Australia Shows Google The Way To Court

Jul 14, 2007 | 2,138 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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Google is going through some tough times. First a Chinese Company sues Google over the issue of name. And just one day back the forum community is buzzing about a recent decision taken by Australia to sue Google for allegedly listing misleading and deceptive sponsored results.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is not happy with Google over some deceptive search ads. The story dates back to 2005 when there were some ads posted in Google for 'Kloster Ford' and 'Charlestown Toyota', two car dealerships from the New South Wales city of Newcastle as sponsored links, which are paid for by companies to attract users. However, the links soon fed due to another website of a rival to the dealerships, the classifieds magazine "Trading Post", which competes with them for automotive sales. This is the reason why the ACCC is taking Google to the court. Google has adequately failed in the process to make proper distinction between sponsored links from 'organic' search results. As a result, it has created some confusions amongst users.

The ACCC has instituted legal actions in the Federal Court, Sydney against named Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited and Google Australia Pvt. Ltd as defendants in the action, along with the Trading Post Australia Pvt Ltd. No doubt, the ACCC has taken a bold step. But according to the chief executive of Australia' Internet Industry Association, Peter Coroneos, “the regulator should have consulted the industry before taking Google to court.” He further added, "It's very unfortunate that the ACCC has decided to pursue a litigious strategy against one participant, rather than consulting more broadly on an issue that affects the entire industry."

Rob Shilkin, of Google Australia in defense of the allegations made by the company said, “Google Australia believes that these claims are without merit and we will defend against them vigorously. They represent an attack on all search engines and the Australian businesses, large and small, who use them to connect with customers throughout the world.”

Members from DigitalPoint Forums and Search Engine Watch Forums has pointed out that the ACCC is looking for "injunctions restraining Google from publishing sponsored links of advertisers representing an association, sponsorship or affiliation where one does not exist."

The matter has been listed for a directions hearing in the Federal Court, Sydney, on 21 August 2007 before Justice Allsop. Globally, this is the first action of its type. Earlier Google has faced many court action in overseas countries like the United States, France and Belgium, but never in relation to trademark use.

To know more about this issue read the forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint Forums, and Search Engine Watch Forums.

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Australia Shows Google The Way To Court
4.thumbnail Australia Shows Google The Way To Court