Net Media Planet nominated for a DADI Award

Net Media Planet and the Perfume Shop

We are really excited to have been selected and shortlisted for our work with The Perfume Shop as a finalist for the DADI 2010 Awards for Best Use of Paid Search. There was really tough competition to get to the final round, so we are absolutely thrilled.

Well done to The Perfume Shop!

The results will be out in November. Fingers crossed.

Net Media Planet Brand Day

Net Media Planet Brand Day

Exploring the Net Media Planet Brand

Last Wednesday we held our first ever Brand Day. For all of us this was something new, bringing the entire company together for a spell of team building and exploration of our values.

The day was productive and good fun. We produced Net Media Planet videos, podcasts, posters and – among other things – a fully operational 3D installation. For a team of people used to tapping away at their keyboards day after day, it was not just something different but something worthwhile. New business and operation strategies were generated and people from opposite sides of the office were thrown together into unfamiliar teams.

We all left with a better understanding of what the Net Media Planet brand is all about, and with a fistful of new ideas for the next few months.

Net Media Planet Blog Watch – 20th August

Blog Watch

Our weekly update on the latest developments in Search Marketing that we have found of interest this week…

1. Post of the week: Google SERP’s dominated by one domain

2. Google CEO Believes That in the Future, We May Be Automatically Allowed to Change Our Names to Escape Online Past.

3. AdWords is down from 6-10pm on Saturday (UK time)

4. Facebook launches ‘Places’ to compete with Google Locations and Foursquare

What it all means…

5. Kooday. Another new search engine. Let’s you buy keywords for your website rather than the traditional biding auction model

6. Bingle. Let’s you search Google and Bing at the same time

7. Yahoo Search Engine Gains Market Share, Google Drops

Effect of the Google Trademark Policy Change

In a recent blog post, Matt Holland our Head of Search, wrote about the Google Trademark Policy Update: Big Change for PPC Advertisers that takes effect on 14 September. He wrote about how resellers in the UK, Ireland and Canada will be able to use branded keywords within their ad-copy for products that they are reselling. Previously this was not allowed.

I was thinking about how we could project the effects of this change, so that brands could consider the challenges that they are likely to face. Then our Senior Analyst, Anthony Pearce, came across the screenshot below.

Musto clothing screen shot

(Click on the image above to see in a full screen)

This screen grab shows a keyword search on Google UK for ‘Musto Clothing’.  Currently Musto are not trademarked so with the paid search results their resellers can use the brand’s terms within their ad copy and also bid on these brand terms.

The paid search results are populated with at the top and then all their resellers below.  Regardless of whether you trademark or not, from 14 of September this is how paid search results could look. With the addition of competitors’ paid search adverts for good measure.

What then does this mean for brands? First of all it signals a more dynamic paid search landscape, increasing costs and accompanying traffic leakage. It means an increased reliance on your agency to provide ongoing reports into what’s happening in your search space, as well as protection against revenue decline on your high conversion terms.

If you’re like to chat to me about this further, do give me a call or drop me an email.

Google Trademark Policy Update: Big Change for PPC Advertisers

Google announced today a change in its trademark policy that will be coming into effect on 14th September 2010. Google is changing its current trademark policy in the UK, Ireland and Canada so that Google will no longer uphold trademark protection and use of trademarks within ad copies unless an investigation is requested by the trademark owner. It is also opening up the branded keyword bidding policy in the rest of Europe that has been in place in the UK and USA for 2 years now.

What does this mean?

This means in the UK, Ireland and Canada resellers will be able to use a brand’s terms within their ad copy for products they are reselling. In Europe competitor bidding on a brands term will now be accepted.

The losers…

The biggest losers will be the brands themselves who will surely see their own CPCs increase on their brand terms as new competition comes in on these keywords. They will also see cannibalisation on their brand terms from resellers promoting their products.

For example, if you take brands of the likes of Apple, who trademark the terms ‘iPod’ and ‘Mac’ these keywords will be opened up to all resellers of Apple products which will surely have an effect on the cost of their current AdWords budget. Louis Vuitton famously took Google to court over the previous change in Google trademark policy back in 2008 which allowed competitors to bid on brands keywords, as Louis Vuitton protested that counterfeit products of Louis Vuitton were being sold and promoted through Google AdWords. They lost the resulting court case and Google’s previous trademark policy of bidding on brands keywords remains.

The winners…

Competitors and resellers of products stand to gain from these changes in policy. Resellers in the UK, Ireland and Canada will now be free to use brands’ terms in ad copy, which will give them better relevancy, click thru rates and quality score resulting in cheaper CPCs for brand terms they are bidding on. Competitors in Europe will now be able to bid on brand keywords which will increase their own brand awareness and mean incremental sales for them. As a result affiliates could be used as part of a brand protection strategy, to take up more of the PPC space in light of the increase in competitors and resellers on brand terms.

The biggest winners however will be Google themselves. This increase in competition on brand terms will mean more revenue for Google through AdWords campaigns as there will be an increase in competition for these keywords. The introduction of Google Related Ads on brand terms back in July already increased competition on brands terms which were controlled by Google and has already caused murmurings from brands promoting on Google.

What can brands do?

It will be interesting how this plays out in the run up to December and January, the peak times seasonality wise for Retail and Travel industries, where brands could be hit hard due to this change in policy. Brands will need to monitor their brand keywords closely and protect their brand space with automated protection technology (a product and service that Net Media Planet can offer through our Mercury Platform.) Brands need to consider the importance of bidding on their own brand terms in Google, as they can no longer rely on the natural listings to pick up all their brand traffic. Brands may consider inviting affiliates onto their brand terms as part of an overall brand protection strategy and try to ensure they have agreements in place with resellers and affiliates regarding bidding on their brand terms.

In Conclusion

I feel that this is a bold move from Google which will no doubt cause concern for brands spending vast sums on PPC advertising in Google AdWords. Brands will surely be looking hard at the relative ROI they receive from Google in comparison to other marketing channels, but Google can remain confident as the internet reach continues to grow and they are still positioned as the number one search engine globally. If brands decide to move away from Google then the resellers will take over the brand keywords and as PPC comes at the end of the buying cycle (for brand terms) then brands will stand to lose out even more. Brands will have to continue to advertise on their own brand terms and will have to suffer the increase costs and lower CTR as a result of the increase in competition.

Net Media Planet will be monitoring the effect of these changes in policy once introduced in September and will be updating our blog with any insights related to this change in Google’s Trademark Policy. If you are concerned as to what steps to take in light of this latest Google Trademark Policy change, please contact us.

To read the updated policy change, please go to Google’s Blog and pay particular attention to its amended policy regarding trademarks in ad copy in the UK, Ireland and Canada.