American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a company that provides addiction treatment services. They recently filed suit against the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers(NAATP), alleging that this trade organization performed anti-competitive and defamatory practices against them.
In the lawsuit, AAC says that the NAATP coordinated an effort to manipulate its Google search results. This trade group misrepresented AAC to the organization that is responsible for certifying for Google which companies qualify as an addiction-center advertiser.
American Addiction Centers has a network of addiction-treatment centers in the United States. They also have a collection of websites that share information about addiction and where to get help. Their website is Recovery Brands. They also operate Addiction Labs of American where they conduct testing. The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers has over 900 member organizations.
ACC alleges it as well as its websites, recovery.org and rehabs.com were unable to do advertising on Google because the NAATP blocked them from doing so. The NAATP, they say, convinced Google to prevent bad actors from engaging in advertising directed at addicts. In turn, Google created software called LegitScript.
The purpose of LegitScript is to police the addiction providers who can advertise on the Google platform. This software’s goal is to stop deceptive and unethical marketing practices. There are companies in the addiction sector that would present themselves as an unbiased addiction helpline.
In actuality, they had received compensation to send people to specific addiction-treatment facilities. Some of these companies would even hack the web listings of other providers and change phone numbers so that users would call them instead. Read more: American Addiction Centers | Crunchbase and American Addiction Centers New Docuseries Unveils The Realities of Recovery
American Addiction Centers states that they never conducted their business in a deceptive or unethical manner. They say that the NAATP used their influence to convince LegitScript and Google that AAC was one of the “bad actors” in the industry. They said in their complaint that the result was that AAC was unable to work with LegitScript. Additionally, the lawsuit says that Google created a subsidiary named OneFifteen treatment center which allowed Google to both provide leads and act as an addiction-treatment provider.
Since AAC couldn’t advertise using the Google platform, they had a large decrease in the number of third-party addiction-services providers who advertised on their websites. They also saw a decline in their diagnostic lab testing business and a reduction in the number of patients going to one of their treatment centers.
Some of the advertisers on AAC’s network left because they were deeply concerned that LegitScript and the NAATP would discriminate against them if they remained, the lawsuit claims. Additionally, AAC wasn’t allowed to remain a member of the NAATP after an unannounced change in its ethical standards.
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