Protecting the Brand - Cleaning up Search Results
The problem with paid results in both Google and Yahoo were the mass amounts of competitors bidding on our trademarked keywords and/or using the keywords in the title and content. We filled out the proper paperworkd and after several months of waiting, we finally received word from Google and Yahoo that they would protect our trademarks, but it would be incumbent upon us to report violators. This is still going on today. Take the SmartBargains War of 2006 for example. They were bidding on our trademark and using "Linen Source Discount" as the title of their ad. The attorneys did their squabling but it was Google that stepped in to slap Smart Bargains for us. Later that day, they changed their title to read "Your Source for Linens", which was genious by the way.
Look at our paid search results now. Linen source
You should see Linensource and our two affiliate sites - bed-linen-deals and highthreadsheets in the premium listings, followed by Smart Bargains and Discountbedlinens. If you see anyone else, I have some work to do. No one else has permission to use "Linen Source" in their title or content and I typically report someone about once a month.
Same trademark rules apply to Thompson Cigar. Right now there is a competitor bidding on the trademark and is listed in the premium spot, but they aren't using "Thompson Cigar", so there isn't anything I can do except try to boost my affiliate listing into that position. Both Thompsonhumidors and cigarsbynet are my affiliates, since Google won't allow Thompsoncigar.com to have any ads.
As for organic listings, I had to clean up old affiliates with broken links and error pages for all the companies and competitors with our keywords stuffed in their metatags. If someone looks at my organic listings, I want the top ten to be filled with links to my pages or my partners pages (preferably affiliates since I pay them less than shopping engines).
I don't want pages like this to show up - Eco Shopping. That Linen Source link is broken and I don't know why it was there in the first place. I'll have to see if they can sign up as an affiliate or send them a cease and desist letter to remove the text link.
Check out the Thompson Cigar organic links - perfect. Five of the organic links are directly to our pages and sites, the other five are trusted partners. That one has taken some time to fix.
It's not an easy process, but if you track sales from paid or natural listings, it's worth the time.