Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    March 22nd, 2006
    Posts
    35
    Trademark Infringement
    I recently got an email message in my account manager stating that I was in violation of trademark infringement for an advertiser. I wasn't directly bidding on the name but discovered I had a "phrase" match Keyword containing a common phrase that is also part of the advertisers name. Needless to say I checked and there is no Keyword link option for this advertiser, nor is their any guidance regarding pay for placement in the advertiser detail.

    Anyone else ever experienced anything like this? I am trying to figure out what an affiliate is to do if there is no rules posted or keyword guidance? Is an affiliate supposed to guess? The scarier part is I was not even intentionally bidding on anyones name.

    What is the deal here, did the advertiser contact CJ and CJ sent me the notice? I am dumbfounded!

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    As merchants move heavily into SEM keyword marketing their lawyers are sicked on the PPCSE engines to cease any outsider registered trademark and restricted brand bidding. Yahoo now allows no trademark bidding by any affiliates. Put up some domain page content and try affiliate marketing from a value add basis.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    March 22nd, 2006
    Posts
    35
    ecomcity,

    Thank you for your reply. So you believe it was a case of this advertisers lawyers jumping on CJ and CJ jumping on me? At least they could provide some guidance in thier advertiser detail. Who's responsibility is it to find guidleines for the search affiliates. I always check and double check to see if the advertiser has any PPC guidelines or restrictions. How can CJ close my account if I was not breaking any states rules? That is what baffles me.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,053
    Keep in mind that a business must protect use of their trademark or they can stand to lose the protection the law gives them. If they choose to allow affiliates to use it, then fine. But if they (and CJ must be acting on their behalf) say not to use their trademark, they are legally within their rights and anyone using it after they've been told not to is in violation.

  5. #5
    Newbie
    Join Date
    March 22nd, 2006
    Posts
    35
    I understand. However is an affiliate to assume if no keyword guidelines are posted that it is safe to use PPC marketing or should they assume it isnt?

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,053
    If there are no keyword or bidding guidelines found after thoroughly reading the T&C, I think we could assume it's all OK. Until or unless we're told to stop, then we'd have to stop from that point on.

    They're within their rights, there's no way to fight it.

  7. #7
    Newbie
    Join Date
    March 22nd, 2006
    Posts
    35
    Webworker, Believe me I am not trying to fight it but the email warning from CJ contained some very harsh and scary wording.

    "You are obligated to immediately cease all promotional methods that result in such breach, including but not limited to securing the delisting of any paid placements in search engines and delisting in any natural searches (or natural search caches). Also realize that any confirmed future trademark violations will result in account deactivation and the reversal of all commissions".

    Are they speaking of any issues with this advertiser again? This "incident" only? If another advertiser does not have Keyword links or PPC guidelines but decides to go after affiliates is CJ going to close my account?

    I have reviewd all other advertisers I work with to double check that I am not violating any terms. I am very careful to never disobey any advertisers requests.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,786
    PPC is getting scarier. Are affiliates supposed to automatically know every negative keyword they are supposed to employ? Guess so!

    "and delisting in any natural searches (or natural search caches)."

    even scarier since SE's often keep listing pages we want them to drop, & vice-versa.

  9. #9
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    218
    Are you bidding on a phrase that contains a trademarked word that belongs to an advertiser? Or are you bidding on a generic phrase?

    I've had the occasional merchant complaint that I was bidding on their trademark, and they'd give an example to me, and it would be something like "merchantname generic phrase". I'd then have to explain to the clueless AM that I was bidding on "generic phrase" and not "merchantname generic phrase", and therefore in no way was I violating a trademark. Once they got it explained to them they've always dropped the complaint.

    Keep in mind, negative keywords can be required by a merchant, but they do need to tell you what they require, and you're NOT violating any trademarks by not using negative keywords, just policy.

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Join Date
    March 22nd, 2006
    Posts
    35
    I understand we as affiliates dont havy rights to the trademark name of a company, unless permission is granted to us. I know it is an advertisers discretion if they want to allows affiliates to use PPC and if they do they implement the rules. My issue with this case is that the Advertiser had NO GUIDELINES AT ALL! So how are we as affiliates upposed to know? I would not reak anyones rules as I am sure anyone else here would. The issues becomes do we risk account closure for advertisers failure to post an rules they have? The first place I look when joining a program is the advertiser detail page, as I check for rues and guidelines. If the advertiser had an issue all it would have taken was one email and the ads would be removed immediately.

    I am very worried that this is a new precedent being set. and it could affect a lot of people.

  11. #11
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    403
    It would be nice if all merchants would post their policies and not expect affiliates to be mind readers and know what the policies are but the bottom line is that they don't. Best bet when receiving emails like this is to pull all the ads for the merchant right away and ask questions later.

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    Here's the deal. For years now, what ABWer HappyPoon warned us about, has occured. The networks, and their insiders (Ad agencies -AMs -employees-Super affiliates -BHOs), have data mined the high payout keywords for every advertising category. They have setup a PPCSE monopoly and operate it as a members only Keyword Stock Exchange. Those insider members objected when the typical scumbag affiliates (cookie stuffers,e-mail spammers, SERP spammers, SEO doorway page builders, site scrapers) began a keyword turf war. Every network run fee based SEM team could control their PPCSE Stock Exchange member playas except for the BHO search bar wanks.

    When SEM/PPCSE payouts got into the billions for the merchant advertisers they take notice. They notice PPCSE click fraud and are almost helpless to stop it with the affiliate numbers involved in defrauding them. They do notice Trademark violations when Googling. This their lawyers can control. They then go to the network operated SEM teams, 3rd party SEM companies, PPCSE engines and threaten copyright law suits and PPCSE click fraud. To protect their own Keyword Stock Exchange members cash cow, the insiders jump all over small affiliate sleazebags knowingly performing trademark bidding direct to cookied advertiser. Couponers also cannot exist without Trademark + coupon SEO/SEM campaigns, so they catch legal flack from the real merchants reigning in their rogue AM's passing out traffic spam.

    They name of the affiliate game for major budgeted merchants in 2006 is to push advertising budgets where they can control and monitor the results. That's in the PPCSE/SEM arena. They might get killed with the PPCSE syndication partnerships and 3rd world PPCSE engines. But their inhouse SEM teams sure can whack the trademark crapolla in Google, Yahoo, MSN, Findwhat, Ask keyword searches. Those engines only offer so much natural and paid placement spots on the first page with the new rules.

    Just like the Point of Sale attack dogs are killing off the domain bound legit affiliate chances for sales, so too are the Traffic Source manipulating scumbags wiping out the great affiliate promise. I don't care how nice and pro-active a ABW merchant is. If they favor/enable the POS (point of sale) attack dogs, natural SERP feed freaks, PPCSE direct to merchant trademark playas, they automatically are on my sh*t list. Talking out of both sides of their mouths for years, they know those more focused PSC and GC displays, individual product links, SAS "make page" showcases, and on-page presell can't overcome the hord of cookie washers.

    That's why you'll never hear Akiva (PSC) or Asif (GoldenCan) or Brian (SAS) come forth and post stats showing those customer facing creatives are capable of overcoming the tricks for cookied clicks affiliate forces. Meanwhile I drink the coolaid and throw up more customer facing showcases to better focus shoppers ...before they click... without any real income results for those not kicking the cookie cannons to the curb. I 've never had Google or major SE drops in traffic due to alogo changes. I've never had any PPCSE keyword trademark abuse notices. I have had my domain datamined by merchants -networks and Super affiliates to syphon off earning potential.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  13. #13
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mebourne, Oz
    Posts
    257
    I had one of those notices once... worded like a cease and desist, told me to stop with 12 hours or else!

    Hint for merchants:

    1) Inform affiliates of new policies before policing them
    2) Don't email anything to affiliates without vetting it for fairness and friendliness.
    3) Remember that many affiliates are regular folk running little home businesses, and legal talk could be enough for them to quit promoting you

    Rob.

  14. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Trademark Infringement
    By Snowman in forum Business & Legal Issues
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: May 6th, 2008, 08:44 PM
  2. Trademark Infringement?
    By BradleyB in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: November 15th, 2003, 11:50 AM
  3. Trademark Infringement How Far will they go?
    By gettnthar in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: October 23rd, 2003, 10:05 PM
  4. Trademark infringement :(
    By oneofthesedays in forum Commission Junction - CJ
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: December 1st, 2001, 10:34 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •