Hurting the little guy?

Today I come back from the dentist, if that wasn’t bad enough news, I get an email from Google AdWords titled Your Google AdWords Approval Status.

In the email, all my AdWords campaigns are now disapproved, because of:

-> Ad Content: Please remove the following trademark from your ad:

Yeah right. I can’t put the word ‘MySQL’ in my ads. How are people to now find me? It would appear that many ads have been pulled not just mine. Is this a proactive measure by Google? is this a complaint from the MySQL trademark holder Sun Microsystems?

I’d like any comment, feedback or suggestions on how one can proceed here.

It reminds me of the days CentOS advertised itself as an “Open source provider of a popular North American Operating System”, or something of that nature.


  1. says

    From the info on Google AdWords, this proceess is based on complaints from a trademark holder. The exact implementation differs per country (well, groups of) as the trademark laws are not exactly the same everywhere of course.

  2. says

    It seems similar to the Red Hat issue. It’s unlikely that Google just tightened up voluntarily, because there are other trademarked words that you can still place ads for, such as “Linux”.

    I don’t think Google is technically required to comply with Sun if they made a complaint. Trademarks are only designed to prevent against brand confusion, and they do not restrict the actual use of the brand. So all of these should be fine if Google chooses:

    * Alternatives to MySQL
    * Tuning information on MySQL
    * How to make MySQL faster
    * Consulting for MySQL

    These could be considered confusing:

    * MySQL Support
    * MySQL Consulting

    Oh well, life sucks ;(

  3. says

    I had a similar issue involving the name of an Open Source project that I lead (it was called mysql-ha at the time), and they were very nice while handling it. They also made it very clear that things like ‘Tuning information for MySQL’ (to use one of the previous examples) were OK.

    Of course, all of this was pre-SUN, so I don’t know what could happen know.

    Still, the first thing I’d do is consult the trademark policy, which can be found here:

    to see if your ads were somehow in a violation.

    If they weren’t, I’d contact Google, referring to this policy, to request the reinstating of the ads. If they were, I’d change them into non-inflicting versions and then do the same thing.

    If by any chance you’re a partner, then contact MySQL directly to inquire about this issue. I’m pretty sure MySQL did request google to remove inflicting ads, and then Google just removed every ad containing the trademark as a precaution.

    Good luck,

  4. Liz Quilty says

    Thats just silly! How else would you advertise services or hosting or technical help etc?

  5. says

    Yepp, same thing happened to me. And all I was doing was using the term “MySQL” in a plug for my MyQuery Open Source, non-profit MySQL Query tool. And I WORK for MySQL…