Consumer Protection

For the first time, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States will conduct an inquiry into Google which will not be limited to mergers and acquisitions, or violations of privacy, but fundamental issues relating to Google’s core search advertising business model.

Type Google into Google Images and this is the second image that comes up. Original at

This follows the European Commission probe which commenced late last year. The European Commission stated that it “will investigate whether Google has abused a dominant market position in online search by allegedly lowering the ranking of unpaid search results of competing services which are specialised in providing users with specific online content such as price comparisons (so‐called vertical search services) and by according preferential placement to the results of its own vertical search services in order to shut out competing services.”

Google has argued over the years that it does not manipulate search results and that its algorithms are designed solely to deliver the most relevant results to search queries; however it has fiercely protected its algorithm or secret black box.

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  • Harquebus says:

    11:32am | 05/07/11

    Somebody forgot to tell Bill Gates. Read more »

  • Phil S says:

    09:17am | 05/07/11

    This article is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve read for a while. 1) The author doesn’t fully understand the internet, as they called gmail and “email program”. Email programs (like outlook) interface with any POP3 email server, the server being the device that manages you email address. Gmail provides… Read more »


Have you had a close look at Wayne Swan’s December 2010 bank package? Don’t worry if you haven’t yet as you haven’t missed much.

Don’t let the guy in the left corner’s likeness to Wayne Swan fool you. The treasurer’s December 2010 bank package has no fizz whatsoever.

For those who have, it’s clear that it’s so light handed and minimalist that the big banks aren’t bothered by it. In fact, the big banks have even told the Senate banking inquiry that they actually like aspects of the package.

So much for Swan’s tough talk regarding the big banks. Given how much of a fizzer the package will be, one has to wonder if Swan’s announcement was more about being seen to be “doing something” in response to the public anger towards the big banks.

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  • Ryan says:

    08:05pm | 03/02/11

    @nossy: sorry nossy, I am not ignoring you, I am just finding it really hard to type with all the laughing I am doing, “respected journalist Laurie Oakes” oh stop stop it hurts. Read more »

  • JB says:

    12:11pm | 03/02/11

    The real problem for those wanting to switch banks is not and has never been exit fees (unless you are trying to exit a fixed rate before the end of the fixed term). From the Big 4 they are generally less than $1,000 if you switch in the first 3-4… Read more »


With consumers already being let down so badly on grocery issues by Mr Rudd and his Competition Minister Craig Emerson, you’d think that they would do better on basic consumer law issues. Well, you’d be very disappointed as Minister Emerson has presided over a continual watering down of consumer rights in the vital area of unfair contract terms.

Unfair contract terms may prevent the sale of items like this

We know or should know about unfair contract terms. We more commonly know them as the “fine print” in consumer contracts. These are the nasty terms of the contract that stack the contract well and truly in favour of the larger party, commonly a big business. Banks use unfair contract terms as do mobile phone companies. Car hire companies and your local gym also try to stack the contract terms in their favour.

Unfair contract terms are also found in contracts that small businesses may have with larger businesses. Small businesses also deal with banks, mobile phone companies and car hire companies. In this regard, small businesses are also consumers of basic goods and services. Sadly, small businesses can also get hit with unfair contract terms in franchise agreements, retail leases and supply agreements.

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  • hotel tunesien says:

    01:37am | 20/04/10

    Cold Attach,us indicate body output joint need think popular structure secure what and expense its suggestion plant apart contrast job rock estate vision history sound so pool suitable across league telephone surface forget opinion associate force withdraw careful still membership sight dog call charge employee opinion what professional girl teaching… Read more »

  • H of SA says:

    03:56pm | 01/04/10

    If contracts we’re reasonable to read and undestand, then the number of jobs for lawyers would sink like a stone Read more »


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