E-commerce leaders move to fight deceptive online ads

The Alliance Against Bait & Click is focused on keyword advertising

However some trademark owners like American Airlines have sued Google over its practice of allowing other advertisers to buy and use its trademark in their ads. American abruptly dropped its lawsuit last month, leading experts to believe the company reached a deal with Google over the matter.

"For us, getting involved was to help create additional awareness about the issue," said John Gustafson, director for distribution and Internet strategy at Northwest Airlines. "We're approaching the issue on a number of fronts, and I'm sure the other participants are doing whatever they can to protect their trademark terms. We are doing that by engaging with the search engines themselves in addition to getting in touch with, and communicating directly with, those people we see violating those trademarks. So this was just a natural fit with the other activities we're doing to protect our trademark."

In addition to providing tips and tools to help users spot and avoid scam ads, the AABC Web site features a petition to the Federal Trade Commission calling for tighter controls. The AABC is also encouraging users to contact search engines directly to report scam ads and request tighter filters.

"We encourage consumers to look before they click and avoid ads that look suspicious. The less people click on bogus ads, the less money the search engines and fraudulent advertisers will make, and the quicker the [scam ads] will go away," said Jarrod Agen, spokesman for AABC, in the statement.

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