Commercial Alert Claims Search Engine Results Are Fraudulent

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Ralph Nader-founded consumer watchdog organization Commercial Alert has filed a complaint with the FTC alleging that results returned by over a half-dozen major search engines constitute false advertising.

Companies named in the complaint include AOL Time Warner Inc. (Netscape), Ask Jeeves Inc. (DirectHit), CMGI Inc.(AltaVista), iWon Inc. (iWon), LookSmart Ltd.(LookSmart), Microsoft Corp. (MSN) and Terra Lycos S.A.(Hotbot).

"These search engines have chosen crass commercialism over editorial integrity," Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert said in a press release.

While the search engines contend they are doing nothing wrong - clearly marking paid results, the three-year old, Portland, Oegon-based consumer watchdog group disagrees.

"We are asking the FTC to make sure that no one is tricked by the search engines' descent into commercial deception," Ruskin continued in the release. "If they are going to stuff ads into search results, they should be required to say that the ads are ads."

Additional reporting can be read at Silicon Valley.com.

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