Google has successfully overturned a ruling at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission relating to search results published in 2006 & 2007. The Commission had previously ruled unanimously that Google was responsible for the content of it’s sponsored Pay Per Click AdSense ads that contained links to a car sales website CarSales. The ads had been shown by Google in response to a search for Honda Australia. The ACCC said the ads were deceptive, as they suggested that the CarSales website was associated with the Honda company.

The Federal Court had previously unanimously found Google guilty of engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct by publishing these links, but Google has now reversed that decision by appealing to the Australian High Court.

Google was found not liable for misleading advertisements run through AdWords despite the fact that the ads were served up by Google and created using the company’s tools.

This case sets an important precedent for all search engines that may have an important impact on what kind of ads they display in the future. It also sets a case for what is deemed to be acceptable in this type of advertising.

It has now been ruled by the Australian High Court that Google cannot be held responsible for which adverts (or what links) are displayed in response for a particular search term. “The High Court’s decision focused only on Google’s conduct. In the facts and circumstances of this case the High Court has determined that Google did not itself engage in misleading or deceptive conduct” Mr Sims of the High Court said.

See: http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/google-appeal-upheld