Conflict Of Interest Dooms Paid Inclusion

from the gotta-change dept

The folks over at Jupiter are saying that the business model for paid inclusion search terms needs to change. They point out what everyone here already knows: in using a “pay-per-click” model there’s a clear conflict of interest for the search provider. The more clicks they get, the more money they make, and thus, their incentive is to push those results higher in the search, rather than having the most relevant results come up first. Thus, Jupiter suggests that the cloud of suspicion over paid inclusion will hold back the market until they switch to something like a flat rate pricing system (though, even that raises some concerns). Of course, I’m not so sure this is how things will happen. The FTC has been warning search engines that use paid inclusion that they need to stop, and that hasn’t done any good. At this point, most surfers have no idea what paid inclusion is, or that their search results might be tainted by links that people are paying for. Thus, as long as the search engines are still making money, most people don’t know what’s going on and the government doesn’t really crack down on the practice, it’s unlikely it’s going to stop any time soon.

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Comments on “Conflict Of Interest Dooms Paid Inclusion”

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Chad (user link) says:

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Can’t search engines just put paid results on the side of regular results like Google does? Am I missing something or does this totally eliminate this issue?

BTW with all the back-scratching non-enforcement of regulatory law that’s going on, going after SEARCH ENGINES is an amazingly low-priority thing for the federales to do in my opinion.

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