Welcome to Trust Issues. In this series we show problems we encounter on our internet travels. Issues that make you think and rethink about sites and services you have confidence in.
We were looking at a hotel called Mondrian London. It had changed its name to Sea Containers London. In these screenshots you see the first organic result is Mondrian London which takes you to an opportunistic phishing site to lure people looking to book the hotel. The site was not blocked by anti-phishing services including Google Safe Browsing. The advert for Sea Containers comes above this in the search results. Not everyone clicks on adverts — some avoid them out of principle. This means that the top result, considered safe and trusted by Google, is actually untrusted and dangerous.
When looking at the second screenshot, with the query “mondrian london”, there is no advert and the phishing site is the top result.
We searched for FullStory, an analytics company. We’re presented with an advert for a direct competitor above the relevant result and above the advert paid by FullStory. We don’t think this is right — relevance and trust should come first.