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Google Forges on as Yahoo Throws in the Towel

28 May 2009 by Stephen McNamara

In the past week it has been suggested that search goliath Google is ready to anger some of the business world all over again by ramping up the ante on its controversial Adwords rules.

In May last year there was uproar when Google announced that it was changing its rules to allow paid search ad bidders to bid on rival trademarks. The development was highly controversial because it effectively allowed companies to highjack the traffic heading for their rivals, thus undermining the rivals’ hard earned market profile.

One of the few crumbs of comfort the 2008 changes offered was that bidders would not be allowed to use rival trademark words in their Google search ads. So at least a searcher would not be confused by seeing the company name they wanted in what turned out to be a rival’s ad and link.

But that crumb has now disintegrated. Now barely a year later and Google has decided to flex its might again by allowing the use of trademarked words in ads. This means firms now face the prospect of Google searchers inputting their name and getting a top result containing said name prominently BUT the link will be to a bitter rival!

How many searchers will just click the link oblivious to the intricacies of the situation?

The developments represent a fresh round of worry for businesses and potentially more Google advertising expenses. So how can the search titan justify it?

Well, Google says that it all goes to giving the user a better experience and the accuracy of search returns will actually be even better. Part of this argument has merit. The new rules will allow retailers to use the trademark names of the brands they sell, so better representing their products to searchers.

However, many would argue the real reason lies within the recent concession by Ari Balogh, Yahoo’s chief technology officer, that Google has clearly won the search engine game.

The defeatist revelation comes as Balogh says that Yahoo is looking into social networking as a new expansion frontier. It also shows that Google’s market dominance is such that it has the luxury of dictating terms to business clients.

Whichever way you see it, the result can be said to be another positive step for Google!