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PlusNet's response to Google trademark rule changes

PlusNet's response to Google trademark rule changes

PlusNet's response to Google trademark rule changes

If you're anything like me, you'll use your browser's built-in Google search more than the address bar itself to find websites. The search engine is so pervasive (it's in my desktop browser, Nintendo Wii Internet channel and the iPhone I'd love to own) that 'googling' is often the easiest way. That's why this week's changes to Google's trademark rules are quite significant. Until 5th May, companies were not permitted to bid against trademarked terms. I commented on this story in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago (requires free registration), and it's also been covered in The Times Business Section this weekend. Google's trademark rule changes effectively force every company to pay for advertisements as well being listed in natural search, or face losing clicks to competitors. Here's how it works: If you enter 'PlusNet' into Google, it made sense that you should be shown results that are relevant to your search. This is very different from searching for 'UK broadband' for example. New rules have changed all this, and it's all going to drive extra cash towards Google. Already other companies are starting to bid against PlusNet's terms. It's natural that we would want to be the top result - after all, you're searching for PlusNet, right? At PlusNet we chose to bid against our own name, but we weren't obliged to. Since May 5th, to flourish in a competitive market, we're going to have to start paying more to Google or risk being drowned-out by competitors with bigger budgets. Of course, we're able to bid against other trademark terms, but our competitors have much deeper pockets and currently pay up to £12 per click to Google for every click on the word 'broadband'. How else could this affect you? If you run a small business and use search engine marketing to promote your products then you face the same challenge. The risk grows the more successful you are, because your company name will become more of a target if it generates a high volume of searches. For example, if you run a small business of 3 flower shops across your region and generate lots of leads online, you could find that big national players are able to bid against your company name when previously they may not have been able to. If you generate a significant number of searches, it's a realistic scenario as there are lots of software tools that let search companies target the 'long tail' of related terms. It's like a competitor sticking a big billboard on the side of your corner store. What do you think?

  • Are you glad that there's now more opportunity for advertisers to target your search?
  • Or would you prefer to have search limited just to the subjects / companies you asked for?

I'd love to hear your opinions. Phil Sheard, Emarketing manager @ PlusNet Twitter me: philsheard

 

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