Ralph Nader\'s Commercial Alert has accused Hotbot and other search engines of ordering query results based on fees paid to them:
COMMERCIAL ALERT, a 3-year-old group founded by consumer activist Ralph Nader, asked the FTC to investigate whether eight of the Web’s largest search engines are violating federal laws against deceptive advertising. The group said that the search engines are abandoning objective formulas to determine the order of their listed results, and selling the top spots to the highest bidders without making adequate disclosures to Web surfers. . . The complaint touches a hot-button issue affecting tens of millions of people who submit search queries each day. With more than 2 billion pages and more than 14 billion hyperlinks on the Web, search requests rank as the second most popular online activity after e-mail. [More from MSNBC].
Thanks again to the invaluable geeks at Slashdot :)