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Whaaa? Keyword Ads Illegal In Utah

By - April 09, 2007

Now, I’m on vacation, so I trust y’all to figure this stuff out while I am offline. But…Utah making keyword advertising illegal? And citing me!!? Wow! I’m totally honored…er…wait. That’s not exactly what I meant, but…er. Anyway. More on Eric Goldman’s site.

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One thought on “Whaaa? Keyword Ads Illegal In Utah

  1. JG says:

    Woah, correct me if I am wrong, but Utah is not actually making keyword advertising illegal. They’re making competitive, trademarked keyword advertising illegal.

    They’re not saying you can’t buy the keyword for “car” and have an ad appear as the result of a search. They’re saying that, if you are Honda, you can’t buy the keyword “Toyota” and have a Honda ad appear.

    Big difference.

    And so how is this different, really, from the ruling against Google in France a year or so ago? Wasn’t that essentially the same type of thing? Who would have thought that from Ogden to Orleans, Salt Lake to Strasbourg, Provo to Paris, Saint George to Saint Etienne, these two cultures would be united on such an issue? It’s worth thinking about.

    And whether or not something like this is illegal, or should be illegal, or even should not be illegal, I just have to point out one thing: Back when Google first started showing its ads, and I wrote them an email saying I would be willing to pay a subscription in order for Google to stay ad-free, the general corporate response was “it’s ok, because it’s not really like normal advertising. It’s different, because our ads are relevant.” It was that promise of relevance that made us all swallow the advertising to begin with.

    Now, I cannot speak for anyone else, but when I search for Toyota, I mean Toyota. I do not meant Honda. If I had meant Honda I would have typed “Honda”. If I had meant any make or manufacture I would have typed “car”. If I had meant Toyota or Honda I would have typed “Toyota OR Honda”. If I had meant any Japanese import I would have typed “Japanese import car”.

    My point is that, whether or not France or Utah makes these sorts of trademarked keyword bids illegal, if Google goes ahead anyway and shows me an ad for Honda when I type Toyota, then they’ve already reneged on their original promise of advertisorial relevance. And for that reason alone, the fact that the ad is not relevant, Google should no longer show these types of ads.

    I feel like I’m one of the last people in the world that actually cares about this because everyone else online is too busy making ad-supported web 2.0 money to really care. But, bygummit, I think we lose something when we hear the excuse of “that’s just the way business is done”, and accept it.

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