Potential Libel Issues With Google Adwords

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 by Mistlee


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Potential Libel Issues With Google Adwords

By Brian Turner

It's easy to libel third-parties - and competitors - with Google Adwords.

The ads go through without review, and Google appears oblivious to its obligations under legislation regarding defamation in the UK.

I know this for a fact because some unhappy bunny attempted the same on my company name over the past 2 months.

The only way to automatically prevent this is to ensure your company trademark cannot be bid upon.

However, as Google have announced that they will no longer block ads which violate Trademarks from use in Google Adwords, it means the potential for libel abuse is about to increase.

Potential libel issues with Adwords

What am I talking about?

Part of my own diversification program involves developing web publishing assets, and this includes a UK-based forum for discussing property.

Unfortunately, people who had bought houses from a certain regional builder started posting complaints about the quality of the building work, and the level of customer service.

I'm already watchful over defamation issues in my forums, but as the same complaints had already been published as fact in the regional press, without apparent action, it appeared safe to allow these comments to stand.

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The director of the building company contacted me with concerns, I offered to help work with his PR company to address customer complaints, and all seemed fine.

Then doing some last minute admin about an hour before catching a plane to speak at SES London, I noticed an Adwords campaign triggered by a search of my company name - claiming my company destroyed business reputations.

The ad was obviously potential libel.

The ad didn't have a working link, but referred to the property site, which strongly suggested the building company were behind this.

The ad also appeared geo-targeted only to Scotland, which meant that I wasn't going to be giving speeches on search matters with my reputation in tatters.

Continue reading this article.


About the Author:
I'm a SEO & business consultant in the UK, specialising in SME's and start-ups. I run Platinax Internet as a free resource for small business trying to get the best out of being online and offer internet management services from my main company, Britecorp. In my spare time I'm an aspiring science fiction and fantasy writer, and currently live with my family in the Highlands of Scotland. Contact Brian
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