The Australian consumer watchdog has lost its battle with Google over claims the company has been engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct. This has got to do with Google’s Adwords advertisers sending traffic to sites bidding on competitor terms which the ACCC found to be misleading to users.
Even though Google originally was found to be engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct, Google appealed to the high court today which found it in favour of Google. The high court determine that users understood that sponsored links were representing advertisers and Google did not actually create these links.
I find it fascinating that a technological company should take full responsibility with how users interact on their platform. If I sold mobile phone and one of those phones was used to make an abusive prank call, should I be liable?
I think this decision makes perfect sense, it is the advertisers who need to ensure they are not being misleading or deceptive. Just like if a company was advertising on TV and was later found to be selling fraudulent items, should the TV station be sued?
I think decision put common sense back into the spot light. If you are advertising, stick to the rules, for the moment Google isn’t going to carry the blame.
William Bakhos is an SEO and Adwords professional and has been implementing best practice online marketing initiatives since 2004. Along with consulting to National and International companies and digital teams, William is the founder of the Web Marketers Crew, a Sydney based optimisation and online strategy company.