As of 5th May 2008 Google is lifting the trademark rule for Google AdWords (UK) which prevents advertiser from bidding on branded keywords that are protected by trademark. Enter the brand bidding war and Affiliate heaven!
What was the trademark restriction? Basically if you submitted a Google trademark complain procedure you could prevent your competitor (or anyone else) to bid for your brand name in PPC ads served in the UK and Ireland. The benefit? You would be the only one in the paid listings appearing for your brand term, which means it was very cheap to drive traffic for your protected brand term to your website.
What happens now? Basically, ANYONE can now bid for your brand name. They still cant use your brand name in their ad text, but they can bid to their hearts content for any brand terms. Which means the CPC (Cost Per Click) for any brand terms are likely to sky rocket! Who will benefit? Yep thats right, Google! And of course the Affiliates (the guys that steal your traffic and then sells it back to you!).
Google claims that these changes will give the users greater options and help them make informed decisions. HA! Whatever happened to relevancy? Is this really profitable in the long run? Is Google shooting themselves in the foot on this one?
Its well known that nearly 73% of search engine users prefer (and trusts) Organic results more than Paid search engine results. With the PPC results filling up with even more irrelevant results, will this increase the users preference to organic? In my opinion this is a very risky time for Google to be changing anything that can fuck up the quality of their paid search listings.
It’s quite contradicting of Google to put such an emphasis on Quality Score, for them then to say, hey but you can bid on whatever you want, even someone elses brand term, well take your money!