Yahoo! to Ban Comparitive Search Advertising


Danny points at a SEW thread noting that starting next month Yahoo! will no longer allow competing businesses to bid on trademark phrases:

"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."

Trademark terms are some of the most valuable words in the search space. While this move may not be surprising given Yahoo!'s past activities, will this move cause other engines to change their policies? How will this policy effect comparison sites which offer many brands on the landing page? Is Yahoo! trying to commoditize the search marketplace to help them make more money away from search?

They still support typosquatting and cracking sites away from search, but may that be coming to an end too? The recent Perfect 10 vs Google lawsuit points to newtwork quality becoming a more important issue.


things are moving faster than I had expected

Paid placement (in any variety... PPC or paid inclusion or paid links) will regulate itself out of competitiveness over time. It's the nature of the beast - insert a middle man and wait for the end of the market. It might take a while; it might suffer thru unnatural extensions due to government regulation or industry collusion; it might morph just-in-time to be reborn again and again, but it will lose competitiveness over time as the ante goes up and the pot thins out.

Long live organic SEO. Buy my ebook "100 ways to capitalize on trademarks without violating the law or anyone's terms of service".

"100 ways to capitalize on

"100 ways to capitalize on trademarks without violating the law or anyone's terms of service"

I just watched The Corporation. I predict that as people like them get web savvy (ie: make free web based textual equivalents of everything in their video and create target pages for each idea and company) and their content gets distributed to others who are web savvy there will be a number of intent based lawsuits...some corporate entity will sue with the fundamental basis of their argument being that you knew when you created something that you knew how third parties would react and how it would spread on the web or rank in the search results and that it caused undue harm to their business.

Hopefully I have a good stack of cash saved up if I am involved in any of those types of lawsuits.

Using certain meta tags was (and maybe still is?) illegal. Will the laws evolve with advancing search technology?

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