How do you Report Keywords in Meta Tags to Google?

Apr 17, 2007 • 11:31 am | comments (2) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine

A WebmasterWorld thread asks if there is a way to complain to Google about trademark infringements within meta tags. The member writes:

Two of my competitors are using my trademark in their metatags - who exactly can I contact to complain about this? This is not adwords but natural google search.

Many members are skeptical that contacting Google will yield results. One says that it could be reported as a DMCA violation:

Well, Google might do something (see its DMCA procedures page), but it can't make any web property do anything. This is best dealt with between you and what you consider to be the offending sites.

However, another member disagrees with him:

If your site in in the U.S., I doubt it very much.

I'd use Google's Adwords policy as a guide: in the U.S., Google permits Adwords advertisers to use trademarked terms as keywords, but not in the ad itself (unless the use in the ad in non-infringing).

In Europe (not sure about other areas) Google does not permit the use of infringing trademarks as keywords.

As to what the law actually is, my understanding is that it's still an unsettled area. Google is doing what they feel they can defend in a given country.

It seems to me that the use of trademarks in metatags MIGHT be considered as equivalent to their use as keywords.

Ultimately, a member brings up the point that this isn't a DMCA issue, because trademark violations are not equivalent to copyright violations.

The post also references an old yet valuable thread by Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Watch related to lawsuits that have been made about trademarks within meta tags. In the article, Danny writes that using trademarks may not be wrong but people have sued others for such perceived violations. The article lists several lawsuits that have resulted due to using trademarked terms in meta tags.

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

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