|In this article I discuss seven illegal, or
almost illegal, search engine optimization and related techniques.
Trademarked Keywords In Domain Names
If you're thinking of registering a domain name that includes a
trademarked keyword, think again.
Using someone else's trademark to attract customers is illegal.
It violates federal trademark law, which prohibits the use of
someone else's trademark, if it causes a "likelihood of confusion"
Take Yahoo for example. They objected to 37 registered domains,
including AtlantaYahoo.com, DCYahoo.com, Jahu.com and Yhu.com.
Read the full story.
Trademarked Keywords In META Tags
It's not necessarily illegal to use trademarked keywords in
your META tags. But you could get sued, and people have.
It all depends on why and how you are using the trademarked
keywords. If you used the keywords in what is deemed a deceptive
manner, then you're likely to lose your case.
However, there has been one instance of a defendant who proved
to the judge that she had a legitimate reason to use the
trademarked keyword. Read the full story.
Here's a short story to illustrate the seriousness of using
trademarked keywords in META tags.
I had a client who included the trademarked brand name of a
competing product in one of his web pages.
One day, he received a letter from the lawyer acting on behalf
of the trademark owner in question.
The letter stated:
"Use of [trademarked term] constitutes federal false
advertising, trademark infringements, state unfair competition and
is deliberately designed to trade on [trademarked term] reputation
and goodwill. Placing the term, [trademarked term], in the
keywords and META tags of your site inappropriately and unlawfully
draws Internet users to your site."
They threatened to sue, unless my client removed the
trademarked terms from the META tags. Naturally, we obliged! ;o)
What was surprising was that we could use the trademarked terms
in the visible page body. So we kept the trademarked keywords in
the page body.
Pagejacking is copying someone else's web page and submitting
it to the search engines as your own, in hopes of getting high
rankings. Quite often pagejacking also involves page cloaking.
Pagejacking is no more than stealing copyrighted content. It
beats me why people would be so dumb as to try this technique.
Don't try it. You will be caught sooner or later.
4. Deep Linking
Deep linking is the practice of providing a link directly to
specific content on a web site's sub-page, instead of linking to
its home page.
On July 5, 2002, the Bailiff's Court of Copenhagen ruled in
favor of the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association, which
claimed that Danish company Newsbooster violated copyright laws by
"deep linking" to newspaper articles on some Danish newspapers'
The argument is that in bypassing the newspapers' home pages,
Newsbooster links deprive them of advertising revenue. Further,
they asserted that Newsbooster is in direct competition with
newspapers. Read the full story.
5. Deep Linking Without Permission
If a site you are linking to has stated that linking is
prohibited, or requires permission first, then don't link to them.
If you do, you're asking for trouble.
6. Trademarked Keyword Advertising
Thinking of bidding for competing trademarked keywords in
search engines? Think again!
In January 1999, Estee Lauder sued iBeauty and Excite@Home,
saying its trademarks were violated when iBeauty's ads were
presented during searches for Estee Lauder trademarked keywords.
When a person searched Excite@Home's search engine for "Clinique,"
they were presented with a banner ad for iBeauty. In addition, the
search returned a list of related web sites, including iBeauty.com.
In August, 2000, iBeauty decided to voluntarily remove the
trademarked keywords from its list. Read the full story.
7. Deep Linking Within A Frame
If you link to another site's content by displaying it within a
FRAME on your site, and your ad in another FRAME, you're walking
on thin ice.
What you're basically doing is "stealing" other people's
content to generate advertising revenue. I would recommend staying
clear of this practice.
Take care with the marketing techniques you use. If you think a
technique can be construed as illegal, search the internet for
possible legal cases on the technique. If you can't find any, then
it's a good chance that the technique in question is worth