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Airline Takes Legal Action Against Google Over Adverts

     
6:50 pm on Dec 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It seems Ryanair has had enough of an airline booking site advertising on Google and, allegedly purporting to be an official Ryanair site. The airline has decided to take legal action against Google after it said its complaints to the search company were being ignored.

“Our repeated calls for greater Google advert transparency, or for Google to comply with their own code of conduct, have been ignored, and in order to prevent thousands more consumers being misled on the Google search engine, we have commenced these high court proceedings.

“We have no problem with Google charging advertisers on its paid search function, but we expect Google to ensure that this advertising is honest and transparent.” Airline Takes Legal Action Against Google Over Adverts [theguardian.com]
The airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said on Tuesday he forwarded the emails to the inbox of his Google counterpart, Eric Schmidt, and the Irish high court proceedings were an attempt to force action after Ryanair’s complaints were ignored.
1:33 am on Dec 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think this quote just about sums it up:

O’Leary has been incensed that eDreams is advertising lower, non-existent fares, and using a web address whose URL contains the name Ryanair and uses its branding. In a survey conducted on behalf of the airline, 82% of adults believed it was an official Ryanair site.


Ouch!
10:49 am on Dec 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This comes back to the age old issue, and I wonder if the misrepresentation aspect might be a problem on this, and give Ryanair a case with Google. IANAL, so they would have have a better idea.

As a consumer, I would not be happy to be duped by a site misrepresenting someone else, or something else.
4:00 pm on Dec 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If this company are really passing themselves off as Ryanair then this is a criminal offence. If Google assists them to do so than this is, inter alia, another potential criminal matter. Par for the course really.
7:14 pm on Dec 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A punter would have to be pretty dim to read the ad as being for Ryanair rather than for an agent but there are a hell of a lot of dim punters around.
3:11 am on Dec 4, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Had a competitor do something similar to me. Google finally blocked them after emailing them like 10 times...
1:49 pm on Mar 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Well, the ASA has ruled that the ads in question (and landing pages) are misleading:

[asa.org.uk...]

They mix up SEO and PPC, but other than that, seems reasonable.
4:36 pm on Mar 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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G would be well advised not to cross with Michael O'leary.

The problem they have is that giving in to his demands will set a precedent, making it easier for other, lesser, agrieved parties to take action.
5:04 pm on Mar 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The key thing here is that anyone else doing the same with their Google AdWords in the UK would be wise to follow the ASA's guidelines, or they will be told not to do it again.

Whether Google gets involved is unlikely, imho.
 

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