Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) success as a search engine doesn’t always sit well with the laws of Australia courts. They recently ruled that a set of paid Honda Australia advertisements that were published with the appropriate search queries. The court ruling claimed that is was a deceptive move and that Google is responsible for what they display on their website and now they ordered that the mega search engine pays up all their court fees and that they set up a compliance program to prevent paid advertisements from deceiving consumers on the internet.
It wasn’t that long ago that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) had previously won the same court hearing before it was appealed today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
In a statement made by ACCC’s Rod Sims, “Google’s conduct involved the use by an advertiser of a competitors name as a keyword triggering an advertisement for the advertiser with a matching headline. As the Full Court said this was likely to mislead or deceive a consumer searching for information on the competitor.”
Google denied their responsibility for the advertisements but they are reevaluating their options as they made the following statement, “Google AdWords is an ads hosting platform, and we believe that advertisers should be responsible for the ads they create on the AdWords platform. We’re committed to providing an advertising platform that benefits both advertisers and users. We investigate complaints about violations of our policies and terms and conditions, and if we are notified of an ad violating our terms and conditions we will remove it. We are currently reviewing our options in light of the court’s decision.”
Most websites make the clear distinction between non-paid content and paid content. Here in the United States at least, Google usually provides paid advertisements in every search but they clearly label it as such. Whether they were using deceptive practices or it was an honest mistake remains to be seen, but at least they’re doing the right thing.