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Australian Court Finds Google Liable For Misleading Ads
engine




msg:4436732
 3:48 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Australian Court Finds Google Liable For Misleading Ads [mercurynews.com]
Search giant Google (GOOG) engaged in "misleading and deceptive" conduct by allowing misleading paid advertisements to be shown with Internet search results, an Australian court ruled on Tuesday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the ruling meant that not only Google, but other Internet search engines, would now be held responsible for "deceptive paid search results".


 

Bluejeans




msg:4436799
 6:10 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

What is "deceptive" anyway? You mean that product doesn't make you lose belly fat?

IanCP




msg:4436862
 9:10 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

They've also got Apple in their sights.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4436869
 9:32 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

- This is brand related, competitors may not write ad text that implies they are associated with the brand.
- This is based on results 5 years ago


In its judgment, the court said between March 2006 and July 2007, Google published search results for queries related to Honda Australia, with results showing paid advertisements for a Honda competitor CarSales. It said the advertisements suggested CarSales was linked to Honda Australia.

The court said Google should be responsible for search results and that by publishing the paid advertisements had "engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive"


My take - absolutely Google should be responsible for the results they provide as well as the ads they display. "We're just the search engine" does not hold water when it's a publicly traded for profit company with full control over the advertising platform.

Google needs tighter control over the ads they allow online, this ruling confirms that. Google may wish to pass the buck on to publishers by offering filtering options but, imo, the ad platform accepting payment for illegal ads needs to be addressed.

incrediBILL




msg:4436941
 4:17 am on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

The court said Google should be responsible for search results and that by publishing the paid advertisements had "engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive"


The courts obviously aren't aware of the complexity of the problem.

If the judge had someone 'splain to her/him/it how this stuff works, he'd have run screaming into the night and ended up face down in a gutter after a drunken bender.

Seriously, short of 100% human checking of every single ad and SERP combo possible, where the ad could potentially be displayed, computers aren't quite capable of currently negotiating the nuances of the human language required to detect such garbage. Maybe someday soon, but not today.

However, if Google allowed end users to report these problems and automatically stop running ads for certain combinations when the reported problems reached a certain threshold, in theory the masses being mislead could stop the misleading ads. Then the competition could hire people, or rent a botnet, to game the system and shut down competitors ads and all sorts of fun garbage.

Like I said, if the judge only had a clue what's involved.

IanCP




msg:4436949
 5:38 am on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Like I said, if the judge only had a clue what's involved

Sorry to disillusion you Bill. These laws are quite specific. No exceptions. The judge was quite correct, no doubt the ACCC welcomes an appeal to the full High Court of Australia.

The ACCC is the most powerful government agency we have in Australia. Publicly? The most popular in fact.

Corporations across the world [notably the USA] would chuck up if held to those exact same standards of commercial ethics.

Our courts [not political appointees] interpret law, not what's good for high powered business.

Google? Apple? All are within their sights at the moment.

If the legislation fails in higher courts? The legislation becomes tightened to achieve the end goal.

ALL commercial business MUST be done ethically.

Web_speed




msg:4436979
 7:41 am on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

ALL commercial business MUST be done ethically.


Precisely, and part of the reasons making this country so great with a sound economy.

P.S.
If only they'll go after wollies and coles now... now that would be perfect!

superclown2




msg:4437226
 8:53 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)


The courts obviously aren't aware of the complexity of the problem.


That's Google's problem, not the court's. This company has got quite used to driving a coach and horses through legislation that doesn't suit it but it can't get away with it for ever.

IanCP




msg:4437260
 9:56 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

If only they'll go after wollies and coles now... now that would be perfect!

Gordon Samuels and his team are busy gathering evidence even as we speak.

Even multi-national corporations are coming forward led by Kraft. Dick Smith's right behind it as well.

Whitey




msg:4437270
 10:22 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are likely deep implications globally in this ruling, making the principle of "enablers" responsible for showing content that meets the reasonable expectation of the user and operate within the law.

I think that in print and general media forms, this has always been clear, but use of search as the platform has more recently allowed negligence to slip in. Probably Google will change it's contractual terms and conditions with advertisers to make them responsible.

The ACCC only pushes cases of significance in the trading standards that it seeks to monitor and enforce in the interests of openess and fairness. This was at the high end of negligence and/or deception, so it was important to make a statement through the Courts.

Having said that, Australia is one of the few countries that permit monopolies to exist. At the same time businesses are not permitted to use market power to control the market and the ACCC administer those standards. Try and figure that one out.

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