Bing and Yahoo’s Decision To No Longer Enforce Trademark Will Equal Mo’ Money and Fewer Problems

As of March 3rd, 2011, Bing and Yahoo! will no longer be policing trademark complaints. Advertisers will be free to bid on any trademarked term they please. If a company feels they are being violated, Bing and Yahoo! suggest that they take it up directly with the advertiser. This is an interesting announcement on many levels and has numerous implications.

Probably the best way to explain the direct implications is to share the reaction that this announcement caused in our office. Our business is combined of two distinct entities. One is an interactive agency focused on SEM and SEO for companies that hire us. The other business is an affiliate network and in-house affiliate search buying team. In other words, this team spends our own money in search trying to drive conversions towards our affiliate deals.

The announcement from Bing and Yahoo! made my agency team sigh and dread the upcoming work of fighting hard to protect our client’s brands from poachers. Our affiliate team licked their chops and circled March 3rd on their calendars. This will open up new ways to drive conversions for offers.

In fairness to Bing and Yahoo! it should be pointed out that the other monster in the search space has been letting people bid on trademarks of other companies for years. So why did Bing and Yahoo! just change their mind? In the end it was the smart economic decision. This will make them more money in two ways.

One, the obvious implication is that with two (or more) companies now bidding on these terms, the CPC will rise and more money will flow to the engines. No longer will the brands be able to sit back and bid $.30 for their brand name keywords. Certainly the companies bidding on other people’s trademarks will be forced to pay 3x and more per click due to low quality scores, but if the landscape in Google is any indication, this will not stop them from bidding.

This can be seen over and over again. A quick search for “K2 skis” in Google shows skis.com outbidding the trademark owner. This means more money for Google and soon more for Bing and Yahoo!

Two, they will make money by reducing costs. Bing and Yahoo! have had an army of lawyers working on  these trademark complaints. This is simply a bad use or resources and they have recognized this. This is a classic case of avoiding the Biggie Smalls scenario of Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems. This is more money and fewer problems!

Like Google, Bing and Yahoo! will not allow advertisers to use trademark terms in ad copy. This is something that they can police much easier with automated tools and massive negative keyword lists.

Last month Bing and Yahoo! were accused of copying Google’s search results. It seems like they were caught red handed but I suppose the verdict is still out. They definitely copied Google with this announcement and they were smart to do so.

About Paul Uhlir

Paul Uhlir is the Principal at Addthree agency. Interactive advertising addict. Proud Father. Helpless Arsenal Fan.

2 Responses to Bing and Yahoo’s Decision To No Longer Enforce Trademark Will Equal Mo’ Money and Fewer Problems

  1. Pat Grady says:

    for my clients, i’ve seen more poaching affiliates (our supposed partners) on Binghoo, joining your SEM team’s sigh.