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Monday, September 10, 2007

Google Top Spots for Sale Down Under

Interesting story from Australia about the perception that Google's top spots are for sale:
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) is taking world-first legal action in the Federal Court against Google Inc over allegedly deceptive conduct related to sponsored links on its websites.
I would have ignored this story as yet another frivolous lawsuit against Google, but I noticed this story on non-SEM sources (Techmeme and TechCrunch). Anyone involved with search engine marketing on a daily basis doesn't confuse paid links from organic search results. However, I can see how others might and that, rather than trademark issues, is the interesting part of what the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission is seeking:
  • injunctions restraining Google from publishing search results that do not expressly distinguish advertisements from organic search results
Considering that Google doesn't always display paid links above organic search results even when paid links exist might be causing confusion. Google has a separate algorithm for determining which, if any, of the paid links are eligible to be displayed above the organic search results. Since Google will now be generating more revenue from these top spots, this case will be interesting to follow.

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