Google Search Protection Money – trademark term search

Merge of google and the godfather logos

“Are you looking at me?” Is it my imagination or if you stare long enough at Google can you see the fat cigar, fedora and highly polished spats. Is Google starting to resemble Don Corleone? By announcing it’s stopping its support of sponsored listing trademark protection in the UK and Ireland, Google is bringing in  the equivalent of brand protection money on search shopfronts.

The resulting is a free-for-all in the PPC field. A search for a trademarked brand will result in competitor ads being served as well as the brand owners. So what’s the fall out for the marketing family?

  1. We know that brand searches (goal oriented ones anyway) are usually associated with higher purchase intent. PPC campaigns which are measured by more short-term measures of ROI will certainly suffer.
  2. Brand reputation management is becoming increasingly mainstream. PPC advertising has it’s part to play in online brand protection. Google’s move shifts PPC’s role from marketing/PR glove to boxing ring.
  3. With the reported downturn in Google’s paid ad clicks for the first time, won’t this be a sweetener for those clutching their shares.
  4. It’ll encourage premium bidding with marketers looking to create “tipping point” ads to generate leads on the back of competitor keywords. Brands will be forced to bid on their own keywords to keep themselves at the top of the pack.
  5. Watch those affiliates go – “yehar, thar’s gold in them thar hills”. Watch brands become more vigilant with affiliate content and t&c’s outlining what keywords they cannot bid on.
  6. Search agencies will be conflicted in response – on the one had they can expect PPC spend to increase on accounts, on the other there’s going to be a lot more monitoring and disgruntled clients to deal with.

As is the case in the States for the last four years, trademarks probably won’t be permitted in the actual ads. The good news is that it doesn’t come into effect until May, then watch for turf wars and some smaller brands “sleeping with de fishes”. Capiche?