Searching Beyond the Paid

Friday, May 15, 2009

Google Revises Adwords Trademark Policy

Well hallelujah and the saints be praised - Google has finally come to their senses and modified their Adwords trademark policy to allow the use of trademarked terms in ad copy. It's about flippin' time!

I've written about this a couple times, most recently just over a month ago. This trademark thing has bordered on the ridiculous many times, as anecdotes about people not being able to use the words "target" or "daddy" or "next" or other common terms abounded on forums, blogs, and Twitter. Now all that silliness has been laid to rest. From the Inside Adwords blog post:

Imagine opening your Sunday paper and seeing ads from a large supermarket chain that didn't list actual products for sale; instead, they simply listed the categories of products available - offers like "Buy discount cola" and "Snacks on sale." The ads wouldn't be useful since you wouldn't know what products are actually being offered. For many categories of advertisers, this is the problem they have faced on Google for some time.

Hey, that sounds familiar. In my post Trademark Trials and Tribulations, I wrote (emphasis added):
What I don't understand is why this is such a big deal in the search space. I mean, can you imagine JCPenney running a newspaper ad for Levi's or Carter's or Samsonite or any of the hundreds of other brands they carry in their stores - without using those names in the ad?? How silly would that look? And how many people would be compelled to shop for "great brand name jeans" or "cute brand baby clothes" or "super durable luggage" after seeing such an ad? Where would all the grocery store circulars be without using brand names and logos? What about TV ads for just about anything? What about magazine ads??

I won't go after Google for paraphrasing me. I'm just glad they've finally seen the light and modified their policy - it's long overdue.



  • I'm not happy about the change. It means pay more costs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 PM EDT  

  • Why do you say that?

    By Blogger Melissa, at 12:34 PM EDT  

  • adMarketplace took a swing at Google about AdSense today, too (re: payout, though not necessarily pay more) - interesting article:

    By Blogger segrant, at 4:07 PM EDT  

  • OK so i understand why this is a great thing and agree with the examples of grocery store advertising but...
    this is going to also hurt those people with trademarks. The tracking that goes on currently will need to be increased to monitor the use of the trademarks. Can you imagine being Pepsi and monitoring who is using your name and if it is approved or not??
    Like i said, i think this is a great thing for most but there are always two sides to every story.
    And usually there is someone else that will loose from a decision like this.

    By Blogger LE_BayshoreBlogger, at 3:26 PM EDT  

  • Hi LE_BayshoreBlogger, thanks for your comment. My question is, how does Pepsi monitor who's using their trademark in print advertising? Do they really read every paper to see if someone lifted their logo or name? Why is PPC any different?

    By Blogger Melissa, at 8:50 AM EDT  

  • There certainly should be people monitoring the use of a trademark, if they are or not isn't something I can comment on. But I do know that my current company and my previous company kept track of their name in many different mediums. Online being the most tracked. There are people out there that will "overuse" this new option/feature.
    Again, I think it's a great idea and individuals/corporations will benefit from this but there's just that other side of the coin to think about.

    By Blogger LE_BayshoreBlogger, at 9:05 AM EDT  

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