Consumers Union, long a trusted name in rating consumer products, has launched the "Web Credibility Project," which will try to measure how well websites disclose business relationships with the companies and products they cover or sell, especially when these relationships pose a potential conflict of interest. "Consider ibreathe.com," explains the Wall Street Journal. "At first glance, ibreathe appears to be an independent health-information site, serving up advice about asthma, allergies and other respiratory ailments, but visitors have to scroll to the bottom of the page to learn that the site is operated by GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Consumers interested in asthma medications, for example, are provided with information on GlaxoSmithKline drugs. Another example offered by Consumers Union's Brendler is the Web site of Keep America Beautiful," which "looks like a grass-roots organization's Web outpost" when in reality KAB's corporate backers include "200 companies that manufacture aluminum cans, paper goods, glass bottles and plastics."
Consumers Union: Let's Measure Web Credibility