Google’s trademark policy: the possible effects

What is the impact of the change in Google adwords trademark policy? Hitwise looks at some statistics that suggest many leading retailers are being hit hard by the change in policy.

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Hitwise has been looking at the possible consequences of the changes to Google’s trademark polices, due to come into effect on May 5th.

The web measurement firm calculated that the top 100 Google Internet properties sent 36.55% of all online traffic to UK websites in March, an increase on 30.19% in the same month in 2007.

The majority of this traffic comes from either Google UK or, a combined figure of 31.91%, with other traffic coming from YouTube, Gmail and Google Images.

With so much online traffic going through Google, the effects of the trademark changes could be significant, with many retailers likely to lose traffic and income, especially sites which receive a high amount of visits via their own brand terms.

Hitwise has taken a look at the 100 most searched for brands in both the US and UK over a 12 week period. It found that 91.8% of searches for brand terms finished on the brand owner’s website in the UK, while the same figure for the US was lower, at 84.2%.

If this gap of 7.6% between the two figures is due to the effect of competitors bidding on brand keywords, as has been the case in the US for the past few years, then this gives an idea of the potential consequences for brands in this country.

The example of Expedia seems to back up this theory. In the UK, 95.7% of web users searching for the term ‘expedia’ ended up on one of the travel firm’s websites. For the US, the same figure was 88.6%.

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