Ask yourself: – “Now how many times have I clicked on a Google advertiser in the AdWords section and thought it was an organic result?”
This is what the Australian Consumer And Competition Commission have just launched a case against Google, (the first government body to do so), to find out.
From the ACCC’s site, information about the case cites an Australian publisher Trading Post Australia Pty Ltd using the names of two competitors in localised AdWords campaigns, (“Kloster Ford” and “Charlestown Toyota”).
This, in it’s simplest terms is a case of Passing off, an advertiser using trademarks and trading names to attract business through deception.
In addition and in a seemingly unrelated statement:-
“Google, by failing to adequately distinguish sponsored links from ‘organic’ search results, has engaged and continues to engage in misleading and deceptive conduct” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.
By asserting Google is deriving advertising revenue’s from cases where it knows passing off is taking place, the ACCC are effectively attempting to shift the duty of care, hoping to reveal the entrails of Googles’ advertising, targetting and information management stategy in the process.
It’s a wide ball.
The ACCC statement for bringing the action is spurious and without foundation.
Does Google derive income in the knowledge advertisers are passing off?
Remains to be seen.
The case has an initial hearing on August 27th.