Yahoo To Ban Bidding On Competitor Trademarks To Stop Comparison Advertising

Yahoo No
Longer Allow Bidding On Trademarked Terms
on our SEW Forums has news that
Yahoo will no longer be allowing companies to purchase ads linked to the
trademarks of their competitors. From what’s being sent to advertisers:

On March 1, 2006, Yahoo! Search Marketing will modify its editorial
guidelines regarding the use of keywords containing trademarks. Previously, we
allowed competitive advertising by allowing advertisers to bid on third-party
trademarks if those advertisers offered detailed comparative information about
the trademark owner’s products or services in comparison to the competitive
products and services that were offered or promoted on the advertiser’s site.

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.

OK, I haven’t had a chance to talk with Yahoo yet, but here are few key
points from what I see so far:

  • The policy doesn’t seem to completely ban bidding on terms that are also
    trademarks, which is good. I won’t spin out all the long explanations about
    why that is good, as I’ve done in the past. The short answer is that some
    products and services simply cannot be adequately advertised if you can’t bid
    on a term that also is a trademark. Try selling “used ipods” if you can’t buy
    the term “ipod,” for example. Or look at the
    this person is having about helping to advertise Ferrari driving experiences
    without being able to buy ads linked to that term on Google in Europe.
  • In the US (where the Yahoo policy is coming into effect), the courts have
    so far upheld the right to link ads to terms that might also be trademarks.
    That’s why Google allows you to buy ads linked to these terms in the US. You
    simply cannot use the terms in your ads. In Europe, you can’t use the terms as
    trigger words or in copy. Google’s full policy is
  • Betcha I know what’s prompted the move. Yahoo has been doing more and more
    work to attract big brand advertisers to link non-search campaigns back to
    search. The problem is, that means other competing brands can capitalize on
    this traffic.
    Mazda Taps Into Pontiac TV & Search Ads Again
    covers more about this. An
    easy way to stop your big brand advertisers you’ve partnered with from being
    walked over this way is to ban “comparison” ads linked to their campaigns.

Need more history on search ads and trademark disputes? The
section of the
Search Topics
area available to Search Engine Watch
members has lots
and lots of information.

Want to comment or discuss? Visit our SEW Forum thread,
Yahoo No
Longer Allow Bidding On Trademarked Terms

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