Protecting Your Ticket Sales from AdWords Trademark Infringement
At Etix, we know first hand how hard our clients work to build and maintain their company brand. One of the initial steps typically taken in the branding process is applying for a trademark. Registering a trademark allows a venue to protect its identity from being used by others in a negative manner, which can affect ticket sales, attendance and overall success. Unfortunately, even with a trademark, an organization can still become a victim of AdWords infringement. The good news is that Google can step in to help. Not only can they advise on how to take action against an AdWords infringement issue, but there are simple measures that can be taken to protect your brand from having this happen in the future.
As part of our mission to guide our clients towards an excellent SEO strategy, we encourage everyone to educate themselves on identifying AdWords Infringement and learn how to protect your brand.
Why do I need to protect my brand?
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for secondary ticketing companies to purchase Google AdWords which target your keywords, and often, outperform them.
Ready-to-buy patrons visiting these secondary websites yield extremely high conversion rates, which, in turn, take away from your brand’s success and ticket sales.
How to Identify AdWords Trademark Infringement:
This predicament is fairly common because Google’s U.S. trademark policy does not forbid bidding on trademark terms; it only applies to trademarks in ad copy.
For example, a representative from Greenville Theatre can stand outside the Oak City Concert Hall with a sign that says: “Come to Greenville Theatre Instead.” The Oak City Concert Hall folks may not be happy about the representative outside their venue, but it’s not unlawful for the representative to be holding the sign.
So now lets look at an example of what does qualify as unlawful misrepresentation:
The secondary ticketing company, CheapTicketsNow.com has decided to purchase the name “Oak City Concert Hall” from Google to use in an AdWord campaign. As a result, every time a patron searches for “Oak City Concert Hall”, a link to CheapTicketsNow.com is on the first page of search results titled as Oak City Concert Hall Cheap Tickets Now. Anyone looking to purchase tickets from the Oak City Concert Hall is likely to mistake CheapTicketsNow.com‘s AdWords campaign as a link to the venue’s official website, thus, taking away from Oak City Concert Hall’s ticket sales. This is where Google can step in and rectify the situation.
How to protect your trademarked brand:
If you think someone is infringing on your trademark in their AdWords campaigns, Google will perform an investigation if you file a Google Trademark Complaint form. It’s a simple and effective way to be proactive and protect your brand. We highly recommend that any of our clients who own a trademark fill out this form.
The investigation, once approved, typically takes 6-8 weeks to be resolved. It’s important to note that within the U.S., Google does not investigate trademark use in keywords; they only investigate use in ad text. Also, Google doesn’t monitor the use of a trademark within the display URL of any website.
The next step is to claim your trademark with Google. You can also authorize a third party to use your trademark terms. All you have to do is fill out the AdWords Authorization Request form. With this form, Google can prohibit or allow the use of a particular term or group of terms by an advertiser.
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