The BBC reports that three top travel operators, Thomson, Thomas Cook and First Choice, have taken action to ensure internet users are driven to their websites first, when searching through Google, one of the world's top search engines.

Published: 03 Mar 2005

The BBC reports that three top travel operators, Thomson, Thomas Cook and First Choice, have taken action to ensure internet users are driven to their websites first, when searching through Google, one of the world's top search engines.

Thomson, Thomas Cook and First Choice apparently acted after rival companies linked their websites to the names of the market leaders. Google said such practices were stopped if trademarks were ‘used incorrectly’, and that advertisers themselves are responsible for the keywords and ad text that they choose to use.

It adds however that as a courtesy to trademark owners, Google will perform a limited investigation of reasonable complaints, and if an advertiser uses a trademarked term as a keyword trigger, those words would be taken out of its campaign.

The BBC explains that Google searches return not just the most appropriate links as determined by the company's search engine, but also sponsored links at the top and right-hand side of the results page, with companies bidding for the right to have their website mentioned high up in these listings.

According to Thomson Google was allowing businesses to protect a brand name, but smaller agents who rely on the web to generate business have evidently called the Google policy anti-competitive.

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