March 22, 2012

Mission Possible: Monitoring Trademark Bidding and Terms Compliance

Two of the biggest concerns we hear from merchants is that trademark or brand bidding will cheapen their brand and cannibalize their own efforts to attract quality traffic.

Brand bidding occurs when an affiliate targets a brand’s trademark name or associated keywords in a paid search campaign.

Trademark bidding remains a challenge for two main reasons:
– the ease with which affiliates can leverage trademark terms in paid search campaigns
– a lack of enforcement for most merchants policies regarding trademark terms

Devising a trademark policy is part of the challenge, but the biggest challenge is enforcement, which takes time, specialized skills and technical tools.

Schaaf-PartnerCentric takes a pro-active approach to trademark protection that goes beyond ensuring our clients have a clear trademark policy.

Our operations team, which is compromised of compliance specialists, is dedicated to enforcing client trademark policies. The team uses tools such as BrandVerity.

“BrandVerity allows us to monitor our clients’ trademarks in affiliates’ paid search campaigns, ensuring the clients’ in-house paid search efforts are not hindered by the affiliate program,” said Daniel Bryant, a Marketing Analyst at Schaaf-PartnerCentric.

Technology helps but it takes a dedicated team to ensure any trademark violations are dealt with quickly. “It’s important to be very aware of what’s going on and being able to react quickly when a situation arises,” Bryant said.

Schaaf-PartnerCentric monitors fraud every day for the programs we manage. Through regular monitoring and use of trademark monitoring tools, we’re able to roll back the negative effects of fraud and shut down those affiliates who violate trademark policies.

Perhaps the best evidence of our success with brand and trademark protection comes from something we heard recently from a search arbitrage affiliate who said he’s received more cease-and-desist requests from us than from the rest of the affiliate management world combined.

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