Monday, April 21, 2008

Google is not feeling da lurve right now

So there was plenty of consternation around the industry, initially from a few digital agencies and now travel companies themselves, about Google's switch in policy over trademarks.

Our first story had one exec claiming around 25% of the company's pay-per-click budget would be needed to protect its brand name from rivals.

And last week we discovered that a number of travel companies are talking behind the scenes to agree not to bid against one another.

In the course of digging around, we came across some interersting snippets.

In the US in 2004 - when Google made a similar change in policy - marketing directors loved the excitement initially as they were given free reign to bid on terms previously out of reach - a terrifying wild abandon! Pretty quickly though, those "walking around with smiles on their faces" wised up to the fact that they were spending far too much for almost no return.

However, this "financial bloodbath" in the first few months as companies bid everywhere didn't last and most eventually came to their senses and agreed to a "bidding detente".

It is the recent experience of the changes in the US which is troubling many companies. It is not 2004, and digital marketing budgets are under pressure.

There is also a sense among many of the big players that they feel like Google has, well, been rather disloyal to those with them since the beginning.

In the words of one exec, when talking about the current situation in the UK: "It's got the potential to get very, very ugly."

Finally, it seems quite a few people can't wait to, er, talk to Google's Rob Torres at the Travolution Summit on Thursday!

Welcome to London, Rob.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Travolution Blogger said...

Henrry: not sure if this is relevent to the post.

Lee Harrison said...

Travel Bulletin April 18th has a rather interesting rant on the subject ( and quite Rightly) by Noel Josephides. Noel apparently has written to the OFT and has asked ABTA and AITO to take up the matter with the regulators.

Travolution Blogger said...

Lee Harrison: I think Noel may be thinking a little too micro on this issue. The OFT might have some influence but ABTA and AITO will not.

the fact that Google made a similar decision in the US in 2004 means they will almost certainly be willing to take this as far as they can if a case comes up.