Online brand hijacking sees massive increase

Online travel companies are hijacking one another’s pay-per-click presence to the tune of a 245% increase on last year.

A survey carried out by web and technology consultants Nucleus and trade mark firm Hallmark-ip found that almost 60% of 124 UK travel companies had discovered so-called brand interception of their websites through pay-per-click advertising.

However, nearly a quarter admitted to carrying out similar practices of their own in order to place their brand against keywords for other websites.

Nucleus managing director Peter Matthews said: “The results go to show that brand interception is out of control in the online travel industry.

“More alarming still is to find that some of the most web savvy brands, who know enough to protect themselves from this practise, are some of the biggest interceptors of all.”

Only one in ten companies questioned in the survey had put in place measures to protect their identity against the growing threat of brand hijacking.

Hallmark trade mark attorney Nick Baker added: “It’s time that trade mark law caught up with current internet practise.

“We anticipate more cases to test whether this activity infringes registered trade marks or not and look forward to a clear ruling.”

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