Back in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued 1-800 Contacts, claiming the online retailer devised an anticompetitive scheme with other online lens retailers to restrict search terms. The FTC charged that 1-800 Contacts and its competitors entered into agreements which prevented the other online contact lens retailers from bidding for search engine keywords in advertising auctions conducted by internet search engines, such as Google and Yahoo.
Last week, in a separate but related consumer class action, 1-800 Contacts settled with consumer-plaintiffs who brought suit in the Central District of Utah alleging similar facts. The consumer complaint alleged that 1-800 Contacts forced some of its competitors to implement negative keyword lists so that when a potential consumer typed “1-800 Contacts,” no links to other retailers would appear in the search results and instead would only se links directing to 1-800 Contacts’ website. Continue Reading