*Empirical Research on Consumers’ Perspective of Keyword Advertising (II)

20121105_USF_teaserOtt (Links&Law) was so kind to point out a recent study by Franklyn/Hyman on consumer expectations and confusion when using trademarks as search terms.

As a starting point the study correctly states that “there has been little independent empirical work on consumer goals and expectations when they use trademarks as search terms; on whether consumers are actually confused by search results; and on which entities are buying trademarks as keywords. Instead, judges have relied heavily on their own intuitions, based on little more than armchair empiricism, to resolve such matters.

Some chapters I found interesting:

  • Part C. Search Engine Policies Regarding Trademark Use; 11 et seq
  • Case Law (US focused); 15 et seq
  • Authors offer to send a list of all relevant articles on request; FN89
  • Nice summary of the Jansen/Resnick 2006 study; 24 et seq
  • Consumer knowledge on search page architecture; 30 et seq (little)
  • Adequacy of disclosure of Paid Links; 33 et seq (disclosure is rather clear)
  • Consumer attentiveness to search architecture and labels; 36 et seq (nope, they don’t pay attention)

In conclusion:

We find little evidence of consumer confusion regarding the source of goods, but only a small minority of consumers correctly and consistently distinguished paid ads from unpaid search results. We also find that the aggregate risk of consumer confusion is low, because most of the ads triggered by the use of trademarks as keywords are for authorized sellers or the trademark owners themselves.

The only downside of the study may be, that it mainly focuses on the US initial interest confusion (IIC) doctrine.

About three years ago I posted a summary of all the studies back then available related to this topic. I’d say some of the points knowledge/attentiveness etc are still valid.

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