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Codebreaker

EU may limit what keywords advertisers can buy

John Moe Mar 25, 2011

A top adviser to an EU court is recommending that advertisers be prevented from buying ad keywords of their competitors’ names on Google and other search engines. So then when you search on a particular company, you could get ads for their rivals. Doesn’t seem fair, says this adviser.

A search under the word “Interflora” on Google’s search engine in Britain turns up sponsored advertisements for three different Web sites: Marks & Spencer’s, Asda’s and Interflora’s. Interflora argues that this misleads consumers.

If the court goes along with advocate general Niilo Jääskinen, and it usually does, it would limit the ability of Google to sell ads more broadly. To the surprise of no one, Google opposes this blockage, saying it’s not what’s best for the user.

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