Over at the Search Engine Watch forums, a search engine marketer who goes by the nickname “Nuthin” put up a post about a problem he is having with Google AdWords.
Nuthin is working for a new but unnamed web directory. He used the word TARGET in the copy of a purchased ad, part of which read, “Reach your target audience today”. This all makes sense so far right?
He was sort of stunned to receive an email from Google stating, “Due to trademark reasons, we do not allow advertisers to use ‘target’ in their Google AdWords ads. This term may be trademarked either for a certain product or service category and may apply only in certain countries.”
It appears the major US department store chain Target, owner of the domain target.com, has a trademark registered against the word and claims right over commercial use of the word Target, at least in relation to Google AdWords.
Helpful moderators Ian McAnerin and Danny Sullivan both suggested Nuthin appeal the decision, citing the likelihood of automated electronic monitors making a decision that would almost certainly be reversed when viewed with human eyes.
The most creative response came from UK marketer ProjectPHP who immediately tried to phone former members of UK 80’s pop band “The The” to see if they cared about the rampant commercial use of a word that constitutes their basic brand name. Both founders of the band, Matt Johnson and Keith Laws, were unavailable for comment.