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Re: Legality of search bots

From: Geri Konstantin <geri_at_virtualadv.com>
Date: Sun 28 May 2000 13:17:05 -0400

BOEY TAIK BOON <tbb_at_post1.com> WROTE:
> Is a search bot utility legal?
>
> This search bot is a utility that resides in the PC and
> does a composite search using the search results of
> other established search engines. However this utility
> only displays the results and links but does not grab
> and display the advertisement banner that would have
> appeared on the page of the search engine itself. That
> would deprive the advertiser who paid for the banner
> his due impression - am I correct?

In answer to your questions - yes and no.

I believe that search bot utilities are legal. I do not
believe that they are depriving advertisers if they do
not pick up advertisements on other sites. To the
contrary, I feel they should NOT pick up the ads for
the following reasons (note I am not a lawyer, but an
ad pro of 30 years):

1) Search bots gather information from publicly
accessed sources. A search engine examines other
websites and does not need an agreement to do so. The
search bot does the same, except through other search
engines. Therefore they should not need to "ask
permission" or sign an agreement with individual search
engines.

2) When an advertiser buys advertising from Yahoo, e.g.
they are buying space and paying to advertise to
individuals who will come to the Yahoo site and search.
An Advertiser is not purchasing third party ad
viewership when they purchase an ad on a search engine
site. An Advertiser cannot rationally expect to
purchase viewership of ads on an unnamed third party
site without purchasing space directly from that site.

3) Technically a third party site could be in copyright
violation and/or possible trademark violation
reproducing ads/trademarks for which they have no
agreement with the advertiser.

4) The advertiser would unfairly get "free advertising"
through the third party site if their ads were shown
with regularity.

5) Lastly, the owner of the third party search bot site
would not get the benefits of payment for displaying
the ads, therefore hurting the owner and the
advertising industry as a whole.

If advertising is to propogate and survive on the
Internet, we must work out viable means of ad delivery.
In my professional opinion, banner ads are not the best
way to go and may prove themselves over time to be more
irritating than helpful, thus damaging
advertisers/products, not building awareness and sales.
(Most banner ads are irritating enough already -
ranking right up there with pop-up window ads).

Geri Konstantin, Principal
Stunz | Konstantin
http://GetTheMostForYourMoney.net




Received on Sun May 28 2000 - 12:17:05 CDT


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