Yahoo Ending Competitor Trademark Bids

    February 24, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

As of March 1st, Yahoo Search Marketing will change its policy regarding bids for trademarks by competitive advertisers.

After watching Mazda hijack the “Google Pontiac” campaign by purchasing Pontiac as a keyword in Google AdWords, Yahoo has taken steps to end the practice of bidding on trademarks by the competition. An email sent to such advertisers with Yahoo Search Marketing emerged at Search Engine Watch.

The email read as follows:

On March 1, 2006, Yahoo! Search Marketing will modify its editorial guidelines regarding the use of keywords containing trademarks. Previously, we allowed competitive advertising by allowing advertisers to bid on third-party trademarks if those advertisers offered detailed comparative information about the trademark owner’s products or services in comparison to the competitive products and services that were offered or promoted on the advertiser’s site.

In order to more easily deliver quality user experiences when users search on terms that are trademarks, Yahoo! Search Marketing has determined that we will no longer allow bidding on keywords containing competitor trademarks.

The SEW article pointed out how such bidding was already prohibited in Europe. In the US, Google allows that bidding to take place, but the trademark cannot be part of the ad copy.

When Yahoo released its fourth quarter earnings, CEO Terry Semel noted how the company’s efforts to improve its search advertising relevance would take hold as new search algorithms debut later in 2006.

The move delivers Yahoo a neatly packaged sales pitch its Overture team can deliver to current and potential advertising customers, particularly the powerful brand name owners in the marketplace. At Yahoo, Mazda won’t drive away with your ad campaign as they did with Google’s clients, Yahoo could easily say with a smile.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.