Group Accuses Search Engines of Deceptive Advertising

Share this article:
Commercial Alert, described on its Web site as "protecting children and communities from commercialism," said it filed a complaint yesterday with the Federal Trade Commission against eight search-engine companies, alleging deceptive advertising.


Companies named in the complaint are Netscape, AltaVista Co., AOL Time Warner Inc., Direct Hit Technologies, iWon Inc., LookSmart Ltd., Microsoft Corp. and Terra Lycos.


Calls made to the FTC to confirm the filing were not immediately returned.


Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, Portland, OR, said the organization wants the FTC to investigate whether these companies have violated federal prohibitions by inserting advertisements in search-engine results without clear disclosures that they are ads.


"What we're hoping is that the FTC will require search engines to tell us when ads are ads," Ruskin said. "We hope that when search engines do clearly identify these ads, searchers will revolt and go to search engines that don't have these types of advertising."


Commercial Alert's mission, stated on its Web site, www.commercialalert.org, is to keep commercial culture within its proper sphere and to prevent it from exploiting children or subverting values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.


Kathryn Shantz, director of corporate communications for LookSmart, San Francisco, said the FTC has not yet contacted the company about the complaint.


"This is essentially an attack on the entire search industry," she said. "It's really without merit."


Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Digital Marketing

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

Featured Listings

More in Digital Marketing

Customer Identity in the Digital Age

Customer Identity in the Digital Age

Industry experts explore the value in a person's cyber identity for marketers.

Epsilon Rebrands as End-to-End Marketing Solution

Epsilon Rebrands as End-to-End Marketing Solution

The goal is to flame the perception that technology and creativity live under one roof at the company, says President Andy Frawley.

Mobile Spend Vaults 76 Percent in First Half, IAB Reports

Mobile Spend Vaults 76 Percent in First Half, ...

Overall Internet ad revenues escalate by 15% to $23 billion, also fueled by increased activity in social media and video.