The full bench of the Australian Federal Court has found that Google misled consumers through its advertised search results.
The case centred around sponsored links in Google search results through its AdWords programme by online trading company Trading Post and STA Travel. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleged that because the headline of an advertisement link in Google search results often referred to the business name that a person was searching for alone, and then redirected to the Trading Post or STA website, which had no affiliation with the real business, Google and Trading Post were engaged in deceptive conduct.
In his ruling in September 2011, Justice John Nicholas found that while the Trading Post had been misleading in its conduct regarding the advertisements, Google was not engaged in deceptive conduct, as it had merely been the messenger between the advertiser and the consumer. On Tuesday the full bench of the Federal Court overruled that judgment.
"What appears on Google's web page is Google's response to the user's query," the judgment stated on Tuesday. "That it happens to headline a keyword chosen by the advertiser does not make it any less Google's response."
For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Google misled consumers through AdWords on ZDNet Australia.