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Google Australia Slammed For Sharp Practice

I've wondered about this one - if you buy Google Adsense you can bid to be placed above the natural organic listings on Google Search and its often not obvious that those placements are paid ads. Google have been taken to task for this in the Australian courts this week -

The hearing to decide the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's misleading conduct case against Google will commence in the Federal Court on June 23.

In court today, Justice James Allsop said he expected the hearing would take a few days and there would be little need for expert evidence or for Google to provide the ACCC with extensive documents.

The regulator claims Google does not clearly distinguish between regular, "organic" search results and ads on the same page, which Google calls "Sponsored Links".

Google was therefore misleading customers because it claimed to rank search results based on relevance, not the money it received from advertisers.

Google has refuted the claims, saying the wording "Sponsored Links" and the fact Google used coloured shading when presenting the links clearly indicated they were ads. The ACCC said the shading was "very subtle" and depended on the angle of the screen.

From The Sydney Morning Herald

I've noticed if I run Google Adsense ads on certain keywords that those keywords also move up the organic listings. Coincidence? Who knows. Google moves in mysterious ways.

Oh yeah...this week I'm placed #2 on Google for the keywords plenty of fish and whilst it hasn't brought me plenty of traffic it has increased my Adsense revenue.

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Reader Comments (1)

What's worse is that you can buy your comepetitor's name as a keyword - that's wrong. If you are looking for Coke why can Pepsi stick an ad in your face? Sure its good for Google but its just plain wrong. If I want to find Coke then according to Google's charter I should find Coke.
November 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichael D

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