WARNING: Google has a bug allowing possibly TM infringing ads to appear on your domain landing pages

Google

This is a warning to be taken very seriously by all domainers that park their domain name with PPC ads.

Google currently has a bug allowing possibly trademark infringing ads to appear on your domain name landing pages.

I got confirmation from 2 different parking companies (Uniregistry and ParkingCrew) and I have seen the landers on both these companies behaving strangely to say the least.

They have said that there is currently a bug with their upstream provider that is causing additional keywords to be added to the lander.

The upstream provider is of course Google, the number one PPC ads provider, and the additional keywords are causing ads that MIGHT be infringing on trademarks similar to your domain names.

The estimated time to resolve this bug from Google is end of business day on Monday. I would not hold my breath on this and I actually will not risk even an hour with these unwanted links flooding my domain names. I have spent countless hours trying not to infringe on trademarks and I will not let Google or any other company ruin this. I haven’t received a UDRP complaint for years now.

So I started yesterday removing all my names from PPC and specifically from Uniregistry. I removed about 5,600 domains yesterday and I will continue today. They now have a contact form only. I will consider switching to ParkingCrew after all this mess is fixed. Yeah, I am not going back to Uniregistry.

Of course it is not the parking companies’s best interest to notify you of this problem so I don’t expect an email to all their customers. Please share this if you can as it can affect anyone using PPC.

It all started…

It all started with Elliot Silver noticing what he thought at first was intentional behavior on Uniregistry PPC landers. He noticed many more pay per click (PPC) links on parked Uniregistry pages than there were in the past.

Jeff Gabriel from Uniregistry said that this was actually because of a technical error by their upstream provider (see Google): “We are experiencing some technical difficulties and we are working with our upstream ad provider to overcome them.We will be implementing a temporary solution shortly while the problem is fixed. “

Once I confirmed there were bad links in my domains I started looking for an alternative solution. I checked my account at ParkingCrew and soon I discovered the same behavior that was confirmed by a ParkingCrew representative today. So I just moved all my domains temporarily from Uniregistry to a contact form to avoid any headaches. (I am not going back to Uniregistry but this is another story.)

So here is how a landing page looks today at Uniregistry:

The links on the right column below “Sports” should be there. These could be infringing on a potential “Basis” mark.

My default landing page only has 12 links (the 11 on the left and the 1st on the right).

I know it is not much of a landing page and I am probably losing PPC money but I don’t care. It is the ONLY way to be sure you are not infringing on any trademarks. This is what we call a 2-click lander. The user has to click twice (one to choose the category and one to click on the actual ad) so that they get to an advertiser’s website and then you get paid.

Another way to be safe is to use a generic lander 2-click lander like this (but see below):

Of course these landers make less money than 1-click landers but it is the ONLY way to be safe from TM infringing ads and thus lawsuits and UDRPs.

BTW just choosing “Specific Keyword” on Uniregistry on your parking settings is not a bulletproof solution for avoiding these kind of problems. There are other steps you have to take. I will write more on this and also how to achieve the same results on ParkingCrew and Sedo after all this mess is over.

This is how one of my generic lander should look on ParkingCrew:

At the moment it has some more links below that exactly like my landing page on Uniregistry.

So in general there are 3 options to avoid TM trouble:

  1. Setup PPC with ~12 hard links like above (in Uniregistry and ParkingCrew and Sedo if I remember correctly)
  2. Setup CAREFULLY and CORRECTLY a landing page with more links and categories like the one from Ride.gr.
  3. Remove PPC altogether and maybe only have a contact form or an offer form and/or a BIN button.

So it seems that the first 2 options are a high risk for the time being. So I am choosing option number 3 for most of my domains until everything clears out.

Please take any appropriate actions to be safe ASAP and inform or share with others as well.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

2 comments

  1. Why are you putting PPC ads on your landing pages? You are just asking for trouble. Are you making THAT MUCH that it is worth the risk of incurring the possibility of TM infringement/URDP? I believe most have ditched PPC ads just for the ultra-safe lander.

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