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Complaint to FTC Claims Amazon Search Results Full of Ads 'Unlawfully Deceiving' Consumers

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The sponsored logo in Amazon product offerings is shown in 2019 on a computer in New York.

Because Amazon does not always clearly label sponsored results, many consumers could be deceived into clicking on them without knowing.

Credit: Richard Drew/AP

Amazon doesn't distinguish well enough between paid ads and organic search results, something that could trick consumers, according to a new complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday.

More than a quarter of search results on Amazon are paid ads, according to the complaint filed by the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions. But because the company doesn't clearly label sponsored results, Amazon could be "unlawfully deceiving" customers into clicking on them without knowing, a practice that raises questions about the integrity and quality of Amazon's search results, the petition alleges.

The complaint, shared exclusively with The Washington Post, is based on an analysis of more than 130,000 search results for popular products, ranging from batteries to jewelry.

From The Washington Post
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