Google Updates AdWords Trademark Policy

Google announced changes to its trademark policy for Google AdWords, the search engine giant's advertising product and main source of revenue.

Search engine giant Google announced changes to its trademark policy concerning the company's advertising product AdWords. Google's Dan Friedman, a member of the Inside AdWords crew, wrote a blog post explaining the company is adjusting its U.S. trademark policy to allow some ads to use trademarks in the ad text.
"This change will bring Google's policy on trademark use in ad text more in line with the industry standard," Friedman wrote. "Under certain criteria, you can use trademark terms in your ad text in the U.S. even if you don't own that trademark or have explicit approval from the trademark owner to use it. This change will help you to create more narrowly targeted ad text that highlights your specific inventory."
Friedman explained that as it now stands, advertisements aren't as useful as they could be because users don't know what specific products are actually being offered. "Imagine opening your Sunday paper and seeing ads from a large supermarket chain that didn't list actual products for sale; instead, they simply listed the categories of products available," he wrote. "For many categories of advertisers, this is the problem they have faced on Google for some time."
For example, under Google's old policy, a site that sells several brands of athletic shoes may not have been able to highlight the actual brands that they sell in their ad text. Under the revised policy, that advertiser can create specific ads for each of the brands that they sell. "We believe that this change will help both our users and advertisers by reducing the number of overly generic ads that appear across our networks in the U.S.," he wrote.
Friedman points out the policy update will only apply to ads served in the United States on and to U.S. users on the Search and Content Networks. While Google will start accepting new ads that contain trademark terms as of today, May 15, those ads will not begin showing until June 15.
In order to help advertisers understand whether their landing pages meet Google's policy guidelines, Friedman encourages advertisers to become familiar with added functionality to Google's search based keyword tool. If you visit the application's Web page and enter the Website URL, advertisers may see a list of brands on the left side of the page if their site contains those brands.
"When you click on any of those brands you'll notice a column titled -extracted from webpage'," Friedman wrote. "Those landing pages may be opportunities for you to show re-sale or informational ads." Friedman said he believes this change will offer advertisers the opportunity to provide users with more relevant information, choice and options while respecting the interests of trademark owners.