Paid vs. Organic Search – FTC Updates Guidelines

FTC LogoThe Federal Trade Commission has recently issued updated guidance to 24 web-search companies instructing them to more clearly distinguish ad-driven results from natural ones, using visual cues like color-shading that displays consistently on multiple devices (including mobile devices), as well as borders and labels.

When we search for something some of these results will be based on relevance — the result of complex algorithms. Some of the results come up because they are paid or sponsored advertising. And the Federal Trade Commission wants to make sure that we, the web-surfing public, actually know the difference.

The last time the FTC issued formal guidance to make sure search engines clearly communicate the difference between paid search results, and ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ ones, was in 2002. That’s like a century in Internet-advertising-time. Click here to read more about this topic.

Michael Klausner
[email protected]