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February 21st, 2010, 11:53 PM #1
Trademark Bidding & Variations
- Join Date
- May 20th, 2007
When promoting a merchant we try to look closely at the T&C's to make sure we're fully compliant.
There seems to be quite a grey area when it comes to variations of trademarks, some will state that TM bidding is not allowed on brandname, brandname.com etc, however some will also state that it's not allowed on variations of the brand either (i.e. brandname discounts/coupons).
Now, when the merchant doesn't specify *variations* it's pretty easy to see lots of people bidding on these. Whether they are in breach of the T&C's is unknown. In their eyes, they are not, since variations have not been specified in the Terms, however from the AM perspective they might be trademark poaching.
Should merchants be specifying whether or not affiliates allowed to bid on variations, or should affiliates take no bidding on specific brand related terms to include these variations?
If in doubt emailing the AM is always the best route to take here, just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
February 21st, 2010, 11:57 PM #2
thegyppo, you are right. The merchant is supposed to be very clear about trademark bidding in the T&C. And in case the affiliate has any doubts, it is always better to email the AM and clarify your doubts.Veena
[COLOR=Blue]Affiliate Manager[/COLOR] [COLOR=Red]Lensplanet.com[/COLOR]
February 22nd, 2010, 07:59 AM #3Originally Posted by thegyppo
Yes, it is the merchant's responsibility to be clear about what they want or don't want and the merchant's TOS is supposedly the vehicle that they should use to communicate that information. However, when the merchant fails to communicate properly it often becomes the affiliates problem and results in lost commissions or worse.
Today's TLA: CYA!
-rematt"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon
February 22nd, 2010, 09:26 PM #4
February 22nd, 2010, 09:41 PM #5
Any time you venture into any area that isn't universally accepted, it's always best to touch base with the affiliate manager and make sure you're both on the same page. Some of these areas include:
* Using software or toolbars of any kind
* Incentivizing customers
* Promoting coupons that don't come from the affiliate channel
* PPC of the company's trademarks and/or Direct To Merchant PPC
* Promoting them on sites with any questionable content (porn, hate, etc.)
* Providing cash back to customers.
* Redirecting domains to affiliate links.
* Using domain names that have their trademarks in them.
* email marketing of the merchant's offers.
* Using second-tier "PPC" sites (some of which employ spyware) to promote merchants.
* Promoting merchants on sites that are not your own.
Don't assume that a merchant who doesn't prohibit those things will be okay with it. Many just don't know that they need to specifically exclude it in their T&Cs. Affiliate marketing is a partnership, and you need to be a good partner to your merchants. If a merchant specifically says you can do these things, that's fine. But if you do it without asking (or even worse, do it when the T&Cs specifically say you can't), you're just asking for trouble.
February 22nd, 2010, 09:47 PM #6
It is the merchat's responsibility to clear the bidding T&C instead of abusing it. Affiliates are promoting their goods and service.
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