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According to an e-mail from Yahoo! to its advertisers, "In order to more easily deliver quality user experiences when users search on terms that are trademarks, Yahoo! Search Marketing has determined that we will no longer allow bidding on keywords containing competitor trademarks."
Considering the troubles Google has gone through with a similar trademark infringement case with Geico, this move wasn't a surprise.
The question is how much teeth will this policy have?
Where it gets sticky is the term "competitor." This is pretty cut-and-dry if we're talking Coke vs. Pepsi, but less so if it's a job board vs. an employer brand. I might even guess some employers approve of this practice, but certainly others do not, or would not. Most have no clue what's going on.
At the end of the day, it's up to employers to decide if they approve of this practice or not. Even if you're a client of a job board that's utilizing your brand in their keyword buys, ask yourself these questions:
1. How do I feel about my brand driving traffic to a site that also has listings by my competitors?
2. How do I feel about my trademark being used to build a job board's brand and traffic?
3. How do I feel about job boards running up the bid price on my trademark? (For example, Target is the third highest bidder for its own trademark at "Target jobs"):
Think Target's OK with this? Maybe. Maybe not.
Curious about your own trademark? Click here to find out if someone's bidding on your trademark on Yahoo! (and how much they're paying).
If your trademark's being hijacked, and you don't approve, contact Yahoo! Search Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org.