Googles Move in Sharp

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-04-13 Print this article Print

Contrast to its Competition"> Googles position also puts it in contrast with major competitor Overture, Yahoo Inc.s search advertising division. Overture, in its trademark policy, states that it allows the use of a trademark as a search term when the ad is an appropriate use of the trademark, such as for comparative advertising or commentary. Many of Googles larger advertisers with well-known trademarks are likely to protest the policy change despite Google allowing them to request the removal of trademarks from ad text, said Catherine Seda, president of Internet marketing company Seda Communication Inc., in Thousand Oaks, Calif. She also said the change could confuse users by allowing them to search trademarks in keywords but then receive ads that potentially could be barred from containing the actual word searched.
"This latest move seems more confusing for search engine users as well as for trademark owners," Seda said. "All this seems to do is let Google [try to get] off the hook from any trademark infringement claim."
But Seda said she doesnt think the move will steer Google away from future trademark disputes. Google contends that by allowing keywords to trigger more paid results, it is allowing users to determine which ads are most relevant. Its AdWords program, for example, bases the placement of paid search results both on the advertiser with the highest bid and the click-through rate from users. "We feel comfortable that we arent likely to confuse users if we allow the ads to be shown," Hagan said. "If theres any possibility of confusion then it would be in the ad text, and thats why we concentrated there." Editors Note: This story was updated to clarify comments made by Catherine Seda. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. Be sure to add our enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel