Google Gains Ground in Germany & US on Copyright & Trademark

Google saw two legal victories this week in copyright and trademark issues.

In the first case, a German artist uploaded large images of her paintings to her website. When Google Image Search displayed thumbnails of those images, she sued for copyright infringement. The German Supreme Court ruled against the artist. As Google says in their European Public Policy blog:

Today´s ruling makes it clear not just for Google, its users in Germany and all owners of websites containing images, but also for all providers of image search services operating in the country: showing thumbnail images within search results is legitimate and millions of users in Germany benefit from being able to discover visual information at the click of a mouse.

The full reasoning behind the decision is yet to come.

Using Social Media to Drum up Buzz for Social Products

Microsoft is premiering two social-network-enabled phones designed to appeal to younger users (aged 14-34) who already live on social networks. And they know just where to reach them—even before the product launch, Microsoft has set up Pages on Facebook for the Kin One and Kin Two.

Naturally, appealing to your audience where they already are is a great way to generate buzz for a new product. With more than a month to go before the official launch, according to MediaPost, “the Facebook page supports more than 100,000 Fans.” I’m not sure what they mean by “supports” (can support?), since I only see 210 fans (Likers?) among the three pages for the Kin (the Kin main page, the Kin One and the Kin Two), including any duplicates.

Ohio AG Files Against Google in Anti-Trust Suit

Question: is it anti-competitive to regulate your own search advertising program? Answer: yes, according to or the Ohio Attorney General. When Google sued for $335,000 in backpayments on AdSense clicks, erstwhile Google advertiser/competitor filed a countersuit alleging Google had dinged their quality score, resulting in a 10,000% increase in costs, because the big G realized myTriggers was a competitor.

This week, the OH AG filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of myTriggers, arguing that dismissing the case as Google asks “would immunize an entire industry from the reach of this state’s antitrust laws.” MediaPost reports on myTriggers’s arguments:

MyTriggers argues that the drop in quality score was part of an anticompetitive scheme “to ensure that Google can continue to exert control over search advertising.” The shopping search site further asserted that it posed a threat to Google by monetizing searches on a cost-per-action basis, as opposed to Google’s cost-per-click model.

Google Improves Image Search for Android and iPhone

Admittedly I am a little slow on the uptake on this one but would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Google has updated its image search for mobile (Android 2.1 and iPhone 3.0+ only so all you BB users start your collective moan of being shut out again).

Now searching images is like everything else on these platforms. Google’s official blog tells us

  • The thumbnails are square to maximize the number of images we can get on the screen at one time so you can scan them quickly
  • You can swipe to see the next or previous page of results, or tap the large, stationary ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ page buttons
  • We optimized for speed so that the images appear quickly when you browse

Principal Calls for Social Networking Ban. Should Marketers Be Concerned?

We have talked here about how criminals have used Facebook and other social networking venues to get themselves caught by the proper authorities. That kind of “stupid human trick” doesn’t really affect marketers much. What can affect certain groups of marketers are calls to action like the one taken by a NJ middle school principal as he asks parents to consider shutting down social media completely for the students of the school.

CBS-TV in New York reports

A controversial proposal has students horrified at a Bergen County middle school on Wednesday. The principal is asking parents to join a voluntary ban on social networking.

Yahoo Chief Exec Gets Boatloads of Comp

We have a rather silly running joke here at Marketing Pilgrim which goes back to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz’s statement last year that the one thing that Microsoft will need to supply to Yahoo was “boatloads of money”. Well, after an SEC filing it looks like that much of that money was needed to give Ms. Bartz her $42.7 M comp package for her first year on the job.

DailyMe reports

Yahoo Inc. CEO Carol Bartz received a $47.2 million compensation package during her first year on the job as the Internet company tried to motivate her to engineer a turnaround

The 2009 package spelled out in a Thursday regulatory filing consisted mostly of stock incentives whose ultimate value will hinge on how much Yahoo’s market value rises under Bartz’s leadership.

No Blogger Fines Yet, But FTC Has Its Eyes Out

The FTC created quite a stir last year when they announced their new blogging guidelines to crack down on bloggers who receive products free in exchange for mentions or reviews. The FTC reassured bloggers that the rumored $11,000 fines wouldn’t affect them, and that these guidelines were intended to target advertisers and big time bloggers who were practically making a living on the freebies alone.

Ooooor not. In what appears to be the first test case of the new guidelines, the FTC targeted Ann Taylor Loft—over $10 gift cards distributed to bloggers after a preview in January. Well, more accurately, gift cards worth up to $500, distributed after Ann Taylor reviewed the bloggers’ posts. (I believe the conclusion we can jump to here is that the cards or their amounts were directly related to how positive the review was.) As Econsultancy points out, this is “in direct violation of the FTC’s new disclosure rules.”