Australian Antitrust Watchdog Takes Google To Court Over Sponsored Links

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking Google to court over its core search marketing business, claiming the behemoth does not properly distinguish between sponsored links and organic search results, AFP reports. The watchdog claims Google “has engaged in and continues to engage in misleading and deceptive conduct”. The nub of the case actually concerns an instance in 2005 when two sponsored links appeared for a Newcastle, New South Wales car dealership that in fact linked through to the website for a rival classifieds magazine, Trading Post. Which actually would mean the case concerns whether Google should have stronger oversight of the content of adverts and not how far it should differentiate between organic search results and ads, which are clearly labeled “Sponsored Links” in a yellow box.

AFP: “The ACCC named Google Inc, Google Ireland Ltd and Google Australia Pty Ltd as defendants in the action, along with the Trading Post magazine. It said it believed the legal action had no global precedent.” Google will fight the claims, arguing they are “without merit”.