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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Facebook Trademark Gets Special Treatment

One of our Sitelinks Extension ads on Google recently got disapproved because we used the trademarked term, "Facebook" in the sitelink.

The exact sitelink extension said "Facebook Advertising" and it linked to a page that was dedicated to advertising services for Facebook.

Now, Google's updated trademark policy states that advertisers can bid on trademarked terms if they satisfy the following conditions:

SITE INCLUDES THE TRADEMARK TERM IN TEXT ON THE LANDING PAGE - The trademark term has to be used as text on the landing page in order to pass. If they don't use the term on the page at all, it won't be approved.
If they only use the term in HTML, it won't be approved. If they include the trademark term only in Flash or other formats, it won't be approved.

The landing page in question is very obviously all about Facebook, and contains the term 'Facebook' in the Title, Meta Description tag, H1 tag, on 4 H2 tags and 10 times within the plain text.

SITE PROMINENTLY FEATURES THE TRADEMARK TERM - By "prominently" featuring the trademark term, we mean the trademarked product/service is the primary focus of the page or has equal focus to other products/services. Sites which will pass need to include the trademark on the page in text AND have a substantial focus on the trademarked product/service on the landing page.

Again, this page is all about Facebook. It has the term in the Title, H1 and all H2 tags. The images are from Facebook and the text is all about Facebook.

SITE EITHER: a) HAS AN OPTION TO BUY THE PRODUCTS/SERVICES CORRESPONDING TO THE TRADEMARK TERM or b) PROVIDES SUBSTANTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRADEMARKED PRODUCT/SERVICE - Most ads which adhere to the new policy fall under two categories, review site or reseller.
For review sites, there needs to be 'substantial' information - meaning real and impartial content about the products/services. If your client provides reviews of shoes, their landing page must provide a significant amount of substantive and detailed product information about the trademarked product/service, not just a name and a price, or sentence related to the product/service.
Alternatively, for resellers, there needs to be an option to buy the products/services from the landing page. So, if your client sells trademarked product X, but the landing page for their ad doesn't have a visible option to buy trademarked product X, it will likely not be approved. The more prominence the trademarked term has on the landing page, the more likely it is to be approved.

Users can request a quote or call to find out about the Facebook services described on the page.

Obviously, the page in question satisfies all of Google's requirements to allow trademarkterm inclusion in the ad text.

However, the Google editorial team wrote to us saying "I have reviewed the sitelinks in campaign 'AccuraCast' and can see that it contains the trademark 'Facebook'.  I have reviewed our internal trademarks database and can see that this account is not authorised to use the trademark 'Facebook' in its ad texts."

Does that mean that certain trademarks get special attention and cannot be bid on even if they satisfy the requirements placed for all other regular trademarks?