law and will be rolled out across the UK, Canada and Ireland, bringing each territory up-to-speed with the US’ year old policy. In many ways, this move shouldn’t really be a surprise for any brand using search marketing. The best place for full information is Google’s own FAQ.

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Why a tax on online advertising makes no sense

There has been a fair amount of recent media coverage and comment about a report – “Creativity and Internet” – commissioned by the French Culture Minister which includes a proposal to levy the online advertising revenues of the likes of Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL. The aim of the levy is to raise money for the French creative industry. Whilst it’s not clear as to whether the French Government will seriously consider this proposal (although President Sarkozy has welcomed the report), Google has already publicly opposed the idea stating that it could “slow down innovation” and that it is “disproportionate.”

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In digital, we can’t make up our minds.

Although that’s not actually the case… I’ve been to many a mutually-beneficial meeting within which a bunch of like-minded digital aficionados have taken to agreeing relentlessly and mulling over the wonder of this massive medium. To great effect. But we do like to debate.

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Education, education, education (part three…and final)

I’ve banged the drum in previous weeks about the importance of consumer education about behavioural advertising, and the IAB’s recent research has highlighted the need for this.

Today the IAB has published a guide on behavioural advertising specifically for industry, our first step in helping educate the market about this practice (although you’ll be glad to know that this will be my last blog – for now – talking about education). The guide explains how behavioural advertising works, how it differs to other types of targeted advertising on the internet, its benefits to web publishers and advertisers, consumer attitudes as well as online privacy and industry good practice.

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Education, education, education (part two)

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of informing and educating consumers about the internet. This followed a revamp of the IAB’s website – – aimed at helping internet users understand online behavioural advertising, how it works and how to switch it off if they want to. Today the IAB, in partnership with business law firm Olswang, has published new research confirming that consumers need (and want) more information and education about online privacy and the practice of behavioural advertising.

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Education, education, education (part one)

It’s official: us Brits love shopping online. According to research by price comparison service, Uswitch, 93% of the UK population now shop on the internet (I think that’s 93% of the 2,500 adults they surveyed!). And, as consumers continue to ‘connect’ so advertisers increasingly look to the internet as a platform to get their messages across and sell their wares. The two are mutually beneficial. Some of us just can’t get enough of all this (it’s empowering and addictive). For others the tide of change is uncomfortable and some need help getting connected in the first place (and there’s no one better than digital entrepreneur and Government Digital Inclusion Champion, Martha Lane Fox, to make this happen).

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Online is now number one in the UK

Online commands respect : Another IAB Ad Spend report, another milestone for online – this time the big one

We released the IAB Ad Spend results today, with the record breaking news that not only has Ad Spend grown again – as it has every half year since we launched the survey in 1998 – but we have finally done what media pundits have been guessing and betting on for years. That is we are now the largest medium in the UK, with 23.5% share of all media spend now being spent on online display, classifieds and search. We are larger than TV not by a fraction, but by £113.6 million. We are also now larger than press display by £369 million.

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Statsaholics Anonymous

For years I’ve known about my
addiction to site stats. Watching that trend line fluctuate, hoping for an
upward curve. Now I’m willing to step forward and come clean. I’m not alone with
this affliction; the world is covered with web
statsaholics. Alisa Bowman, Jason Jaeger and Geoffrey Golden being some of the brave souls to admit their problem.

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Transparency, choice and education is the way forward for online privacy

A parliamentary body of MPs and Peers – the All Party Parliamentary Group on Communications – is to conduct an inquiry into internet traffic, including behavioural advertising and online privacy. The Group asks whether the Government should intervene over behavioural advertising or whether it should leave it to users, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and websites. The Group also asks whether there is a need for any new initiative to deal with online privacy. The Group has sought ‘written evidence’ from interested parties and will be meeting with key stakeholders in mid-June.

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Google Options and Wolfram Alpha are significant, but for what reasons?

and WolframAlpha are two significant announcements from the search
world this week… kinda.


First up is
Google Options which joins the ranks of images, maps, video, blogs and more
channels for finding content. To clarify, I don’t think search is too
complicated for consumers – consumers get it. What this post is referring to is
the other side, the complexities that website owners now face.

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