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Telstra subsidiary accused of misleading and -

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(generated from captions) for its own gain. evidence that it has done just that, But the 7.30 Report has found reports. as finance editor Emma Alberici

Dad? Guy's sellin' a pair of

jousting sticks. Jousting stoiks?

What's he want for 'em. Make us an

offer. Give him a call snl Yeah.

In the 1997 Australian film 'The

Castle', 'The Trading Post' was

cast as the bargain hunter's bible,

the Kerrigan family its devout

users. Dad? 450. For jousting

sticks? Tell him he's dreamin'!

'The Trading Post' of today is no

longer simply that fat weekly

publication. Its on-line version is

now a much bigger deal, an enormous

range of new and used items for

and just a click away. Last year, range of new and used items for sale

when Telstra picked up 'The Trading

Post', everyone thought it was

dreaming. It paid $636 million, and

folded it into the Sensis

directories business. Would the

investment pay off? Well, maybe

game. depends on how you play the on-line investment pay off? Well, maybe that

Michael owns Stickybeek, an on-line

classifieds business that employs

three people and is run from a

backyard shed in Newcastle. We're

not even a threat to 'The Trading

Post'. It's totally beyond me why

they would even contemplate going

down the road that they did, to try

and destroy us in the way that they

did. It's comparatively small but

the Hunter region it's one of 'The did. It's comparatively small but in

Trading Post' biggest competitors,

especially in the highly lucrative

ought motive --ought motive market.

In the October last year, Michael

became suspicious. His Internet

customers seemed to be turning up

somewhere else - 'The Trading Post'.

We just could not believe it.

Michael Garnham investigation. A

simple test, punch the Stickybeek

name into a search engine and click

on the result and he quickly

discovered the destination was not

Stickybeek but the 'The Trading

Post''s auto trader web site.

I have no doubt that with people

being able to access the Stickybeek

word on Google, we would've without

a doubt lost business. Here is

Telstra's explanation. 'The Trading

Post' pays Google, Yahoo and other

search engines for the right to use

40,000 so-called sponsored links,

links tripped by specific words and

phrases that direct Internet

to its own site. In this case, phrases that direct Internet traffic

spicky beak was one of those words

but curiously Michael's trademark

felt with a EE and still it tossed but curiously Michael's trademark is

up redirection. Google for one

claims not to permit the use of

trademarks as key words. Trouble is,

the own

the owner needs to find out first

and Michael did not for six months

There are real questions about the

legality there. Is a misleading

deceptive conduct to it. It's a legality there. Is a misleading and

David and Goliath story, the

of course is Telstra, the David is David and Goliath story, the Goliath

three-person company in my of course is Telstra, the David is a

electorate called Stickybeek.

Newcastle MP Sharon Grierson take

up her constituent's complaint in

parliament, and with the

competition an consumer commission. parliament, and with the Australian

I think they think that they

certainly can get away with it,

there will be no penalty, no full certainly can get away with it, that

ACCC court decision, that they are

certainly above the law in many

respects. The ACCC investigated the

matter and determined 'The Trading

Post''s conduct may have contra tra

veened two sections of the Trade

Practices Act. Section 52 prohibits

misleading and deceptive conduct

section 53 D says a company can't misleading and deceptive conduct and

represent that it has a sponsorship,

approval or affiliation it doesn't

have. The regulator decided not to

take the issue any further, because

'The Trading Post' agreed to stop

using its competitors' names an

trademarks as sponsored links.

It's wrong. They should have been

held accountable, it should have

gone before the full commission and

it should have been taken to court.

'The Trading Post' is no longer

using the Stickybeek name, but

three months after giving the ACCC using the Stickybeek name, but just

an undertaking that it would not

its competitors' names and an undertaking that it would not use

trademarks in sponsored links on

Internet, it's at it again. When trademarks in sponsored links on the

get Kloster Ford up, here is Internet, it's at it again. When you

Ford at the top of the screen. get Kloster Ford up, here is Kloster

If you click on Kloster Ford, what

happens? You click on Kloster Ford,

you will actually go straight to

'The Trading Post'. Newcastle's

Kloster Ford is one of the

top 10 Ford dealerships. It sells Kloster Ford is one of the country's

cars on its own web site but the

very first result on a Google

takes you to 'The Trading Post'. very first result on a Google search

It's the same on Yahoo, only there,

the link is even more brazen. It

cries out new and used Ford Kloster

cars but you won't find any of them

there when you click on it. Your

cars are not advertised on 'The

Trading Post'? No, that's right.

We've given no authority for 'The

Trading Post' to do that. Do you

consider 'The Trading Post' a

competitor? Absolutely. If people

are searching on Kloster cars, we

want them to go to Kloster cars and

see Kloster cars. We found the same

thing was happening to no fewer

eight other motor dealerships in thing was happening to no fewer than

Newcastle area. We typed their eight other motor dealerships in the

into the Google search engine to Newcastle area. We typed their names

find that in every case, the

take you to 'The Trading Post'. find that in every case, the results

Barnier from Jesmond Light take you to 'The Trading Post'. Mark

Commercials has also complained to

the ACC. We're not happy with T we

don't think that 'The Trading Post'

should be trying to cash in on our

name. In response to our request

answers about the practice, a name. In response to our request for

representative sent us a statement answers about the practice, a Sensis

claiming that 'The Trading Post' is

eager to ensure search engines are

fair and accessible playground for eager to ensure search engines are a

all marketers. The ACCC told us it

was aware that 'The Trading Post'

had again begun using its

competitors' names in sponsored

links and was looking into it. John

Kench, one of the country's leading

competition and consumer protection

lawyers, believes the regulator

be less kind to Telstra this time lawyers, believes the regulator will

around I'd expect the commission

will really investigate this one,

especially from the point of view

looking at what harm might be done especially from the point of view of

to a lot of rivals of a

Telstra-owned business. That's the

heart of it. That they kept doing

after a warning from ACCC is just heart of it. That they kept doing it

scandalous, and totally

unacceptable. Erring nom Mick

chairs, four of 'em. What's he want?

180. He's dreamin'! Maybe we've

dreaming because 48 hours after we 180. He's dreamin'! Maybe we've been approached 'The Trading Post' the

discuss the complaints the links

steering competitors' customers to

its own site no longer exist. Finance editor Emma Alberici. The Government's message that we should all expect to extend our working lives to help make up the growing shortfall of younger workers may not have got through yet to corporate Australia, but there's a postman in Victoria who didn't need any urging. Bill Cantlin is 72 and has been delivering the mail for more than half a century, earning him the honour of being Australia's longest-serving postie. And, as Natasha Johnson reports,

he's showing no sign of hanging up his mail bag.

With the moon still high over the