Tuesday, August 20, 2002

search engines respond to ftc

We've written a couple of previous entries about search engines. One, in January, on the "politics" of search engines included a quote which mentioned the benefits of a disclosure from search engines "of the underlying rules (or algorithms) governing indexing, searching, and prioritizing, stated in a way that is meaningful to the majority of Web users." Another, in June, focused upon a complaint filed by a consumer advocacy group with the FTC, asking for better disclosure from search engines.

On a number of the engines, it isn't always easy to tell which results were based upon relevance to a search performed, and which results were returned because the site's owners paid to have the results shown. The Federal Trade Commission responded to the complaint by sending a letter to a number of search engines asking them to make that distinction easier for their visitors to see and understand.

News.com has a followup, which looks at how the engines have responded. They also raise some other issues.

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