“Leech marketing” is here now Google has lifted trademark restrictions for Adwords in Australia.
Last month Google made changes to its trademark policy for advertising via Adwords. Previously, Google allowed trademark owners to block advertisers from bidding on their trademarks in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand, South Korea, and Taiwan. Now, it will no longer protect trademarks and allow anyone to bid on these terms.
Now all Google have to do is sit back, let the battles begin and watch the money start rolling in, and they do not need to get involved.
So as a consumer when you are using Google to search you will start to see competing brands appear in brand searches that you make as competitors attempt to leech another’s brand recognition. For an advertiser you will see your brand terms costs start to rise as you adopt strategies of defensive registration to protect your brand from the leeches.
So in Australia we have entered the world of leech marketing, and it has already started. Over the weekend when searching on Google I started to see the impact on some brands. Closer to home for me I see that HSBC have now started to bid on the Citibank brand.
Conceptually Nike can now start to bid on Adidas, Coke can now start to bid on Pepsi, but in reality I believe that for many brands this will not happen as good marketers understand that brand perception is more important than brand leeching. So the benefits that could be obtained from a few extra clicks may not be worth it for the brand and as a result they will avoid this strategy. What do you think?