Google commands tens of millions of dollars each year (probably hundreds) through knowingly selling brand terms through AdWords (such as “cudo” for our business). Yet, users are increasingly using Google for everyday web navigation, so they knew where they wanted to go, they just wanted Google to help them get there.
This is a lot like punching a restaurant’s address into your satnav, but being taken to the highest bidding restaurant instead!
And as businesses grow their sophistication in SEO and they establish their listing at the top of the Organic pile for free. Allowing competitors to purchase a business’s brand term means the target business also has to buy their own
brand term else there is a fair chance an unsuspecting user will click on the competitor’s link, commanding unnecessary dollars from at least two businesses! This has lead to a Mexican Standoff between Group Buying sites, including the seven or so competitors currently spending their dollars on the term “Cudo” today.
In itself this is not necessarily evil of Google, it is opportunistic though.
However, once a business has been granted a trade mark they can then protect their brand from being bought on Google by law, yet Google seems to be oddly slow at applying any kind of block to AdWords, milking yet more dollars from a potentially struggling business over the 3 to 6 months it takes to limit the term in AdWords (Google may not block the term altogether!).
Why is it so hard to protect my mark on the world’s most sophisticated Search platform? Yahoo! and Bing seem to behave much less like a Corrupt SatNav with a clear policy on Trade Marks.
At Cudo we are spending over $50k each month buying our brand term on Google, that’s one expensive Mexican Standoff!
See below for an excerpt from a Trademark Case Study, found here
“Trademark Case Study
A Google Adwords client, who is a leader in the very competitive Network Marketing field, recently noticed a surge of infringements against their trademark which was being used in competitor ad copy on the Google Network. Competition within the Network Marketing industry is extremely competitive and aggressive. The client became aware that their competitors were bidding on their trademarked search terms. This caused the cost to secure top positions for their ads to skyrocket from an initial $2.00 per click to $15.00 per click. Monthly expenditures increased from $1,200 to nearly $30,000. The estimated budget increased to $500,000+ for the year. Control of the top ad space in Google was their primary objective in order to dominate the ad-space for their branded trademarked term.
Given the level of aggression by the competitors and the extortionate cost been borne by the client, there was only one solution and that was to stop all advertisers from bidding on the terms. Is it right that a business owner has to spend $500,000+ to buy their own branded name – a name that has already cost them millions of dollars to build? This is $500,000+ the trademark owner has to spend because of a policy that disavows elementary business ethics. Yahoo and MSN have recognized the injustice of such a slippery-slope policy and have taken steps to change it. We filed trademark infringements with all three search egnines. Yahoo and MSN results were clear within days.”