Bidding on Trademarks Makes Sense


For many, many years it was considered a complete “no-no” to bid on other brand’s trademarks. In fact, worried about possible lawsuits, many performance-marketing campaigns specifically worded in their terms, that trademark bidding on competitor’s brands was not allowed whatsoever.  Despite this, many affiliates sometimes engaged in this activity, finding that trademark PPC bidding was highly cost effective and produced great results. Then in March of 2011, a Federal Appeals court in Californa ruled that trademark bidding was indeed allowed – giving a new opportunity for affiliates to find new traffic sources. Soon after, both Google and Bing opened up to Trademark bidding.

Here are a few key things to know about trademark keyword bidding, how to do it, and the rules that you need to follow.

1)   Do not put the trademark in the actual advertisement. While you can bid on the actual search, using the name in the actual advertisement will still cause issues. That is a most definitely a Trademark violation, and can often get you easily banned from any program.

2)   Bid on similar products. This is kinda obvious – if someone is searching for a certain dating site, you should give them the opportunity to click on your dating site. Obviously the more targeted the trademark search, the better ROI you’ll have. This is the simplest of trademark search options.

3)   Bid on auxiliary searches. If someone is looking for, let’s say “Men’s Warehouse”, maybe you can provide them a site for great cufflinks. This is a very, very good strategy to get people who are already interested in buying a product to buy something extra for the product.

4)   Present an Option. Simply put, present the advertisement as a possible other option. If someone is looking for a certain truck, perhaps present them with an advertisement that says “Considering another truck? Try the….” Or something similar. Imagine presenting the reasons your option is better than the search, such as “this truck is rated much higher…” or “The Dating Site Your Looking for Sucks…”

Is trademark bidding an option for you?

That depends. If you are an affiliate, this is a great, great method to get ahead of the game and be creative. If you are a network, you need to talk to your clients who don’t allow trademark bidding and allow them to open it up to at least a few affiliates who are PPC experts. Allow them to at least try auxiliary searches if they don’t want to go against direct competitors. Even if you have your own SEM team, it would be smart to see if there are any areas that a better affiliate PPC expert could arbitrage for you.

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