The Australian Federal Court has ruled against Google, stating the search behomoth breached the law by displaying misleading sponsored links at the top of its search results. Last Year the court found that Google wasn’t liable for ads that appeared as search results. Consumers who used Google to search for Harvey World Travel, Honda, Just 4X4 Magazine and Alpha Dog Training were presented with ads that led to rival websites.
In appealing the Federal Court’s decision, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - ACCC – took the view that Google’s key word insertion system, plus the role of Google staff, were fundamental to the false representations being made. In a statement the ACCC said It was significant that the previous Federal Court decisions considered by Justice Nicholas related to publishers of advertisements in traditional forms of media, such as print and television. The reasoning in those cases is not easily translated to the practices of search engine providers such as Google in publishing sponsored entries as part of search results.
The ACCC appealed last year after Justice Nicholas ruled Google’s conduct had not been in breach of the Trade Practices Act. Justice Nicholas found that although a number of the advertisements were misleading or deceptive, Google had not made those representations. Read the full article »»»»