Google changes its keyword policy in Europe

4 Aug 2010

Search giant Google has made a number of changes to its policies in Europe in a move that would allow advertisers to buy and use terms that had been trademarked by others as keywords. In Ireland, the UK and Canada advertisers will be able to use third party trademarks in their ad text.

Google effectively made two announcements, the first concerning the use of third party trademarks in ad text by companies in Ireland, the UK and Canada and the second concerning advertisers across Europe bidding for keywords corresponding to their competitors’ trademarks.

Google announced a specific policy for Ireland, the UK and Canada whereby advertisers can use third party trademarks in their ad text even if they don’t own that trademark or have specific approval from the trademark owner to use it.

“We made this ad text change in the US last year and believe it has helped both our users and advertisers by reducing the number of overly generic ads that appear,” said Peter Fitzgerald, industry director for Google in the UK.

The other major announcement concerns allowing advertisers to bid for keywords corresponding to their competitors’ trademarks and comes six months after the European Court of Justice confirmed Google had not infringed trademark law.

Google said that advertisers can still fill in an online complaint form if they feel the trademark incites confusion as to the origin of the products and services.

Referring to the specific ad text policy changes for Ireland, the UK and Canada, Fitzgerald explained: “We believe the user experience is improved if, for example, they conduct a search for a particular brand of TV and see ads which give them more detail about where they can buy that particular brand of television, where they might be able to fix it, buy component parts or read reviews.”

The new online advertising policies will be active from 14 September. The 12-year-old internet giant believes that as a result of the policy changes, users will benefit from seeing more relevant ads via their searches.

The changes will primarily affect Google’s Adwords service, which works on a pay-per-click basis and accounts for 95pc of Google’s revenues.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years