It looks like I’m going to have to start legal proceedings against the giant that is Google.
Let me explain…I used to be in booking.com. I used to give them some allocation for rooms during quieter periods of the year. After 12 months it became apparant that their extortionate commission rates were just too much for me to swallow. So I pulled out and asked them to stop advertising me immediately.
And there started the problem. Booking.com is part of a large umbrella owned by Priceline .com who have thousands of affiliates and publish datafeeds to all those affiliates. A few of the more larger ones market their business by using Google Adwords. A few of them for the past 12 months have been bidding for the words “Canasta Hotel Blackpool” and using those words in the Google Adword campaign.
When I first noticed this I knew it was going to be a nightmare to resolve. So I have applied for the trademark “Canasta Hotel Blackpool”. It’s pending. There have been no objections after it was published by ipo.gov (how could there be?).
Emails to the various booking “agents” went unanswered. Letters to their registered addresses went unanswered. And they continue to bid on my applied for trademark.
The problem is….these unscrupulous companies continue to bid on my keywords. there is only one Canasta Hotel in Blackpool. As of today’s date if you did a search in www.google.co.uk for the term “Canasta Hotel Blackpool” you will see an entry under the sponsored links like the one on the right. Now if you clicked on that link it will take you to a page where Eurobookings say “We’re sorry. It’s not possible to make a booking for this hotel. Click here to see nearby hotels”.
Now do you see the problem? Many of our potential guests will read this message and think we have no availability and perhaps use eurobookings.com to choose an alternative. They may have been perfectly happy to choose us…but they’ll never know. It’s a bit like me putting a website together called WarburtonsBread.com (which, when fresh, just happens to be the most tastiest bread you ever did taste) and having an order form on there but when the viewer places an order for the bread the pages says something like…”sorry we dont have any Warburtons Bread…but we have this which is just as tasty.”
Now I’m sure Warburtons would be on our backs from a great height. And rightly so.
So…Google seems to think it’s fine for them to charge eurobookings to be able to pass off as our booking agents. Emails and letters to Eurobookings have gone unanswered. As Google is the publisher I think thats where I’ll start on Monday.
Ive already had a series of emails back and forth with “Anna” from Googles legal department in Dublin but she refuses to remove the last offending advert. Yet she also refuses to state why.
Dear solicitor…this can’t be right….can you send a cease and desist notice to Google for me please.
Watch this space.