Search Engine Guidelines Updated By FTC
Posted: June 26, 2013 by Alex Chan
Back in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission issued specific guidelines that all search engines had to follow. According to these guidelines, search engines are required to make a clear distinction between paid and unpaid listings on their result pages.
The FTC had noticed that within the past couple of years, search engines have started to fail in making this clear distinction noticeable. According to the FTC, paid search results are harder and harder to distinguish as advertising.
Therefore, the government agency decided to take action and sent all registered search engines an official letter urging them to fix the ongoing "deceptive" practices in handling natural and paid results. Such letters were sent to Google, DuckDuckGo, AOL, Bing, Yahoo, and other specific search engines as well as the top 17 shopping, travel, and local websites that enjoy heavy traffic.
Inside the letter, the FTC scolded the search engines for having embarrassed the 2002 guidelines and asked for an immediate remedy. It asked the websites to place visual marks, labels or any other type of notification that would help users make a distinction and not mislead them in any way.