Laws Of .com

Paid Search Listings Scrutinized by US Federal Trade Commission

A recent letter from the trade group representing search engines shows that the United States Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) is investigating concerns about how the industry discloses paid search listings to users. Paid listings allow advertisers to pay for a higher “rating” on a search result page. The FTC established guidelines in 2002 which deal with disclosing the status of paid listings, a response to complaints that consumers were being misled. The recent review may result in findings that search firms have violated the guidelines. Changes to the guidelines themselves may also be implemented as a result of the review, given the rapidly evolving online marketplace.

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