Google complaint date set, Sensis to settle

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Last Friday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been given a date by the Federal Court to be heard against the internet search engine Google Inc.

As well, Justice James Allsop allowed the ACCC to resubmit after he was unable to understand the initial submission, which he called “incomprehensible” and “repetitious”.

The case sees Google being accused of not distinguishing the sponsored ads and the normal ‘organic’ search results. The initial submission included Google Inc, and it’s regional subsidiaries in Ireland and Australia; though those were dropped as Google said that any complaint goes through them (the parent company).

Separate allegations were made against the Trading Post’s owner, Sensis (which is owned by Telstra) after being found buying keywords from Google’s AdWords service using competitors’ names displaying as search results.

Google Australia has defended it’s search advertising practises, claiming the allegations as an attack on search engines and businesses that uses Google to connect with it’s customers.

Sensis, however, is trying to settle with the ACCC out of court.

The allegations against the Trading Post were centred on the use of “Kloster Ford” and “Charlestown Toyota” and linking them to the Trading Post website, without the permission of the owners.

A spokesperson has said that it used a third-party search engine marketing company to select keywords for them to use on Google to be appear on the top and side panels of the search engine results, showing that they were sponsored links.

“We’re bringing that in house rather than using third party agencies and we’re setting up rigorous processes when keywords are purchased. As a result of that and working through the details for the ACCC case, we are exploring some new possibilities with the ACCC,” the spokesperson told ZDNet Australia.

However, the spokesperson for ACCC has not confirmed whether it will settle with Sensis or not.

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