Friday, July 13, 2007

Google: search Company or Ad Company? The debate ensues

The debate over Google’s responsibilities as a search company and as a n advertising company, took a legal turn yesterday when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided to take legal action against Google over the way Google sells and displays sponsored links.

Although, the case points out that lay users (aka noobies, a big source of adsense clickers) are confused by sponsored links over search results, more importantly, the case also throws light upon the practice of duplicity in Adwords, when a company brings out adwords in name of its competitor – think Coke buying Pepsi adwords – user clicks Pepsi ad link and is taken to Coke’s site.

Now Google might reply that it is hard for it to ascertain an adword buyer’s authencity as most of the Adwords service is self-service, Google may increasingly find itself responding complaints.

With bigger status, come great responsibilities.

Bottomline: sooner or later, Google ought to change the way it operates if it is to become the world’s biggest advertising company too.

This may be a landmark case.

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