Piracy of attention?

Playboy sues search engines

Search engines are still the most important portals into the cyberspace and therefore expensive virtual places. Because they are visited by many people, it is worthwhile to place advertisements on them. However, it is even more attractive when a provider who wants to attract visitors is at the top of the list when certain search terms are entered. Some search engines like gotobieten first places for money. But there are more problems, because in the highly competitive world of attention there is also the protection of brand names. Prominent brand names naturally attract others who want to share in the attention and use it for their own benefit. And there are now two interesting lawsuits that could influence or even disrupt the business of search engines.

For example, if you enter the brand name playboy on excite or netscaspe, the url of the magazine appears at the top of the list, but the advertising banner of a pornographic provider also appears above the list. Last week, playboy filed a lawsuit against both portals for their "unauthorized use" to prevent playboy’s brand name from being used to sell banner advertising to other providers. This is damaging to business and unfair competition and violates the protection of the brand name. According to the plaintiff, this linking of the brand name with advertising for a pornographic site is a case of hijacking "hijacking" of playboy’s reputation. In addition, the lawsuit is about the fact that besides the search results for sites related to playboy or playmate, there are also links to other pornographic sites that allegedly advertise on the two portals.

A lawsuit has also been filed by estee lauder against excite and the fragrance counter, a supplier of cosmetics and perfumes, because when entering the company’s name, an advertising banner of fragrance counter appeared, which had misused the name of estee lauder without being an authorized handler of the products. Although the advertising still appears when the company is entered, the mention of estee lauder seems to have already been omitted.

The playboy lawsuit is more far-reaching, however, because it could have the result that when brand names are entered in search engines, only the sites and the advertising of the rights holders may be indicated. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of search engine advertising revenue comes from linking ads to specific search terms. A ban on this linkage could therefore hit search engines hard.

Playboy argues that banner ads or links from other providers confuse the customer who has entered the brand name and mistakenly give him the impression that these providers have something to do with playboy or its products. Playboy had previously filed lawsuits against other companies that use the word playboy in their domain names or metatags to attract search engines and thus people’s attention. This is a form of piracy. In the current case, according to playboy, it is not a matter of refraining from displaying any other advertising when the brand name is entered. It was quite possible to associate with the brand name a "neutral" search term like "baseball" but not advertising that is directly linked to the brand name in an exchange and unfair way.

It has recently become known that the online bookseller amazon likes to pay for reviews and recommendations for books without marking them as advertising. Yahoo, on the other hand, wants to make more money in a new way and is setting up a "express service" a. Those who are willing to pay 199 us dollars are more quickly included in the search engine’s coveted directory, which only includes sites that have been reviewed and ranked by its own employees. Until now the registration was free, but it could take some time if you succeeded at all. While this is to remain the case, the "express service" is, according to yahoo, mainly intended to serve smaller companies that want to use the internet for e-commerce.

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