In Defense of the Brand

Advertiser brands are being used against them. 

Monday’s Wall St. Journal had an excellent article about “Piggybacking”.  (No they are not referring to throwing a kid on your back and jumping around the yard!)  This piggybacking is a form of brand infringement that is haunting thousands of advertisers.  It is the practice of buying a trademarked brand and profiting from it.  Google is guilty of facilitating this practice.

The Journal gave several exceptional examples of how brands including American Airlines and InterContinental are trying to fight back.  One example was the term, “Holiday Inn Orlando” which, when clicked, led consumers to  This site is not authorized to use the Holiday Inn brand name.  To make matters worse, the site had Holiday Inn ads on the site.  Each time these ads were clicked Holiday Inn ends up paying both Google AND for the illicit click. 

Google, in a typical “do no evil” response, refers to their trademark policy.  Unfortunately, their policy is not carried out on their site.  This problem is similar to the geo-targeting issue.  When an advertiser tells Google they want their ads targeted to the US, they expect that this will occur.  We find that as much as 10% of the US targeted ads appear outside the US.

A high level of diligence is required to ensure advertiser brands are protected.  Time and time again Click Forensics finds violations for our clients and even our own brand.  These problems are generally fixed when we alert the search engine.  But without constant monitoring, the damage is done.

Who profits from this?  GOOG