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Old 06-28-2005   #1
nuthin
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Thumbs down Pathetic Trademark Laws

Due to trademark reasons, we do not allow advertisers to use 'target' in their Google AdWords ads. This term may be trademarked either for a certain product or service category and may apply only in certain countries.



"Reach your target audience today"

anyone know of a nice word I can replace target with in that sentence?
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Old 06-29-2005   #2
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I would challenge that.

"Target" may be a trademark for a US dept store, but it absolutely has no right to a trademark for a common word in the English language (unless this ad is for a dept store).

Sounds like a script gone haywire, or a really, really clueless Adwords rep in gross need of basic training. There is certainly no trademark issue here, unless the ad is regarding a competing Dept store or could cause confusion regarding same.

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Old 06-29-2005   #3
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I just removed the word.

It was an ad for a local directory, nothing to do with shopping et all.

Suprised that such a generic word isn't allowed.
Maybe if I did challenge it, they might allow it.. but that would require me to wait for there reply. I don't like waiting.

Not a big thing.
I just think they should allow it, unless "Target" has put pressure on Google about that word.
But even then..
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Old 06-29-2005   #4
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Quote:
Due to trademark reasons, we do not allow advertisers to use 'target' in their Google AdWords ads.
Just to clarify this issue, is that for "advertisers" who happen to be affiliates of Target.com? That would be an entirely different issue than for an unrelated, unaffiliated company using the term in an advert - say for example a directory advertising that local merchants can reach their "local target market."

There are different advertising restrictions when a site is involved in an affiliate marketing relationship with a company, so is that what the situation is in this case? Is the site in question involved in an affiliate marketing relationship with Target.com in any way?

Last edited by Marcia : 06-29-2005 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 06-29-2005   #5
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It's a local business directory which also offers paid advertising space.

Just wanted to use the word target as it's a brilliant word for my advertisement copy.

I just think they have a catch all on that word, anyone want to try it out?
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Old 06-29-2005   #6
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Quote:
I just think they have a catch all on that word
But is the site involved with target.com in any way? And is the problem coming from them, or are the adverts being denied by AdWords restrictions altogether?
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Old 06-29-2005   #7
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nope. no way involved with target.com
ads are being denied in Adwords account.
have to request an exception to have the word 'target' displayed in your ad.
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Old 06-29-2005   #8
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So yeah, almost certainly Target has complained to Google and they've blocked that word per their trademark policy on not allowing trademarks in ad copy. Ironically, you should still be able to buy an ad linked to the terms "target" or "target.com", which is allowed.

You obviously aren't trying to target Target in any way but just want to use the word as a generic. That's a pain, but I'm assuming if you ask for the exception, it will probably be quickly granted. You going to try for that? I'm sure we'd all like to know how it goes.
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Old 06-29-2005   #9
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I tried to get Van Morrison and the lads to trademark The the, but he wasn't keen That would have put the cat amognst the pidgeons!!!

I was knocked back once for "plan", as in "open plan house". Still don't know why, and the problem never resurfaced, despite several ads using plan.
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Old 06-29-2005   #10
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I'm sure Google's just trying to nip it in the bud before getting possible complaints down the track.

But by disallowing the word 'target' from the start, it's just a general annoyance. Would like to know if they will allow the exception if I requested one.

Maybe when I edit the campaign or create another one with the word 'target' in it, I will request an exception. Was just in a hurry to get this campaign going.

Common sense at the end of the day should prevail, I'm sure target only has the trademark for shopping related? So they will have no issue with people using the word 'target' in there ad copy.

If they do have a trademark on 'target' and all it's uses, the US Trademark Office must be on crack.
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Old 06-29-2005   #11
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ok took the plunge and requested the exception.
we'll see how it goes, should be granted though.
if not i will be amazed.
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Old 06-29-2005   #12
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I'm hearing more of these lately. It could be that Google is going with more automation and putting the onus on you to respond.

An example I came across recently was the word "explorer" in a client's URL. Obviously Microsoft can't trademark this word for all uses in all industries, so I have to assume the exception will be granted.

I will say though, that many new advertisers are put off by this. Increasingly, PPC like all forms of online marketing becomes a difficult maze to navigate, and involves human relations, not just technology.
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Old 06-29-2005   #13
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public relations isn't Google's strong point, in particulary for the small business owner with very little internet knowledge

Overture/Yahoo in Australia push the public relation angle alot better in AU.

Heck, I talked to the boss and he said Google doesn't really want to give us any reasons why our clients (1700+ SME's) should spend with them instead of Overture/Yahoo.

On the other hand, Yahoo! flew a rep over.

I suppose well Google's kingpin, they can afford to do this.

Personally have never had a problem contacting Google though. But I could possibly see it as an issue for those SME's.

Why us SEM providers come in handy
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Old 06-29-2005   #14
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Target Stores does not own the trademark "Target" for all uses. As a matter of fact, I pulled a few other companies with the legal trademark for the exact term "target" in different classes. This is only a sample, but there are several firms who own that term.

You should challenge this. You should ask for the exact classification and serial number of the Trademark in question. I am sure they will scratch their heads.

If Google is going to disallow Trademarks, they should have a legal expert on staff to analyze each situation. It is unfair to refuse a term just because someone complained. You may have every right to use a trademark term if you are not promoting within the same classification. Google is just protecting themselves, but they are being lazy. The companies below have as much legal right to that term as Target stores. Would they be rejected from using that term?


TARGET LOGISTIC SERVICES, INC.
Serial Number: 78587652
FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION BY AIR, SHIP, TRUCK AND TRAIN, AND WAREHOUSE STORAGE SERVICES; AIRFREIGHT SERVICES

Novartis AG
Serial Number: 78130376
organizing, implementing and conducting clinical research studies and trials in the field of medicine

1. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
Serial Number: 78257199
Computer software for assisting defense and intelligence analysts and decision-makers in understanding, evaluating, and visualizing the scope and complexity of an adversary's command-and-control system and structure

Last edited by krisval : 06-29-2005 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 06-29-2005   #15
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I can see where it could be a logistics issue to analyze every single ad placed, so some sort of automation seems necessary.

My suggestion would be that, rather than disallowing a word or phrase automatically (thus resulting in a time-consuming and expensive appeal), to bring out a semi-automatic system.

An ad with a word that may not be allowed would come back with a warning and a reason. Then there would be a brief explaination of potential reasons you could use it (ie you have a contract with the TM holder that allows it, you are in a totally different industry, etc) and then perhaps you could then choose to appeal the decision, or even sign a waiver.

I'd probably even set it up so that the ad buyer could sign a second contract right there that acknowledges that this might be a problem and that G is absolved of all responsibility, since they are now on notice, or something like that. I'd have to do some research to see exactly what the wording would be.

The second warning, clear and in context of a disputed word, is far more legally effective than the standard yadda yadaa stuff most people ignore, and judges know that.

Just a thought.

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Old 06-29-2005   #16
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You could try replacing 'target' with...

* ROI
* buying
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Old 06-29-2005   #17
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Ian,

Those are great suggestions and there are certainly many options Google could implement that would be fair. I think they should at least make a little effort to determine if there is any sort of violation.

Right now, it appears that Google just does blanket rejections. This frankly give Target and other such trademarks an unfair advantage. Another example is Best Buy. Google does allow phrases like "Best Buy Car" , "Best Buy Mortgage", but who is to say that a user typing in just "Best Buy" is actually looking for the store. They may be looking for "savings and deals sites" .

The USPTO is very clear about the use of Trademarks. Trademark protection is limited to only the classification that has been approved and the accompanying description. They do this for exactly this discussion point. Google, however, is not following the intent and meaning of this and simply trying to avoid any lawsuits. They are also providing companies like Target and Best Buy with a monopoly over advertising. To me, that is not fair trade practices. It may be legal because Google can dissaprove any ad, but it isn't ethical.
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Old 06-29-2005   #18
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Hi all,

I am shockingly behind in my work today, and am just skimming the Forum before my next task in a few minutes. But, while skimming, I think I may have seen a misunderstanding developing here.

Quote:
... Google can dissaprove any ad, but it isn't ethical.
I am pretty sure we are not talking about a disapproval here. Rather, it sounds to me as if nuthin attempted to submit an ad, was alerted to a potential problem with the word 'target', and asked by the system to submit an exception request - which he or she (initially) decided not to do.

From my read, the ad was not even submitted, let alone disapproved.

The key step, if the word was really important to include in the ad, would be to submit the exception request, which would almost surely be approved (depending on the exact set of circumstances of course).

Quote:
ok took the plunge and requested the exception.
we'll see how it goes, should be granted though.
if not i will be amazed.
So, it looks as if we'll all find out before too long.

K, gotta run...

AWR
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Old 06-29-2005   #19
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>>Another example is Best Buy

that's probably the superlative clause - I wasn't allowed to use 'largest' once until I proved the resort in question was the largest in relation to the claim and also incorporated links to that proof on the destination page.
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Old 06-29-2005   #20
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"Reach your target audience today"
Let's see if they use stemming for AW

"Reach your targeted audience today"
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