Off the fence

Is Google's axing of bid rights to brand names an error?

YES - Jamie Walters, head of digital, Metro

By allowing competing brands to bid on each others' trademarked names, Google stands to increase revenues, while also reducing its costs in policing trademark infringements. Brands are now exposed to rivals buying their trademarks and taking traffic away that they feel is rightfully theirs. But the real loser is the consumer. How can they benefit from searching for Metro and have thelondonpaper returned as the top result?

YES - Mark Kuhillow, managing director, R.O.EYE

I'm shocked at Google's decision. In the past, firms couldn't prevent rivals from taking their branded traffic and lost large amounts to rivals. This was brought to an end with the introduction of trademarks by Google. But Google's decision reverses that process. Brands won't be able to prevent competitors from bidding on their names - losing what is considered the most effective element of a paid search campaign.

YES - Declan Reddington, managing director, AdConnection

There has to be some protection of intellectual property rights for companies that have built up their brand name over a number of years. Now Google has given weaker competitors the opportunity to parasitically feed off this investment and benefit Google in the process. It is the equivalent of Argos fixing posters of its ads all over Woolworths' shop windows in the same high street.

NO - Richard Gregory, chief operations officer, Latitude Group

The move is sound from Google's perspective and its share-holders, who have had a bumpy ride following the unveiling of comScore traffic figures showing a slowdown in Google's paid-search traffic. However, Google has always impressed analysts with its ability to pull different levers to increase its revenue and traffic, such as its quality score, and its change in trademark policy is yet another.

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