Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EU Accuses Google Of Search Results Tampering

European Union regulators have launched an launches antitrust probe into Google's handling and potential abuse of search rankings. At question is rather or not Google is using its dominant position in the online search market to stifle competition by deliberately lowering links to smaller rivals' sites in the companies own search results.

The European Commission announced today that it has decided to open an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google Inc. has abused a dominant position in online search, in violation of European Union rules (Article 102 TFEU). The opening of formal proceedings follows complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google's unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google's own services. This initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has proof of any infringements. It only signifies that the Commission will conduct an in-depth investigation of the case as a matter of priority.

Several competitors, one owned by Microsoft, say that links to their services appear too low on Google's general search results. They also claim that when Google offers similar services, such as online price comparison, it puts its own links higher on the sponsored search results, the ones companies have to pay for.

In addition, the Commission will look into whether Google prevented advertising partners from posting ads from Google's competitors on their sites and whether it was making it more difficult for customers to move data from their advertising campaigns to other ad platforms.

If Google is found guilty of tampering with results to unfavorably position the competition lower in its ranks the company could could potentially face billions in fines, as in the recent cases levied against Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp.

Google has responded to the allegations, "It may seem obvious, but people sometimes forget this—not every website can come out on top, or even appear on the first page of our results, so there will almost always be website owners who are unhappy about their rankings," wrote Google SVP Susan Wojcicki and VP Udi Manber on the company's European Public Policy Blog.

Related Articles:

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be moderate for content, please be patient as your comment will appear as soon as it has been reviewed.

Thank you