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Adwords War: Interflora vs. M&S

I wasn’t sure why such a fuss was being made over this but after reading several articles around it, I found out why.

So you search for Interflora on Google: Interflora appear in top Adwords position and then you see M&S in second:

Also Asda are now appearing in 3rd. They are all clearly bidding on the brand term ‘Interflora’ as they can’t exactly be broad matching on something to appear against the search term ‘Interflora’ alone. If in doubt, we can further check the URL string which often reveals brand bidding:

And in both cases, we find brand bidding is occurring as Asda has named an ad group ‘interflora’ and M&S are clearly ‘exact’ matching something from the ad group name.

The point is that in the past the case would have been made against Google to argue why they are allowing this to go on – cf. the Louis Vuitton case against Google which Google lost and Google then subsequently updated their trademark policy to allow resellers to use brand names.

In this case, it is a competitor that is piggybacking on traffic to Interflora. This is an important case, as this could create precedent for trademark owners to stop competitors appearing against them and raising brand CPC bids and decreasing brand CTR.

This happens so much in the search environment – search for any brand and one of their competitors will be appearing in the space too, sometimes with an undercutting offer. E.g.

This can be seen across all the brand airlines, including ‘british airways’, ‘ryanair’ and ‘easyjet’.

Will be monitoring this closely for the outcome.
If Interflora succeed, it will come down to if trademark owners want to spend on court costs to remove the brand competitors – in some cases, it’s probably not a big deal. E.g. you have a strong brand and someone with a worse offer is trying to get some traffic; it’s probable the user will click on the brand link rather than the competitor if it was a brand search.



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