Most Shared

The Real Deal

The Real Deal

text size

The Real Deal: Google Shopping Results

Updated: Thursday, January 30 2014, 10:08 PM EST
ALBANY—Are Google's shopping results deceptive?  According to a consumer watchdog group they're nothing more than advertisements for the highest bidding online retailers.  The group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
The way most of us do research these days is to type it into Google.  Take for instance, shopping for a new TV.  When you type "LCD TV" into Google, up pops a number of sponsored ads on top of the page, pictures of sponsored ads on the side panel and more sponsored ads below that.  "They're making the amount that's not sponsored smaller and smaller," says Larry Zimbler of Liberteks in Albany and that's what Consumer Watchdog has complained to the FTC about.  The non-profit thinks Google is being deceptive, especially because often the sponsored ads aren't offering customers the best deal on a particular product.
"They've changed the system so much, there's got to be some level of confusion especially now because you're going to see those ads within your applications that you have when you run something on a phone or tablet now too," Zimbler says.  So, how can you make sure you're not being misled?  Zimbler recommends using the same set of key words in a few different search engines when you're comparing prices online.  You may also want to do your comparisons a few times on a few different days.  Always look for small icons in the upper corner of a search labeled "sponsored" before you click because even if you don't buy, chances are Google is getting paid anyway, "they're billing the advertiser directly for you seeing the ad, or clicking the ad or both," Zimbler says.
The Real Deal: Google Shopping Results

Advertise with us!

Related Stories

Hello and thank you for stopping by The Real Deal web-page! I'm hoping you'll find some useful information here. I (Jennifer Lewke) will be updating this page daily to bring you the latest news on anything and everything that may impact your wallet. Whether it's a bad business trying to rip you off, a contractor who took your money and ran, the government wasting your tax dollars, or a telemarketer who just won't stop calling, my goal is to uncover it and hopefully prevent it from happening again!

On the right-hand side of this page, you'll see a section labled "Links" --these will all take you to websites for organizations that help protect consumers. Most of the groups have the authority to fine or shut down bad businesses so it's important to file the proper complaints to get some action.

I'm happy to look into any issue you have to get you the Real Deal. You can reach me anytime at (518) 381-4992 or by email at I hope to hear from you soon!

Top Stories

Advertise with us!


  • New York State Attorney General's Office
    Consumer complaints against a business or service in New York state

  • Federal Trade Commission
    Consumer complaints against a nation-wide company

  • New York Public Service Commission
    Consumer complaints about utility companies

  • Consumer Finanical Protection Bureau
    Consumer complaints about a bank, credit card company, or loan company

  • New York State Division of Consumer Protection
    Identity theft and scam protection

  • Phishing Scams
    How to protect yourself from phishing scams

  • Free Credit Reports
    Everyone is entitled to one free copy of a credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus once a year

  • Unsolicited Emails
    To check out unsolicited emails

  • Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
    Free legal advice