In late June an article was published HERE on Performance Marketing Insider concerning a letter from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to 24 search based internet companies. The letter was specifically about the formatting and location of paid advertisements on search results pages. At the time the FTC only said, “AOL, ASK, Bing, Blekko, Duck Duck Go, Google and Yahoo” were sent these letters, along with “17 of the most heavily trafficked” sites. At this time it refused to disclose the name of the additional sites who received the letter.
Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the names of these additional companies. That request has finally been processed, revealing the names of the additional 17 companies to receive the letter. The full list of previously unreleased companies is as follows:
- Yellow Pages
- Yahoo Local
- Yahoo Travel
Why these specific companies were targeted when hundreds of other sites which use search to help provide customers with information were left off the list. Some sites, such as Yahoo Local and Yahoo Travel were specifically sent letters even though Yahoo’s main search engine was also sent one. Others, like Bing were sent one letter to the main search department and the other companies owned by Microsoft were left off the list.
There has been no other significant information released by the FTC, the search companies or 3rd parties since the original letters went out regarding what, if any, changes have been or will be made. You can read about the content of the letters from the FTC in the previous post from June, HERE.