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Monday, August 15, 2005

Geico vs. Google AdSense

A U.S. District Court is giving Google and insurance company Geico the chance to settle their differences out of court. Geico is upset about the fact that Google is selling their trademark to advertisers.

The court ruled against Google for the use of selling Geico's trademarks. Geico also sued Yahoo! over this exact same issue a while ago, but the two settled their differences out of court.

Truthfully, I think I have to take sides with Geico on this one. A competitor can set it up to have "Progressive Insurance" ads added in search results of a surfer looking for Geico services (and vice versa) if that is their choice. I've seen it happen many times before in my searches. (Not anymore though. I don't see ANY ads anymore when I search thanks to a Mozilla plug-in that I use. More on that later).

In my opinion, I think that this is like a cheap shot aimed at the customers of competitors to lure them away only because of the fact that they are online searching for services of their direct competitors. Does this breach Geico's rights? That question was answered on August 8, 2005 when a judge ruled that this actually is a breach of the insurance firm’s trade mark rights.

So now Google and Geico have thirty days to work this mess out. And what will come of this. First, there will likely be a revision to Google's AdSense Policies. This case could likely encourage others to take the exact same action unless those changes to AdSense's policies are significant.

Sorry Google, good idea...but bAdWords. :)


In related news, Yahoo is taking Google AdSense on directly with their new beta version of Yahoo Publisher Network. This new service allows you to:


  • Generate additional revenue from your site. Display ads related to the content on your site. You'll earn revenue from qualified clicks.
  • Take advantage of Yahoo! Publisher tools, services and programs. Integrate other Yahoo! services into your web site, including Add to My Yahoo! (RSS), Y!Q and much more to come...
  • Help shape what Yahoo! offers the publishing community. This beta program is just the beginning. Our mission is to deliver products and services based on the needs of the publishing community.

Hmmmm.....this could get interesting here. How will Google feel and re-act to this? Will they not allow their users to publish AdSense ads on pages that contain Yahoo Publishing Network ads? Google already has a clause in their AdSense policies that states "....you may not specify Google ads as your alternate ads." As well as this.... "We do not permit Google ads or search boxes accessing Google search services to be published on web pages that also contain what could be considered competing ads or services." And they state more on services that "mimic" AdSense ads. I'm sure we haven't heard the end of this one yet.....

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