By: Chris Bennett

Utah Bans Keyword Advertising

April 10, 2007


On April 5th, 2007 Dan Eastman a member of the Utah State Senate announced on the Utah Senate Blog that legislation past a new bill he is calling, “The Next Generation in Identity Theft.”

To sum it up it is now illegal to bid on keywords via Adwords or other Keyword Sellers that are either trademarked company names, product names, and it seems even domain names, as well as anything seen as confusing similar brands or products the searcher.

“We passed a bill this session that would protect the value of trademarks held by Utah companies. People who own a trademark or hope to own one will love this new law. People who want to carjack someone else’s trademark will hate it.

Electronic trademarks are protected around the globe, just not in the U.S. or Canada. There seem to be few applicable laws with teeth. Trademark violations on the internet are rampant. In some cases people invest millions on their trademark, only to have their customers’ on-line word searches shanghaied by a pirate who bought off the search engines.”

There are three sites discussing this better than I can with the proper legal rebuttals found here:

Utah Bans Keyword Advertising

A Bad Idea From Utah: A Ban on Comparative Advertising

Utah Ban on Trademarked Keywords Rankles Groups

Utah has quickly become a great place to do business in the last couple of years, the summers here are awesome, and the snow boarding is unparraled, but this latest chivalry by the Utah Senate reminds me I am glad to be a Californian.

It’s pretty Utarded if you ask me (I couldn’t resist Im sorry), this is about as lame as having a blogging code of conduct. or suing someone for linking to them. It is all chipping away at the raw nature of the internet and is definately in favor of large companies.

I guess I will be getting more business for ranking companies for their competitor’s names organically 🙂

**Update: Forbes has written about it, andClick Z did some good research.

There are rumors about some companies dipping in the pockets of some State Reps. Also

In the Forbes Article they say that Utah likened it to “You get right to the front door and somebody whisks you away to a different store.” That is one of the worst analogies I have ever heard, when doing a search in Google you have to choose to click on the ads, they don’t force you. You see neighboring stores next to each other at a mall and then choose which one to go in.

Written by Chris Bennett on April 10, 2007

Chris Bennett is the Founder and CEO of 97th Floor. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him below.

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