Wednesday, May 07, 2008

And so it begins - brand bidding on Google...

Deals done behind the scenes to not bid on one another's brand terms might be easy to discover if you have the time to check all the major travel brands via a Google keyword search.

For those not party to such agreements, welcome to the PPC bun-fight [click on an image for more detail]:

Those with good memories will recall a pledge by Cheapflights last week not to bid on the brand names of its advertisers.

UPDATE: It has emerged that the inclusion of Cheapflights, as seen above, is a by-product of how this policy change may be seen in the industry, according to Cheapflights, which is understandably keen to stress that its pledge still stands.

What the company is doing is bidding on the keyword "airways" and thus why Cheapflights appears against searches for "British Airways".

This afternoon, the company has run a negative match against "british airways" so it no longer appears.

As someone mentioned in a meeting this afternoon: there will be almost universal confusion in the first few weeks as companies decide which words to bid on or brands to bid against.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Daniele Beccari said...

As I commented on another leading blog, I just can't understand so much confusion around trademark bidding.

Search engines (not to name anyone specifically) should simply pay royalties to brand owners for any money they make selling other companies' trademarks.

The discussion should be on the royalties amounts to be paid, not on the practice itself.

Mark Hodson said...

The idea of the search engines paying royalties to brand owners is a non-starter for a number of reasons.

Not least of these is the confusion over what is and isn't a brand name. It's clear, for instance, that [Expedia] is a brand name, but what about [last minute] or [cheap flights]?

Matt Cheevers said...

a brand name is not the issue, it is one of trademarks.

Once again the travel industry shoots itself in the foot and doesnt get "organised". The only winners are Google and Trademark lawyers.

If we all stop breaching trademarks then the problem goes away and we can focus on selling travel products!

destinationamerica said...

Seems to me that it is the trademarks that are the problem. Google's change of policy is a good move for us as a small company.

I think whatever way this subject is viewed there are valid points for and against - depending on the hat you wear.

It has always incensed me when a trademark has stopped adverts because of a conflict of name with a trademark holder.

Radical but perhaps trademarks should be got rid of!? Not going to happen of course but wow - wouldn't that open things up!

Daniele Beccari said...

@Mark: I understand your question on what is a trademark. That's an easy answer for those who have a distinct, officially registered brand. If anyone prints and sells "isango!" t-shirts, I can sue. OR agree to be paid royalties. Expedia can do the same. Problem is solved at least for this side.

The other guys will have to fight to prove that cheap flihgts, last minute etc are their trademark. OR, simply sit back and enjoy the benefit of natural SEO, and forget the royalties and the lawyers.