Court: Not infringement to use competitor’s trademark in Google AdWords

Harvard Journal of Law and TechnologyUsing a Competitor’s Trademark as a Keyword for AdWords is Not Trademark Infringement:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the use of a competitor’s trademark as a keyword that activates sponsored links in Google’s search engine is not trademark infringement. 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v., Inc., No. 11-4114, -4204, -4022 (10th Cir. July 16, 2013). The court affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment to defendant with respect to 1-800 Contacts’ claim that was directly liable for misdirecting customers to click on links to after searching for the phrase “1-800 Contacts.” Id. at 4.

That’s what a court found, which isn’t to say that Google has to have the same rules. After this 2013 court ruling, Google changed their policy. Now they allow trademarked terms for keywords. They still block at least some trademarked terms from being used in the text of the ads depending on the usage, and trademark holders can file a complaint.

Why I Ignore Emails from People Who Promise to Improve My Google Position

Any time someone offers to improve my Google position I ignore them. It’s a waste of time talking to them. The email you received was canned. The SEO they offer is canned, likely hasn’t worked in five years, and may get you banned from Google’s index. Their money back guarantees are worthless (most of them are overseas – good luck pursuing remedies in court).

Google’s Matt Cutts gives the world’s best example of why you should ignore them. Funny SEO Emails Part 6:

Folks at Google get cold-call emails out of the blue just like everybody else. Here’s an email that a colleague of mine got recently:

I was on your website and wanted to shoot you a quick note. I think I can make a few changes (aesthetically and/or SEO – wise) to make your site convert more visitors into leads and to get it placed higher in the organic search results, for a few of the select terms.

So this person is offering help to convert Google visitors into leads. Or, you know, to improve Google’s rankings in organic search results. Sigh.

Here’s my rule of thumb: if someone sends you an email with an SEO offer out of the blue, be skeptical. For example, check out some other fun SEO emails that I’ve gotten in the past.

News for the Gullible – Google Nose

Anyone got a calendar?

The new scentsation in search

  • Coming to your senses: go beyond type, talk, and touch for a new notation of sensation.
  • Your internet sommelier: expertly curated Knowledge Panels pair images, descriptions, and aromas.
  • Take a whiff: the Google Aromabase – 15M+ scentibytes.
  • Don’t ask, don’t smell: For when you’re wary of your query – SafeSearch included.


Google to Start Charging (Merchants) for Google Shopping

Search Engine LandGoogle Product Search To Become Google Shopping, Use Pay-To-Play Model

I’m not thrilled, but I’m not surprised or outraged, either. Google’s in the business to make money and their comparison shopping service is a good one.

Over the years other comparison shopping sites have become less useful to me as a merchant. Mostly for the same reason that made pay per click advertising on search engines other than Google less useful. The comparison shopping sites launched affiliate programs. Pretty soon I started getting worthless, spammy clicks from affiliate sites. My ad spends went up, but my sales didn’t. I’ve gradually dropped all comparison shopping sites except Google Products.

Google search has done a good job of keeping out junk clicks, so I’m hoping Google Shopping will as well.

Deer Googal, Plz Steel Moar Copywrites

I like watching music videos and I like reading song lyrics. Right now I have to get my copyright violations from two different places. The videos come from YouTube (owned by Google) and the lyrics from some other place, which I find through Google.

Hey, Google, why not just cut out the middleman? Either include the lyrics with the songs or at least link to them.

Sure, the lyrics copyright holder might complain. If they do, just release the hounds have your attorneys respond with a “my bad” and take them down. You know. Same as you do with the video. Works

Once upon a time Google Reader would create an RSS feed for changes to a page that didn’t have an RSS feed. That feature went away, but I’ve been using lately with good results. It’s what I use to read Thom Hogan’s site.

Even better, you can take the feed that creates and add it to Google Reader.

The Rise and Fall of J.C. Penney’s Google Results

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search:

On Wednesday evening, Google began what it calls a “manual action” against Penney, essentially demotions specifically aimed at the company.

At 7 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, J. C. Penney was still the No. 1 result for “Samsonite carry on luggage.” Two hours later, it was at No. 71.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Penney was No. 1 in searches for “living room furniture.” By 9 p.m., it had sunk to No. 68.

In other words, one moment Penney was the most visible online destination for living room furniture in the country. The next it was essentially buried.

PENNEY reacted to this instant reversal of fortune by, among other things, firing its search engine consulting firm, SearchDex. Executives there did not return e-mail or phone calls.

Like the old joke about lawyers, not all search engine consultants are bad. It’s just that 90 percent of search engine consultants give the rest a bad name.

2 Gmail Questions

Does anyone know what’s up with Gmail not accepting legitimate emails?
This week Facebook and GoDaddy notified me that they tried to send email to my Gmail account, but the emails were rejected.

How do you mark all messages as read?
I have 10 unread messages spread across a year or two of email. I’m ready to declare email bankruptcy and start from zero. Is there a way to mark all messages as read, or to find unread messages so I can mark them read?

More on Bing copying Google’s search results

Following up on last week’s story, here’s a defense of Bing. See Google’s Matt Cutts and this Slashdot thread, where people take both sides.

It looks like what’s happening is this. Via the Bing toolbar and IE Bing observes what links people are clicking on when they search for a term. Google does that, too, to help determine search rankings – which results comes first, second, etc., for a given search term.

The difference is that Google does that for searches on Google only. Bing is doing it for searches on Bing and Google. So they’re seeing results that their own search algorithms didn’t discover.

It’s hard to see that as anything buy copying. As someone on Google said, “Hey, looking at the test next to mine isn’t cheating. It’s not like I could reverse-engineer the other students algorithm by looking at his test!”

Point being that without Google’s search algorithms and spell-checking algorithms Bing would never have had a chance to see that result.

Bing’s defense is that this is just one of a thousand factors they use in determining their results and rankings. If true, that would explain why this is most noticeable in the case of rare searches, where the Google result becomes the main driver.

Evil Bing caught dead-to-rights totally ripping off Google’s search results

allegedly. The evidence does look pretty darned convincing.

Google searches for "buy a gun" near record highs

Via Zero Hedge.

The current uptrend is presumably due to the Tucson, Arizona shooting – either out of concern for violence or concern that new gun control laws might be pushed through Congress after the incident. The #1 city searching for the phrase is Phoenix, Arizona.

I think most people would agree that the reason for the 2008 uptrend was the election of Barack Obama. Obama is an anti-gun politician whose platform included gun control laws, and specifically a new assault weapons ban. For a while it was hard to get your hands on big magazines and guns like the AR-15 that were affected by the previous AWB. If you found them the prices were sky high.

Does anyone have a clue why there was a brief, intense spike in early 2007? There must have been something big in the news, but darned if I can remember what it was.

Google Pushing its WebP Image File Format

Gizmodo – Google Wants to Kill JPEGs With New WebP Format.

To improve on the compression that JPEG provides, we used an image compressor based on the VP8 codec that Google open-sourced in May 2010. We applied the techniques from VP8 video intra frame coding to push the envelope in still image coding. We also adapted a very lightweight container based on RIFF. While this container format contributes a minimal overhead of only 20 bytes per image, it is extensible to allow authors to save meta-data they would like to store.

I want an image file format that does it all:

  • Selective image quality – high-res to low-res.
  • Transparency – preferably with PNG’s multiple layers of transparency.
  • Animation – the primitive GIF format is still a winner here.
  • Rotation – make it possible to use one image and rotate it within the browser/app. No image format does this, though CSS sprites sorta kinda do it when combined with HTML and CSS.

Google URL Search Parameters

Explained here.

Using Google Instant to Discover Keywords for Google AdWords

Google Instant debuted last week. As you type a search phrase Google predicts what you’re typing, based on aggregate data of popular searches. Last night I realized I could use Google Instant to find popular keyword phrases for Google AdWords.

For instance, say your online store sells MP3 players. Type “mp3 players a” to find the most popular search phrases that begin with that string:

Using Google Instant to Discover Keywords for Google AdWords

Unless you work for Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Target those matching phrases aren’t very helpful. If someone is intent on buying an MP3 player at one of those stores then they’re a lost customer for you. In that case, add those words to your negative keyword list to keep your ads from displaying for those searches. (But watch out using Best Buy as a negative keyword. See the important reminder below.)

Repeat the process for “mp3 players b” and so on until you’ve worked your way through the alphabet for that search phrase. Using this process for your top search phrases will uncover new search terms and particularly negative keywords.

I spent about four hours the other night running three dozen of our top keywords and search phrases through this process. The result was a handful of new keywords and hundreds and hundreds of negative keywords. I already had what I considered a pretty darned good set of negative keywords that I’ve developed over the years. I was happy to find so many new ones with such a small amount of work.

Why You Need Negative Keywords and an Important Reminder

First, what they are. Negative keywords keep your ads from showing when a search phrase would normally block your ad. Say I’m bidding on the broad-matched phrase “mp3 players” but I have “amazon” as a negative keyword. If someone searches for “mp3 players at amazon” my ad won’t show, because the search includes the negative keyword.

Second, why you should use negative keywords. Negatives keep your ad from showing for searches that aren’t relevant to what’s in your ad or on your Web site. When your ad shows for irrelevant searches two bad things can happen:

  • The person may click on your ad. That’s bad, because Google AdWords’ cost model is per-click. You’re paying for clicks that won’t lead to a sale.
  • The person may not click on your ad. That’s bad, too. It doesn’t directly cost you any money, but it decreases the click-through rate for that keyword and for your account as a whole. When your click-through rate is low your ad gets shown less often, your ad gets shown in a lower position, and you pay more for each click on your ad.

Third, how to do add a negative keyword it if you don’t know. (But read the reminder below before proceeding.) In Google AdWords Editor, select the campaign or ad group and click the Negatives tab. Click Add Negative to add a single word, or click Make Multiple Changes to add more than one. In the online interface, select a campaign or ad group, click the Keywords tab, then scroll to the bottom and click on Negative Keywords. Click the Add button.

And now that important reminder – When you add multi-word phrases, be sure to use phrase match rather than broad match. For instance, if I add best buy to my negative keywords as broad match, then I’m blocking searches for “best mp3 players” and “buy mp3 players”. Not good.

When you add best buy to your negative keywords make it a phrase match. That way it only blocks searches that contain both words – best and buy. To enter it as phrase match put quotation marks around it, like this:

“best buy”

Google Authenticator for Two-Factor Authentication

Pretty cool. Supposed to be available for Gmail within a few months.