Advertisers Brand Bidding on Social Media Sites’ Logins

In a recent BrandVerity investigation, we identified a new form of advertising arbitrage. That arbitrage relied on a special form of low-cost clicks: ads targeting branded keywords related to logins, sign ins, and other account activity. For example, an advertiser would bid on something like “Bank of America Login” and then load their landing page with ads based on a much more expensive keyword, such as “low mortgage rate.”

May 2, 2013

New Brand Bidding Tactic: Search Arbitrage with Parked Domains

One of the advantages of running paid search monitoring on a large scale is that you occasionally uncover valuable data by accident. Kick up enough dust, and sometimes it settles in an interesting, unexpected way.

Apr 10, 2013

Affiliates Redistributing Coupons through the Yahoo Toolbar

For companies looking to engineer some extra (perhaps non-organic) traffic, toolbars are a pretty clever strategy. They take much less investment than full-fledged web browsers, but afford options such as setting the user’s default search engine. Those options can help companies work their way into users’ browsing activity.

Mar 14, 2013

The Oscars Trademark in Paid Search

After observing the Super Bowl trademark be subjected to potential misuse and misrepresentation by advertisers, we decided to look into the paid search surrounding another monumental event: the Oscars.

Feb 27, 2013

The Super Bowl Trademark in Paid Search

Super Bowl XLVII Coin

Credit: Au Kirk

For decades, the big game has been television advertising’s darling. It draws in record or near-record ratings each year. That makes it a stage in high demand—brands are even willing to spend $4 million for 30 seconds on screen.

Feb 19, 2013

What the Australia Ruling Could Mean for Google's Global Trademark Policy


Credit: Robert Scoble

Yesterday, Google concluded a 6-year legal contest with the Australian government’s consumer protection agency, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The Australian High Court ruled in favor of Google, who had argued that it was not responsible for the messages in the ads placed by advertisers on its results pages.

Feb 7, 2013

Innovation in Search Ad Fraud: Coupon Hijackers

In the course of BrandVerity’s regular monitoring of our clients’ accounts over the past few weeks, we’ve become aware of a new way that Black Hats have been defrauding both retail companies and customers by posing as legitimate coupon sites. The scam works similarly to more straightforward affiliate hijacking, but with a new twist: instead of just stealing traffic, these scammers enter customers into “subscription” services that charge them monthly.

Jennie Scholick
Jun 26, 2012

ISPs and Paxfire Hijack Searches on Popular Brands [Updated]

On Thursday, August 4, New Scientist and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, together with researchers at the International Computer Science Institute at UC Berkeley, broke the news that ISPs representing ~2% of US users were using a company called Paxfire to actively redirect searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. This announcement comes on the heels of two recent academic papers that noted a series of DNS-based redirections of web search requests at the same group of ISPs, including RCN, Frontier, and Hughes, but were unable to identify the culprit.

Jennie Scholick
Aug 9, 2011

Implications of the ECJ Interflora AdWords Opinion

The European Court of Justice's (ECJ) provided an opinion last week that Marks & Spencer(M&S) violated Interflora's trademark rights by purchasing (but not using) search keywords that contained Interflora's marks.

David Naffziger
Mar 28, 2011

adCenter Introducing Quality Score

If there was any lingering doubt over Microsoft's ambitions, their latest adCenter announcement makes it clear they're aiming right at AdWords. Note that, at least for now, adCenter's Quality Score doesn't actually effect where ads appear in search results (unlike AdWords scoring, which dictates placement and CPC), it will simply give advertisers a better idea of how competitive their ads and landing pages are for certain keywords.

Ryan Parks
Mar 13, 2011
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