If 2009 was the year of Google’s Great Affiliate Massacre, Q3 2010 is about to go down MicroHoo’s kick at the can.
Microsoft Adcenter sent a nice little reminder email out yesterday suggesting that the transition to Adcenter for Yahoo search ads is progressing quite quickly, and you may want to pay attention to impending changes if you’re an Adcenter advertiser.
Then they slipped in this little nugget:
Updates in editorial guidelines
Microsoft and Yahoo! have created joint editorial guidelines that will begin taking effect for search advertisers in early August. The guidelines can make your ads more effective, while helping to create a safer search marketplace. We encourage you to review these now, so that you understand any potential impact to your ads or keywords.
Yahoo’s Trademark Policies Have Won Out
You may not bid on as a keyword, or use in the content of your ads:
Any term whose use would infringe the trademark of any third party or otherwise be unlawful or in violation of the rights of any third party.
Use of a third-party trademark may be allowed if its use is truthful and lawful, for example, if:
- Your website provides information—product reviews, for example—about goods or services that are represented by the trademark, and your principal offering is not any product or service that competes with the goods or services represented by the trademark.
So basically, MicroHoo doesn’t have the resources that Google has to handle trademark bidding or with the same level of sophistication, so they’re going to adopt the old-school approach used by Yahoo for years.
Given that the transition for ads has been scheduled for early August, it’s reasonable to expect the automated trademark sweeps and manual review flagging to start in Adcenter accounts soon, with the new guidelines generating mass disapprovals for advertisers that bid on trademarks the most: affiliates.
The Other Side of the Coin
No doubt, Microsoft’s goal here is to make their ad network a comfortable place for large brands to dump their spend, and the “we don’t allow your competitors to bid on your trademark” bullet point in the pitch deck is going to be helpful to this end.
If you’re a paid search manager constantly fighting with PPC engines to prevent your competitors from appearing when users search for you, then this is a big win, and it seems Microsoft has your back.
The Rest of the “Relevance Guidelines”
It turns out Microsoft is also taking a page from Google in some ways as well by creating new terms in their Relevance Guidelines that give them a fair amount of latitude in deciding whether or not they think a particular ad or landing page is “relevant”.
Wiggle room here makes it easier on their reviewers to apply their judgement, however only time will tell how they get applied. But the smart money is having a look at these new guidelines yourself now and seeing what may or may not apply to your account.