Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
GET RECOGNIZED.
Let an ISACA® certification
elevate your career.

Register today and save
World Wide Web
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
FTC Cracks Down on Search Engine Advertising Practices
FTC Cracks Down on Search Engine Advertising Practices

By Jennifer LeClaire
June 26, 2013 1:47PM

    Bookmark and Share
"Over the past decade the industry has changed and so have the ways in which search results are presented. The mobile Internet didn't exist then, for example," said analyst Greg Sterling. "In many instances there has been a blurring of the distinctions between ads and non-ads in search." The FTC has warned Google, Yahoo and Microsoft about search ad practices.
 



The Federal Trade Commission has issued a strong warning to Google, Yahoo and Bing to "clearly and prominently" distinguish advertising from search results. The regulatory agency said it has seen the companies mixing results over the past decade.

In 2002, the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection published a letter -- widely known as the "2002 Search Engine Letter" -- advising search-engine companies about the potential for consumers to be deceived, in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, unless search engines clearly and prominently distinguished search-based advertising from other search results.

After that letter was issued, the FTC said, search engines embraced the guidance and distinguished paid search results or other advertising on their Web site. But the search engines have since loosened that embrace, the FTC said. Hence the new warning letter.

Avoiding Potential Deception

"Although the ways in which search engines retrieve and present results, and the devices on which consumers view these results, are constantly evolving, the principles underlying the 2002 Search Engine letter remain the same: 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," said the FTC letter, signed by Mary K. Engle, associate director for Advertising Practices.

"Including or ranking a search result in whole or in part based on payment is a form of advertising. To avoid the potential for deception, consumers should be able to easily distinguish a natural search result from advertising that a search engine delivers."

The Evolution of Online Advertising

Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said he's not surprised by the letter, given the evolution in the online advertising landscape.

"Over the past decade the industry has changed and so have the ways in which search results are presented. The mobile Internet didn't exist then, for example," Sterling told us. "In many instances there has been a blurring of the distinctions between ads and non-ads in search -- vertical and general -- results in the intervening period."

As Sterling sees it, the FTC is trying to remind the industry that this division needs to be clearly maintained so as not to deceive or mislead consumers. The agency has enforcement power to penalize offenders, he said, and this letter is a warning to them to do more to clarify where advertising appears in their content.

"But this 'problem' extends beyond search on the Internet," Sterling added. "The whole phenomenon of 'native advertising' is a prime example of content and advertising blurring in many cases to the point of being indistinguishable."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:





 World Wide Web
1.   'Right To Be Forgotten': 26 Questions
2.   Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
3.   Twitter Admits to Diversity Problems
4.   Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
5.   Internet of Things Comes to DIYers


advertisement
Radical.FM's Freemium Biz Model
Online radio startup asks for donations.
Average Rating:
Facebook Social Experiment Irks Us
Secretive test was legal, but ethical?
Average Rating:
'Right To Be Forgotten': 26 Questions
EU regulators probe Google, others.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 
Is the Amazon Fire Phone a Winner?
A late entry into a packed category of smartphones, Amazon's Fire phone offers a variety of unique features. Now, the reviewers are assessing if they're enough to make the phone stand out.
 
Review: Amazon Fire Offers New Ways To Use Phones
The Fire phone uses Android, but Amazon has modified it to the point that it's barely recognizable. That means the phone offers new ways to navigate, discover and, of course, shop.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.