<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?
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 Searchenginewatch.com 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.