Are search engines, including Google and Bing, ignoring FTC guidelines for the discloser of paid placement and paid inclusion listings? Respected search expert Danny Sullivan thinks so, and has laid out his related argument in a posted letter to the government agency. In his letter, Sullivan also accuses the FTC of failing to properly enforce the guidelines, which it first set back in 2002.
“I’m asking for the FTC to conduct a review of the current state of compliance, so that I might report on your official findings,” Sullivan writes. “I’d also like to understand if the agency, after conducting such a review, feels that the guidelines need to be updated, expanded or amended in any way.” Sullivan recently wrote about the growth of paid inclusion programs at Google, a company which, as he notes, had once sternly opposed such programs.
“The FTC didn’t oppose paid inclusion; that was Google’s own choice,” he notes. "If I’m going to report on paid inclusion and disclosure compliance, I’d like the FTC to reassert its own definition, rather than the largest search engine in the United States unilaterally declaring definitions of its own.”