Why take on Google? Google and the Trading Post are unusual targets for the ACCC, which issued this press release:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted legal proceedings in the Federal Court, Sydney, against Trading Post Australia Pty Ltd, Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited and Google Australia Pty Ltd alleging misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to sponsored links that appeared on the Google website.

The ACCC is alleging that Trading Post contravened sections 52 and 53(d) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in 2005 when the business names “Kloster Ford” and “Charlestown Toyota” appeared in the title of Google sponsored links to Trading Post’s website. Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota are Newcastle car dealerships who compete against Trading Post in automotive sales

…The ACCC statement suggests that the Title of the ads read “Kloster Ford” and “Charlestown Toyota” but the Destination URL (which is hidden from view) took the clicker to the Trading Post. I agree that I would be p-ssed off if my competitor used my brand name in their ad title, but I have to shake my head that the ACCC has been brought into this matter.. I can confirm from experience that a trademark owner can ask Google to disallow anyone else from using their marks either as Keywords or in ad copy (outside USA and Canada) or just in the ad copy (in USA or Canada). I have done this on behalf of clients, as would any other competent Google Advertising Professional, even before a breach occurs. Standard procedure. — Ash Nallawalla, Net Magellan

The Continuous Call team fractures after on-air barney. The top rating “Continuous Call” rugby league program on Sydney radio 2GB fractured yesterday with a blazing, and amazing, on air row between two high profile panelists, Bob Fulton and Darryl Brohman. And the media coverage it is getting today is something its rival could only pray for. Not that it needs it given that the show trounces its rivals, and every other Saturday and Sunday afternoon program, during the football season. It is also broadcast on Brisbane’s 4BC (owned by a rival network) and close to 40 regional stations. Fulton is a genuine rugby league “immortal” with a long coaching and playing career at club and national levels. Brohman has done extraordinarily well in the media given that he represented the Maroons just twice in Origin football and never made the Kangaroos team. In 1983 Brohman had his jaw broken in an Origin game by the elbow of infamous Blues forward, Les Boyd, for which Boyd copped a 12 month suspension. The incident is one of the worst in Origin history and arguably began the process of cleaning up violent play in the game, a process driven relentlessly by the then judiciary head, the late Jim Comans, a prominent Sydney lawyer. Recently Boyd claimed he had been told by the NSW members of the Kangaroos selection panel that he should use the Origin game to take out Queenslanders who were in line for the Kangaroos team and that he would not incur a heavy penalty if he did so. No-one apparently told Jim Comans! Brohman used his regular column in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph to unload on Les Boyd. Yesterday Boyd’s wife Judy rang in to the “Continuous Call” program to defend her husband, and Fulton, who coached Boyd at the Manly Sea Eagles, effectively sided with her calling his fellow panelist a “coward”. He later qualified his comment to claim he was referring to the fact that Brohman successfully sued Boyd over the incident. But the damage was done. Brohman, who has developed a cult following on the program since he joined it two years ago, stormed out of the broadcast box at Parramatta Stadium. The incident looked a setup, but Brohman and his manager have since discounted that. Because Fulton won’t be on air next weekend, the program host, Ray Hadley, has time to settle a very public, and, one suspects, genuine dust-up. The full incident can be heard on the Daily Telegraph website, which also includes a full transcript. – Jeff Wall

Seven vs Nine: an even battle this week. This is the week where the Seven Network becomes vulnerable to attack from Nine and Ten for the first time this year with no high-rating program on Tuesday nights to get it out of trouble. Seven has a couple of very weak nights: Wednesday and Thursday, and a weakened Tuesday night. Nine has the chance to attack, but does it have the firepower? Will Posh Beckham do the job at 9.30pm Tuesday, or will Seven struggle home with a late boost from the Friday night AFL? Can Dame Edna help in Saturday night? Or will animal power save Seven on Tuesday night? Seven’s Tuesday night hit, It Takes Two finished up last week and proved the difference in the week’s win over Nine, 28.7% to 27.6% (with Ten on 21.1%). That gave Seven wins in 18 of the first 20 weeks of ratings. Nine won two. In the major demographics, Seven and Ten have been the big winners: Nine had its two in All People, but no wins in 25 to 54, 18 to 49 or 16 to 39. It has been the most watched network with the over 50 and especially the over 55 viewers. Nine won three nights last week: Sunday, Thursday and Saturday. Ten won Wednesday and Seven won the other three. On Tuesday night, thanks to It Takes Two and All Saints, Seven won by more than 13 points. It was the biggest win of the week and that was the difference. Nine’s share was helped by running the third of the Harry Potter movies on Saturday night which gave Nine an 10.6 point win over Seven. — Glenn Dyer.

Singing Bee bombs, bad news for Nine. Remember Starstruck, the Nine Network’s 2005 attempt by Nine to match the Seven Network’s Dancing With The Stars? Anyone remember Popstars, the Seven Network’s abortive attempt to match Ten’s Australian Idol. And does anyone remember X Factor, the Ten Network’s abortive attempt to extend the Idol franchise, which crashed and burned in ugly circumstances? All these failures were attempted clones, or ‘spoiler” programs. They died because of their lack of originality. So what are the chances of survival for Singing Bee, the Nine Network’s latest attempt to enter the world of Idol and Seven’s trio of Dancing, Australia You’ve Got Talent and It Takes Two? Singing Bee is an American confection based on a singing version of the ubiquitous spelling bees which dominate children’s lives while in school (and the subject of a very successful musical). While the musical (The Putnam County 25th Annual Spelling Bee) translated well to Melbourne and Sydney audiences, what chances a Singing Bee, where the performers are no better than karaoke warblers? Nine thinks it has: it has ordered a 13 ep series to start in September and go up against Dancing With The Stars. It is reactive TV, rather than trying something that will be able to return in 2008. Nine says it debuted last Tuesday night in the US in spectacular style, averaging 13.3 million on NBC, but that was after a lead-in from the very popular America’s Got Talent. Well, it bombed, finishing fourth in its timeslot with just 4.7 million viewers. Now it is summer TV in the US and we know summer TV can be appalling, but to go from a high to such a low in the space of three nights says a lot about the program. It’s not appealing to American TV viewers. So how can it be improved in Australia on a TV Network which has shown no aptitude whatsoever for light entertainment in recent years? As I asked at the start, Remember Starstruck? — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
14 programs with a million or more viewers, 60 Minutes on top. Nine wins a fairly standard Sunday night. 60 Minutes averaged 1.735 million, Seven News, 1.590 million and Nine News, 1.563 million. Grey’s Anatomy averaged 1.401 million, Ten’s Live Eviction on Big Brother at 7.30 pm, 1.354 million and Midsomer Murders on the ABC from 8.30pm, 1.344 million. Where Are They Now averaged 1.248 million for Seven at 7.30 pm. Big Brother 6.30 pm, 1.211 million and Nine’s CSI, 1.174 million at 8.30 pm. Seven’s Ugly Betty, 1.102 million at 7.30 pm, CSI Miami, 1.098 million and the 7 pm ABC News, 1.094 million, The Worst Jobs In History returned to the ABC at 7.30 pm and averaged 1.057 million and Backyard Blitz sank to 1.021 million and was the final program with a million or more viewers. Rove averaged 996,000. Next Sunday he’s in the US.

The Losers: Seven’s What About Brian, 804,000. Ten’s Hamish And Andy’s Real Stories, 728,000. Nine’s NRL coverage in Brisbane averaged 184,000 from 4 pm to 6 pm when Seven’s News blitzed Nine. But a one-off Brisbane only special that looked at the 20 years of the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League team averaged 290,000 and topped the timeslot there. It was third on the night. The Circuit, SBS, 9.30, down to 273,000 from the opening 315,000. A bit uneven but still a very strong drama. Perhaps there was a shortage of shots, saw one or two repeated from the previous week.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally, narrowly and only won Brisbane and Perth. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Ten News At Five averaged 730,000 for the half hour. In the morning Weekend Sunrise 398,000 (the first time below 40,000 for some months). Landline on the ABC, 282,000 at noon. Nine’s Sunday up to 252,000. Insiders, 155,000, Offsiders, 134,000, Inside Business, 129,000. World News Australia on SBS 212,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 28.2% (32.3% a week ago), Seven was on 24.2 (28.0%), Ten was third with 21.2% (17.5%), the ABC was on 20.1% (15.8%) and SBS was on 6.2% (6.4%). Nine won everywhere bar Perth where Seven sneaked home. In regional areas a win to nine through WIN/NBN with 30.2%, Prime/7Qld was next with 24.4%, the ABC was third with 20.5%, Southern Cross (Ten) was next with 18.4% and SBS was on 6.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Even though Nine won there was a result that has caught the eye. Nine’s long term ratings powerhouse CSI was whipped by the most boring crime show to come out of Britain, Midsomer Murders. It was fairly easy, 170,000 viewers to the good for the ABC program (which ran until 10.05pm). Grey’s Anatomy won the 8.30 pm and won it convincingly, but by running a similar style program, the ABC effectively double teamed Nine. Midsomer Murders stole viewers from all networks. CSI Miami at 9.30 pm was weaker than normal and was behind Midsomer for the first half hour or so. The irony is that the one series of Midsomer Nine picked up a few years ago, has done well on various nights as well. The other point of interest was the sharp rise in the audiences for the two Big Brother shows, which will relieve Ten. Tonight Seven’s Border Security will dominate, Nine has repeats, Ten has BB, Torchwood and Law And Order SVU. Interesting to see 60 Minutes telling the story of The Choir of Hard Knocks last night and somehow trying to convince us that it was a newish story being told for the first time. It just reminded me how well the ABC told the story over four parts. There once was a time when 60 Minutes might have told the story for the first time, now its reactive TV. The Choir is an inspiration.