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Google goes to Australian court over sponsored links

Google appeared in court today in Australia to fight charges of “misleading and deceptive conduct” regarding its sponsored links. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) told the judge that the search giant does not do enough to differentiate sponsored links in its search results from regular search results.

“Google represents to the world that its search engine is so good that it can rank, out of the multitudinous entries of the worldwide web, these entries in order of relevance of the user’s query,” ACCC barrister Christine Adamson told the court, according to AFP. “Part of that (reputation is) that it’s not influenced by money, it’s influenced by relevance.”

The ACCC isn’t a fan of the company’s allowing sponsored links purporting to represent one company when, in fact, they point to a competitor. The group said that, in 2005, an Australian car dealership called the “Trading Post” purchased sponsored links from Google with the names of two competing dealerships, Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota. The ACCC says that the Trading Post violated sections 52 and 53(d) of the Trade Practices Act of 1974 and blames Google for allowing it to happen in the first place. The organization asked for an injunction that would ban Google from publishing sponsored links representing a relationship between businesses that doesn’t exist, clearly distinguished sponsored link results, for Google to establish a trade practice and compliance program, and costs.

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Google, Link, Sponsored Link

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