In breaking SEO news, Google and Microsoft are backing requests that the FTC get involved with monitoring that search engines are clearly disclosing which listings they serve are paid placements and which are organic. While many SEOs were surprised the two giants would be in agreement on this, it is case of both knowing what is best for the industry as a whole and possibly that the FTC will take years to do anything meaning they can look like good guys in the short term. When asked for an comment on this, the FTC, as usual, had nothing to say and looks devoid of any semblance of authority over the issue.
The TC response to the Review of Search Engine Disclosure Compliance has been anything but compliant. In fact it has been non-existent. Even Microsoft hasn’t been wholly supportive, they are just not disagreeing with the need for action more so than endorsing the initiative in bolder terms. Orbitz and Expedia, for example, refuse to comment – mostly because all they serve are paid results they pass off as organic.
For consumers, the benefits of reform are obvious. For SEOs, the same is true. No matter how excellent a job you do with your SEO and SMM efforts, if someone is willing to spend $25,000 per month to place their page at the top of the SERPs there isn’t anything you can do really. Paid search placements are a disservice to everyone – particularly when they are masked as the best result.