I know that Kevin has touched on the marketing implications of the change in Google’s trademark protection laws but I just wanted to flag up some interesting figures I came across today.
From May 5th, Google is to allow all companies and marketers to bid in order to place their paid search advertising alongside search results for any term. Specifically, firm X can now place its adverts alongside the organic results for its main competitor Y.
Importantly, research and analysis firm Hitwise has published a report which shows that currently in the UK, 91.8 per cent of people who search for a particular brand end up on the website of the appropriate company.
However, in the US – where Google has never exercised such trademark control – that figure is just 84.2 per cent. That is a potentially massive drop in traffic for brands and, even worse than failing to gain visitors in the first place, means businesses regularly shed clients to their competitors.
The report from Hitwise concluded that brand owners are going to market themselves more aggressively in response to the move.
Interestingly enough, though, Tesco has now waded into the fray. Word on the web is that the supermarket giant has stated it will not bid on competitors’ trademarks and hopes that others will follow suit in order to keep the price down.
Google is staffed with clever people, it must have questioned whether British industry could behave in such a friendly way in order to mutually benefit. Furthermore, it must have concluded that businesses could not, or that only a few sectors would do so. It will be extremely interesting to see how this develops – particularly within the search marketing sector!