While doing a little research this morning, I stumbed onto a paid advertisement within Google for Ask.com, informing me that I could booking BreakFree hotels & resorts from within the Australian localised Ask.com portal.
Being the curious kind of person, I followed their advertisement and was quite shocked by how deceptive they were with their ad and also the page it took me to.
Instead of Ask.com providing some sort of useful service inside their portal, they provided 10 Google advertising results front and center which were displayed as though they were organic results, followed by actual organic results (click the image for an expanded screenshot of their handy work).
I don’t necessarily have a problem with then doing paid advertising within Google for services that they offer (though in this case, they don’t have a service relating to my search results which was very deceptive). However, I do have a beef with the way they frame or lack there of, of the paid results from Google within Ask.com search results. If they had placed the same 10 results in the right hand side gutter or boxed them with a different background colour – then at least the user would have a chance of knowing the difference.
I wonder whether or not that sort of behaviour falls within the Google terms of service? It actually reminds me of when Microsoft were advertising on Google for MSN Messenger and taking the user into more search results within Live Search.