Trademark Bidding & You

October 10th, 2014

We’ve had a few questions about trademark bidding in Search PPC campaigns lately. It’s a pretty important compliance issue so here’s an overview of what’s allowed.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word or symbol registered to represent a company or product. Nike, Red Bull, McDonald’s and Target are all examples of trademarked company names. While it’s pretty easy to determine what constitutes a trademark for us living here in the US,  our international Publishers can run into issues because they’ve never heard of some of the brands our clients represent.

Not sure if something’s a trademark? There are a couple ways to check.

1. Sites like have a searchable data base of all registered trademarks. Just search the term you’re not sure of and it will pull up any available information.

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2. A little rudimentary, but if you’re not sure if something is a trademark – just Google it. Searching a company name like Folgers will bring up an official website and some information about their products.

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Conversely, searching a generic term like “coffee” will just bring up results for related content.

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3. If you’re ever really stumped, let us know! Your Affiliate Manager would be happy to go over your specific situation and let you know what’s allowed.

“NO Trademark Bidding”

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Advertisers frequently disallow trademark bidding to avoid competition on their own internal advertising. In that case, Publishers are not allowed to bid on keywords for the trademarked product name or any other trademarked terms.

For example: If an offer for a Walmart gift card specifies that it doesn’t allow trademark bidding, that means you also cannot bid on Target, Walgreens or K-Mart.

Need help coming up with some alternative keywords? Third party tools like are a great place to start.

Trademarks in Adcopy

While you can’t bid on trademarked keywords if the offer disallows it, you can still include them in your ad as long as you’re not misrepresenting the product. Remember, offers often require participation so it’s too misleading to promote them as free or at no cost. If you have any questions about an offer’s requirements, please let us know!


Lauren Hostert

I'm an Affiliate Manager at

5 thoughts on “Trademark Bidding & You

  1. Naser

    Guess this article is for me. I had been troubling you lately for all trademark related questions and you have been helping me without a frown 🙂

  2. Samuel Patterson

    and now I know the rest of the story…

    I didn’t know I could use the trademark(s) in my
    ad copy, thought it was only the keywords.

  3. Joni Bgod

    So why do you enable search traffic? You know that in affiliation we have to use that kws to have ROI. If not, it doens’t interest us.


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