A week after Google introduced its policy lifting the restrictions on the use of trademarks in adwords advertising, Nucleus carried out some exclusive research for Travolution.
The top line is that the investigation shows an increase in brand interception on the internet with 67% of 124 online operators and agents surveyed falling victim – up from 59% in 2006.
All 14 brand names previously protected from others using their trademark – companies including Virgin Holidays, Expedia, Ebookers and Cosmos – now have at least one interceptor targeting their brand.
In addition, 14 of the top 20 interceptors are well-known brands and the most prolific interceptor said it offered discounts for nine of the surveyed brands.
Many of the prolific offenders are also new travel companies with big pay-per-click budgets – you know who you are!
The total number of interceptors was 121, of which 105 were small, low-budget travel sites with little brand awareness trying to position themselves beside better-known companies.
The remaining 16 (13%) are companies that featured in the survey – a decline from 2006 when 23% of surveyed companies were interceptors themselves.
Despite the numbers, and the fact that Google has just relaxed its rules, the good news is that the total number of interceptions has significantly declined from 375 two years
ago to 202.
We all know it is happening – but what can companies do about it?
Nucleus’ research found that Google still prevents trademark use in advertisement text.
The website design and development company advises companies to continue to trademark their brands.
Nucleus also says companies should register a ‘written’ complaint with Google and state whether it is a general objection or specific to certain advertisers.
Last, but by no means least, and a lot of people have come to the same conclusion, make sure your site is easy to find and easy to use so that it comes out top in natural listings.