Tuesday, September 20, 2005

AdWords and Trademarks

Today Google informed me that I’m not allowed to use the word “Mac” in ad copy.

17 Comments

I just got the same thing this morning. What a crock. I don't want a zillion PC users clicking on my ad only to find out my software only runs on a Mac. For now I've stopped all my ads from running.

Plus, if I see a software ad that doesn't say "Mac," I'm likely to assume that it's for Windows and not click it.

Just so I understand this...

This is a case of Apple telling Google not to allow ads with Mac in them because Apple own the trademark to Mac?

If so, wow that's stupid.

I wonder what these folks think about "MAC" not being allowed:

http://www.maccosmetics.com/home.tmpl?ngextredir=1

Could be interesting if MSFT did the same thing for "Windows":

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=hcs25q.4.29

Just out of curiosity, do they allow "Macintosh"?

But you can still say "OS X"? (Going by the Spamsieve ad that's still running, as of this writing.)

Customers find me with "Mac GPS". I will leave AdWords if this policy is not changed.

The same thing happened to me when trying to advertise my website http://www.usedmac.ca. I can't start a new campaign with the word "Mac" in it. Although I can continue to run one that I have already created with Mac in it no problems.

Nat: So far they haven't complained about "OS X." BTW, I asked Google for more information, but all they would say is:

"If you believe you should be able to use 'Mac' in your ad, we ask that you please resolve that matter with the trademark owner. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation."

They have a form where trademark owners can allow certain advertisers to use their words.

We got the same treatment from Google earlier this year. It seemed automated until actual carbon units explained that the trademark owner filed the complaint. At that point, we had to refocus: Google was the messenger and the message came from Apple.

See http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/guidelinesfor3rdparties.html for Apple's trademark usage guidelines. We thought we nailed these.

We tried to communicate with Apple. They didn't respond. We needed an explanation of the complaint and how we could work with Apple to use the trademark term with their permission. It would also have been nice to get some indication that we were not singled out, as there are scores if not hundreds of advertisers who are using the trademark term 'Mac' with no clear indication that their ads are any more or less adherent to Apple's published guidelines. Alas, getting nothing at all from Apple was not my most cherished moment in our relationship. Similar small developers with similar products continue to use the term 'Mac' at will. We're dealing.

At first, we tried our ads without the term 'for Mac OS X'. As we knew it would be, this very short period was a disaster, costing us a few ad dollars for the privilege of replying to more than the usual number of customer service emails from confused Windows users. We ended up pulling the term 'Mac' but left in 'OS X'. "CheckBook for OS X" doesn't have the same ring, but we're doing well with it. The number of non-Mac clicks did rise, but they didn't skyrocket like they did without any OS qualifier at all.

Our sympathies to anyone who finds themselves in this position. Good luck - and please share any positives that come from your particular situation.

Keith Gugliotto
Splasm Software

I used to work for Nisus Software, another Mac company. I just wanted to let you know that I mentioned this blog entry in my post on the subject here

Same problem with AdWords here in Germany.
Changing "Mac" to "Mäc" (same pronunciation in German) does not help. That wording was not accepted because it is not orthographically correct. In my U.S. campaign, "Mack" was not accepted.
I'll try it with "OS X" now.

Robert, tin:b Software

This is probably an overzealous lawyer somewhere working for Apple. I'm sure this will get straightened out. Anyone think to email Steve Jobs directly. I've heard that he does answer his mail. This is the sort of thing that probably would get his attention.

I can't imagine Apple wants their developers to have an ever harder time advertising their software and peripherals.

Many small developers have been affected and we can no longer advertise our Mac time tracking application, OfficeTime.
Please write to Apple's licensing department. With enough noise, hopefully this silly business will be resolved.

Apple has changed its mind, so Google is now allowing "Mac" again.

Today, I got another e-mail from Google saying that they won't let me use "Mac."

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