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<snip>What would you advise me to do? Is a brand name protected in meta tags? The domain name is perfectly recognizable as a brand, even if it is not exactly the brand. Is it protected? </snip>

First, I'm not a lawyer so take this with a grain of salt. Trademarks in Meta are covered but not totally. For instance in the Playboy case a model was allowed to use Playboy in her tags because she had modelled for Playboy. Anything that is meant to deceive or mislead the rulings have been for the trademark holder.

However, if you were comparing two products on a page then as I understood the judges ruling it would be OK to use the trademark in the meta tags. All the rulings I've seen were based on the intent of their usage. If the intent is to confuse users or mislead then the rulings were for the trademark holder. For instance if you put a trademark in the meta or title just for visibility in SERPs then it is likely trademark infringement. However if you were writing an article on the holder of the trademark then it is OK since it reflects what is in the content.

Danny Sullivan's is the best source of information on trademark and meta data litigation. I searched for trademarks in the search in the left menu and found many links to info you will find useful.

The domain name is a different animal because it is resolved in a domain name dispute. Domain name rulings IMHO, have no logical outcome and almost always side with the biggest company.

What I would be asking myself is why would someone do this. The thing that would bother me most is the redirect to the clients website. I believe you've discovered an unscrupulous promoter who is likely going to contact the website owner and offer to sell them the traffic. I would definitely advise the client of this and recommend not doing business with them. Be forewarned if you refuse they are surely going to contact your competitors and try to sell them the traffic. I would recommend a stern warning from a lawyer.

IMHO, these types of promoters destroyed the Yahoo! directory and often have a number of listings in LookSmart under different domains. In all cases they re-direct the traffic from the directories to the site willing to pay the most.

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