Is the jig up for honest search results?
This column appeared July 23, 2001, in the Online Journalism Review. Here’s the version on the OJR site.
Many of us in the new media industry have watched in despair during the past few months as several major search engines have abandoned all pretense at editorial integrity by adopting deceptive, misleading advertising practices at the expense of their users.
Finally, someone has stood up and said, Enough is enough. And now it’s time for the rest of us to join the battle as well.
Commercial Alert, a 3-year-old consumer organization in Portland, Ore., founded by Ralph Nader, filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week, charging that eight of the major search engines were “inserting advertisements in search engine results without clear and conspicuous disclosure that the ads are ads.”