FairSearch.org, a consortium of companies that originally came together to oppose the Google acquisition of ITA and includes Tavelocity, Microsoft and TripAdvisor among others, has added several new members to its ranks and launched an anti-Google print-ad campaign. Entitled “Good to Know,” the ads seek to expose “truths” about Google and its alleged conflicts of interest.
The ads argue that Google unfairly promotes its own products, delivers search results that aren’t objective or in the best interests of users and doesn’t respect user privacy. The ads assert that they’re telling the public things that “Google doesn’t want you to know.”
The new members of FairSearch.org include the Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA), Twenga, which just filed an antitrust complaint against Google in Europe and ShopCity.com, a local-community shopping destination.
The combination of a more openly competitive (even combative) attitude coming out of Google, recent sweeping changes in search and a spate of negative press have created new dangers for the company’s public image. While there is no immediate threat to its search and advertising leadership, regulators and lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly skeptical and critical of Google, and competitors have mobilized against the company — as reflected in the “Good to Know” campaign.
Yet, for the most part, the debates surrounding Google’s “fairness” are mostly happening among industry insiders and have yet to penetrate to the level of mainstream awareness. FairSearch.org has been trying to change that with a steady stream of anti-Google PR and messaging.
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