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					Search engine marketing code of conduct





                             IAB Taskforce Search




   Search engine marketing code of
              conduct
Search engine marketing code of conduct





Contents
   1. About this code of conduct…....................................................................................3

        1.1 Goals …..................................................................................................................3

        1.2 Relevance …..........................................................................................................3

        1.3 Obligation to provide informatio......................................................................…3

   2. Membership of IAB Taskforce Search …..................................................................4

         2.1 Active participation ….........................................................................................4

         2.2 Recognisability of membership .....................................................................…4

   3. Search engine guidelines ......................................................................................…4

         3.1 Guidelines relevant to SEO .............................................................................…4

         3.2 Where to find search engine guidelines .......................................................…4

         3.3 Risks faced when violating guidelines .........................................................…5

   4. Intellectual property …...............................................................................................5

         4.1. Legislation....................................................................................................... …5

   5. Transfer of campaigns and source code .............................................................…5

         5.1 Transfer at termination of collaboration.........................................................…5

   6. Arbitration procedures....................….......................................................................6

         6.1 Lodging a complaint....................................................................................... …6

         6.2 Possible penalties imposed for violation...................................................... …6

   7. Contact details........................................................................................................ …6

Appendix A. Examples of working methods which violate search engine guidelines …7
Search engine marketing code of conduct





1. About our code of conduct

1.1 Goals

Search engine marketing is subject to many guidelines and much legislation and regulation
which may be applicable to the co-operation between you, as the client/advertiser, and the
search engine marketing agency. Using this code of conduct, IAB Taskforce Search aims to
promote the transparency of - and knowledge about - the Dutch search engine marketing
industry by:

    A. indicating which guidelines, legislation and regulations may be applicable to search
       engine marketing activities, where more information about this can be found and how
       to interpret these using examples, and;
    B. making clients/advertisers aware that it is advisable to finalise clear agreements prior
       to closing deals.

1.2 Relevance

The code of conduct described in this document is endorsed by all agencies that are
members of the IAB Taskforce Search. A list of these agencies can be found on IAB
Netherlands‟s website, www.iab.nl, located at Taskforces > Search.

Agencies are expected to inform (potential) clients about this code of conduct by referring
them to www.iab.nl when giving quotes, proposals or advice, or whatever event might
precede a deal.

Clients and agencies are and will always remain responsible if, when necessary, they deviate
from the code of conduct in mutual consultations and agreements. Neither the IAB, nor the
IAB Taskforce Search are involved in agreements and/or deals between agencies and clients.

The code of conduct is most certainly not a hallmark or warranty which guarantees the quality
of an agency‟s service provision. Any reference to this code of conduct as such is therefore
not permitted.

1.3 Obligation to provide information

Participating agencies must provide clients with timely, accurate and comprehensive
information about the suggested working method and the services/products to be delivered in
relation to the search engine guidelines mentioned with respect to search engine optimisation
(SEO), particularly if these working methods or products are contrary to these guidelines or if
doubts arise.

A number of working methods that are, by definition, contrary to these guidelines are
described in appendix A. This appendix forms an integral part of this code of conduct.
Search engine marketing code of conduct





2. Membership of IAB Taskforce Search

2.1 Active participation

As members of IAB Taskforce Search, agencies are expected to actively contribute to the
reputation of the taskforce, to focus on the promotion of transparency, innovation and market
knowledge (sharing), and to actively participate in Taskforce Search. „Active participation‟
entails an accredited agency representative attending at least three Taskforce Search
member‟s meetings per calendar year. If an agency repeatedly neglects this ruling, the
Taskforce Search is authorised to terminate that agency‟s participation in the taskforce.

2.2 Recognisability of membership

In order to make IAB Taskforce Search membership evident to third parties, agencies are
permitted to use the taskforce‟s logo on all external communication/documents. This is
permissible on websites, e-mails, brochures, quotes or any other forms. The logo will be
provided upon request by the IAB office or by the management of IAB Taskforce Search.

Wherever possible, the IAB Taskforce Search logo should be linked to the IAB‟s website
(www.iab.nl) or to a section especially devoted to the Taskforce Search containing a current
list of participating agencies, this code of conduct in generic form and other relevant
information.

Agencies which are not members of the IAB Taskforce Search are not permitted to use the
logo as previously mentioned in any manner or form whatsoever, nor may they suggest
Taskforce Search membership in any other way. If an agency terminates its participation in
the Taskforce Search, the logo, and all references which may create a false impression
concerning membership, must immediately be removed.


3.Search engine guidelines
3.1 Guidelines relevant to SEO

Search engines have various guidelines which help website owners optimise the performance
of their websites. When these guidelines concern the improvement of findability in non-
sponsored search results through search engine optimisation (SEO), it is of crucial
importance for clients to remain abreast of these guidelines.

Below you will find, amongst others, Google and Yahoo guidelines. However, other search
engines have similar policies. You will generally find these guidelines in the „Help‟ or
„Webmaster‟ sections of the search engine in question.

3.2 Where to find search engine guidelines

Google: design- and content guidelines, technical guidelines and SEO quality guidelines.
(http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769#3)


Yahoo: guidelines, Yahoo Search hints and tools.
(http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/deletion/;_ylt=AijW6UdKPStZFwO3tIBa5L
ybqCN4)

MSN / Live: guidelines, MSN/Live.com webmaster hints and tools.
(http://help.live.com/help.aspx?mkt=en-us&project=wl_webmasters)
Search engine marketing code of conduct





Ilse: guidelines for the Dutch search engine, Ilse.
(http://ilse.nl/webmaster/)

Note: the location of these guidelines may be subject to change, or the guidelines may have
become outdated since the issue of this code of conduct. For current guidelines, look in the
„Help‟ or „Webmaster‟ sections of the search engine in question, or find them at www.iab.nl.

3.3 Risks faced when violating guidelines

Search engines reserve the right to suspend or terminate websites from search result indexes
if the guidelines and usage- or service conditions, as set by them and described above, are
not met. A lower ranking for your website in search results is also a possibility.



4.Intellectual property
4.1 Legislation

According to the law, the intellectual rights for products supplied by agencies such as (but not
limited to) advice, optimised web texts, source codes and programmes/software, reports,
(advertising) campaigns and –accounts lie with the agencies, unless the parties involved have
agreed otherwise.

Agencies are expected to make the rights to intellectual property of products supplied by them
clear to clients before agreements are established. This can be achieved by including
stipulations in proposals, quotes, affirmations, agreements and/or in agencies‟ General Terms
and Conditions.



5 Transfer of campaigns and source code
5.1 Transfer at termination of collaboration

If a client decides to terminate collaboration with an agency, it is expected that the agency will
co-operate in the speedy transfer of completed products to the client or to a third party
appointed by the client as long as the client has fulfilled all of his/her (payment) obligations.

Agencies are expected to make timely agreements with clients regarding, amongst others, the
following:


    A. what exactly is to be transferred – e.g. an account including or excluding campaign
       data;
    B. the planning relevant to the transfer;
    C. possible conditions applicable to the transfer.
Search engine marketing code of conduct





6 Arbitration procedures
6.1 Lodging a complaint

If a client of an agency which is a member of the IAB Taskforce Search is convinced that the
agency has violated the code of conduct, the client can lodge a complaint with IAB national
management. If it appears that the code of conduct has been violated, the agency will be
reprimanded and asked to immediately comply with the code in order to cease damaging the
client‟s interests or to limit the damage caused.

The IAB only determines the degree in which the agency was transparent in its working
method and the way in which matters were conducted within the framework of this code of
conduct. It will not pass judgement on the scope of potential damage resulting from possible
violations by the agency in question.

6.2 Possible penalties imposed for violation

Management may, in cases of gross violation, decide to temporarily or permanently deny an
agency‟s participation in the Taskforce Search. This can only be determined by means of a
vote taken by IAB Netherlands management. If an agency has a representative in
management, this representative must refrain from taking part in the vote.

In case of complaints about an agency, neither IAB management nor the Taskforce Search
and/or its (managing) members may make the matter public until arbitration has been
completed by IAB management and the involved parties have been informed of the outcome.



7 Contact details
Do you have questions regarding this code of conduct or are you of the opinion that your
agency has violated this code to your detriment? If so, feel free to contact us.

Management‟s contact details are to be found on the IAB website (www.iab.nl) and are also
available from the secretariat of IAB Netherlands. You may also send an e-mail directly to
search@iab.nl.
Search engine marketing code of conduct





Appendix A. Examples of working methods which violate search engine
guidelines.
This appendix provides an overview of some of the most regularly applied working methods
which are contrary to search engine guidelines. Such working methods carry a risk of the
implementation of temporary or permanent measures which may lead to a drop in ranking or
removal from the search result index.

These are simply examples of techniques that are contrary to search engine guidelines. This
is not a comprehensive overview. If in doubt, consult your search engine marketing agency or
the Taskforce Search.

1.Content displayed to search engines different to that displayed to visitors
In theory, all requests sent to a specific url should be dealt with in an identical manner by the
web server, regardless of the origin of the request or the identity of the machine which sent it.
In the event of “cloaking”, such a request originating from a search engine (a “spider” or a
“bot”) is handled differently to a request from a regular visitor by returning different,
“optimised” content to the search engine. Such practices, aimed at deliberately misleading
search engines, are contrary to search engine guidelines and, thus, constitute a risk.

Search engines determine the relevance of a webpage partly through the existence of the
search task in the body of the webpage. For this reason, search engines and visitors should
be presented with the same content, though techniques are used to partially or completely
hide content from visitors. Javascript-, user agent-, IP cloaking and many others are
unacceptable techniques developed to mislead search engines as well as visitors. In short:
any methods for obscuring content are in violation of search engine guidelines.

Cloaking, as described above, is sometimes also applied to Google AdSense advertisements
and Google Adwords. In the case of the latter, the landing page can be cloaked. This is also
prohibited.

2.Redirects which display different information to search engines than to visitors
In theory, all requests sent to a specific url are never sent or linked to another url. Any
machine – whether it is a visitor or search engine – that requests url a.html should thus, in
theory, remain linked to url a.html. Certain search engine optimisation techniques link search
engines to url a.html while linking visitors who request the same url to a second url, perhaps
url b.html.

Techniques used include javascript redirects, user agent redirects and event-driven redirects.
These all violate search engine guidelines.

3.The blatant production of identical or nearly identical web pages with the aim of
increased performance in non-sponsored search results.
In theory, all the pages contained in a website are unique and each page‟s content has added
value to a visitor in his or her search for information, products and services. Naturally,
websites are permitted to republish or take over information from external sources, but the
blatant production of (virtually) identical pages is in violation of the search engine guidelines.
As an example, you might find a page about search engine marketing and another identical
page in which the word „search engine marketing‟ is replaced with the word „search engine
promotion‟.

Note: the duplication of pages in this manner for advertising purposes (SEA) is permitted.
Such pages can be provided with a “noindex” meta tag to prevent indexing by search
engines.
Search engine marketing code of conduct





4.Acquiring links exclusively to improve findability.

Links influence rankings, but the artificial increase of the number of links that refer to a
website through exchanging links with irrelevant sites is in violation of search engine
guidelines and can even cause unnoticed damage to findability. Purchasing links with the sole
purpose of increasing findability is also prohibited. If a link must be purchased, be advised to
provide the link with a “nofollow tag” (<a href=”url.html” rel=”nofollow”>linktekst</a>) on a
completely unrelated website. If in doubt, it is best to provide the link with a “nofollow-tag”.

5.Illegal use of trademarks
Advertising programmes like Google Adwords have a so-called “trademark policy”. According
to this policy and Google Adwords‟s General Terms and Conditions, advertisers are not
permitted to advertise using trademarks that are not their own. These general conditions
stipulate that advertisers are responsible for the search terms that they use to generate
advertisements and for the text contained in these advertisements.

For more information regarding Google‟s trademark policy, visit:
https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=6118&topic=20031

Other advertising platforms like Yahoo Search Marketing and AdMarkt (Marktplaats) have
similar usage conditions. For more information regarding the request of trademark protection
as a trademark owner on Google, visit https://services.google.com/inquiry/aw_tmcomplaint.
Of course, you could also seek the advice of your search engine marketing agency. Often,
your agency will be able to ensure the prompt processing of your request.

Note: the location of this policy may be subject to change, or the policy may have become
outdated since the issue of this code of conduct. For current guidelines, look in the „Help‟ or
„Webmaster‟ sections of the search engine in question, or find them at www.iab.nl.

				
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