Trademark violations happen in multiple forms, but the more frequent ones are: bidding on trademarks in paid search campaigns and registering domain names with merchant’s trademarks in them. Both of these methods yield fairly easy money to violating affiliates, and neither of these will ever stop.
Also, just because you may have prohibited trademark use (in one form or another) in your affiliate program’s Terms of Service, doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen in your program. It happens in every program out there, and if you do prohibit trademark bidding (or trademark use in domain names), you want to have good tools to police affiliate compliance with these rules.
Today I’d like to bring you 5 such tools:
1. iTrademarkBidding — This is a free, open source solution for monitoring trademark bidding. They “use proxies in most US states to monitor trademark bidding” on three major search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing. “The information is recorded every hour allowing you to know who was bidding on your keywords.”
2. Brandverity PoachMark — Developed by Andy Skalet and David Naffziger, graduates of University of Colorado at Boulder and MIT respectively, PoachMark has been built exclusively with one aim in mind — to meet the paid search compliance need. This excellent piece of software counters the techniques used by more sophisticated black hat affiliates (such as referrer laundering, geotargeting, dayparting and id obfuscation). BrandVerity also manages and maintains two important databases of rogue affiliates: PoachMark Pool and The Affiliate Watchlist.
3. SearchMonitor — The Search Monitor focuses “real-time competitive intelligence to monitor brand and trademark use, affiliate marketers for compliance, and competition on paid search, mobile search, organic search, local, social media, and shopping engines worldwide in every language.” The Affiliate Monitor can be effectively used to police affiliate marketers for compliance with affiliate program Terms and Conditions, and not only with restrictions pertaining to keyword bidding. This tool also allows you to police direct linking ad copy rules, and keyword rank. With reporting you have choice of viewing it online or receiving email reports.
4. AdGooroo Trademark Insight — In the fashion very similar to that of the above-quoted tools, Trademark Insight provides 24/7 automated brand monitoring by identifying advertisers who are bidding on or using your brand terms in their ad copy. Each license enables merchants to monitor up to 200 variations of a single trademark on 8 search engines in 46 countries. You also have options to view copy and average position of competing ads and identify the ad servers and individual affiliates in infringement.
5. CitizenHawk — In case you are prohibiting affiliate utilization of your registered trademarks in their domain names, there are also tools to police cybersquatting. This particular one is a really good tool. Their unique technology “identifies instances of cybersquatting that infringe on a company’s trademark, sends notices of fraudulent activity to domain owners, interrupts the flow of money being paid to cybersquatters and automates legal action to get fraudulent sites stopped for good.”
The above isn’t a ranking of any sorts (just a list of the more robust tools available out there). If I have missed a tool that belongs here, please do let me know about it by using the “Comments” are below.