US tightens guidance for online search ads

Jun 25, 2013

A US consumer watchdog agency told Internet search engines Tuesday to ensure they differentiate between search results and paid advertising, to steer clear of "deceptive" practices.

The Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection staff sent letters to search engine companies to update guidance from a decade ago.

The FTC said it took the action because "paid search results have become less distinguishable as advertising, and the FTC is urging the search industry to make sure the distinction is clear," a statement by the regulator said.

"Consumers ordinarily expect that natural search results are included and ranked based on relevance to a search query, not based on payment from a third party," the letters state.

The letters noted that failing to "clearly and prominently distinguish advertising from natural search results" could be a deceptive practice.

They said the search companies should use ", labels, or other techniques to effectively distinguish advertisements, in order to avoid ."

The letters were sent to general-purpose search engines AOL, Ask.com, Bing, Blekko, DuckDuckGo, Google, and Yahoo!, as well as 17 of the most heavily trafficked specialized search engines.

According to the research firm eMarketer, US advertisers are expected to spend nearly $19.49 billion on search ads this year, up 12.4 percent from last year. Google took in some $12.79 billion in search ad revenues last year, or 73.8 percent of the total market.

Explore further: Vatican's manuscripts digital archive now available online

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google loses Australian advert cases

Apr 03, 2012

Internet giant Google was Tuesday found guilty of false and misleading advertising in Australia after a court upheld an appeal by the country's competition regulator.

Australian court clears Google of hosting deceptive ads

Feb 06, 2013

Internet titan Google was cleared Wednesday of allegations it hosted deceptive advertisements, with Australia's highest court saying it was not responsible for companies who diverted users from their competitors' ...

British PM urges Google to boost fight against child porn

Jun 09, 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday demanded that Google and other search engines do more to rid the Internet of child pornography, warning that lives were being put at risk through the "disgusting" ...

Recommended for you

Kickstarter suspends privacy router campaign

Oct 20, 2014

Kickstarter has suspended an anonymizing router from its crowdfunding site. By Sunday, the page for "anonabox: A Tor hardware router" carried an extra word "(Suspended)" in parentheses with a banner below ...

User comments : 0