FairSearch.org Introduces Anti-Google “Good To Know” Ad Campaign

FairSearch.org, a consortium of companies that originally came together to oppose the Google acquisition of ITA and includes Tavelocity, Microsoft and TripAdvisor among others, has added several new members to its ranks and launched an anti-Google print-ad campaign. Entitled “Good to Know,” the ads seek to expose “truths” about Google and its alleged conflicts of interest.

The ads argue that Google unfairly promotes its own products, delivers search results that aren’t objective or in the best interests of users and doesn’t respect user privacy. The ads assert that they’re telling the public things that “Google doesn’t want you to know.”

The new members of FairSearch.org include the Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA), Twenga, which just filed an antitrust complaint against Google in Europe and ShopCity.com, a local-community shopping destination.

Google has had a run of negative press lately, including alleged bad behavior in Kenya, controversy over Search Plus Your World, its more recent privacy policy changes and the return of the Google “illegal pharma ads” incident with new details surrounding the criminal “sting” against Google.

The combination of a more openly competitive (even combative) attitude coming out of Google, recent sweeping changes in search and a spate of negative press have created new dangers for the company’s public image. While there is no immediate threat to its search and advertising leadership, regulators and lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly skeptical and critical of Google, and competitors have mobilized against the company — as reflected in the “Good to Know” campaign.

Yet, for the most part, the debates surrounding Google’s “fairness” are mostly happening among industry insiders and have yet to penetrate to the level of mainstream awareness. FairSearch.org has been trying to change that with a steady stream of anti-Google PR and messaging.

Related Entries

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Antitrust | Google: Critics | Legal: Regulation

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • adamryp

    Wait. A group formed by Microsoft/Bing is criticising Google for running a search engine funded by ads? Isn’t that exactly what Bing is doing, too?

    And Travelocity is even worse – they don’t have free/organic listings, only monetized listings, right?

  • http://www.seoskeptic.com/ Aaron Bradley

    The consortium lost me with the domain name FairSearch.org. That this type of Orwellian newspeak has become common in naming conventions doesn’t make it less distasteful.

    Tavelocity, Microsoft and TripAdvisor couldn’t care less about what’s “fair.” Either does Google. That’s because all of the above are corporate entities whose sworn and legal duty is to maximize their profitability for their shareholders.

    There’s nothing wrong with this. And there’s nothing wrong about complaining that a commercial rival isn’t pushing customers your way (though that sort of whining is somewhat pathetic). But there is something wrong – or at the very least transparently disingenuous – in misrepresenting your motives.

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