The ACCC has taken action against Google regarding sponsored links going to sites unrelated to the consumer’s search. Apparently, the:
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.
Seems strange. Allegedly, you did some search. Up came a “Trading Post” sponsored link with competitors in the title. You clicked on it and went to the Trading Post website.
With billions of sponsored searches, it is hard to know what Google are supposed to do here. Are the ACCC going to go after advertisers who place ads in places that consumers might not expect them? Does publication of an ad mean agreement with the quality of its content? If so, did the ACCC sue TV stations for those Ian Turpie ads? Seems to me the culprit is the advertiser not the publisher.
The question I have is will the ACCC go after searches like this one for “Melbourne Business School.” The first sponsored link was to the AGSM for a Melbourne MBA. Or this one for “ACCC” with some credit repair site. Consumers could easily be confused by those ones.