• daveintheuk

    Brilliant, the FTC has just given Google a green light to continue to manipulate search results in their own favour. Let’s hope the EU have more balls than this.

  • http://www.showcasemarketing.com/ideablog/ Bill Freedman

    I see more nuance here. A 19 month detailed investigation isn’t a green light. Google is aware they are under continuous observation…and don’t want to be put under supervision.

    As for search results being manipulated in their own favor, you’re right. They’ve created a money press for their shareholders and employees. Their high valuation is in their unique ability to produce results that are good for them and keep users coming back for more.

    Others are trying to do better, and have a chance to succeed. Google has a deep pocket competitor (MSFT/Bing), an innovative competitors (blekko) and many, many niche competitors (Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc.). Who will win? Maybe Google…or maybe several players….I don’t pretend to know.

    The is a great case where the FTC did a good thing by getting into Google’s face, but allowing the marketplace to answer the really tough questions.

  • http://twitter.com/ShanePBrady Shane P. Brady

    If you don’t like it, then don’t use Google. Google has the right to display whatever they think is the best result for a particular search.

  • Durant Imboden

    I wonder how much the FTC’s unproductive fishing expedition cost the taxpayers?

  • Pat Grady

    Google can’t scrape data… caw, caw! Did you hear that Raven?

  • http://twitter.com/musiclmissionry Musical Missionary

    The FTC’s job isn’t to coddle butthurt competitors. It’s to ensure market power isn’t abused to harm consumers. They did their job here .

  • http://federicoeinhorn.com/ Fede Einhorn

    Google is doing it right. If someone disagrees then is you who are on the wrong side. There are several other engines to choose from.

    The messy side is that we are all (almost) looking at Google because we know their size and results by ranking better there than on others.

  • http://www.michaelcropper.co.uk/ Michael Cropper

    What an absolute joke! Maybe the FTC didn’t read Google’s business plan in full, http://www.michaelcropper.co.uk/2012/06/googles-business-plan-steal-content-and-screw-publishers-1081.html

  • http://twitter.com/garethowen1 Gareth Owen

    In the UK at least, they are engaging in anti-competitive activity, placing their own financial comparison results above those of existing companies. Having bought a price comparison site, Google are clearly breaking the advertising rules here. It would be like a TV company buying Geico and serving their ads during every TV break before and after a competitor’s ad.

    I can understand the FTC’s case – “Google is clearly one of the great american companies” said the main guy in charge of the investigation, so no bias there, then. Fortunately in Europe no one will care about that. If the EU don’t rule against them then there is something very wrong as the breach is clear.

  • http://www.delivra.com/ Cody Sharp

    Search for ‘social network’ and then ‘word processor’, Google clearly isn’t placing themselves above their stronger competitors in these search results. Facebook comes up on the 2nd page (I never saw Google+) and for word processor, Office comes up 2nd (after a wikipedia article) and Google is forced to advertise to be relevant for this search term. The FTC did the right thing here. While Google clearly holds tremendous power over a company’s success, I have seen no obvious manipulations of search data against major competitors.

  • steven75

    Not a fan of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, I take it?

  • daveintheuk

    I’m not, generally I find their results too cluttered and the quality of the organic results going downhill fast (presumably to make their own content look as if it is the only choice)… but as a publisher, I’m sick of them abusing their position in the market, abusing my content and lying.

  • daveintheuk

    You are right that they will remain in the spotlight, but how likely are the FTC to take action? Everyone in the industry knows what Google is doing – it is obvious (and understandable as they are a corporation with shareholders to reward)… it seems to me the FTC have either missed things or willingly ignored them.

    I hope some of the other competitors you mention succeed, but I fear the day for small, knowledgeable (actual knowledge, not scraped data like their “knowledge graph”) publishers who really know their subject and care about the content they produce are gone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mjardeen Michael Jardeen

    The SEP/FRAND piece is huge and will also impact Samsung as both companies are being investigated here and in Europe. The outcome is a blow in their fight with Apple over mobile patents. Both Motorola and Samsung have more SEP patents that will now have to be licensed fairly, rather than being used for highway robbery.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mjardeen Michael Jardeen

    Actually Shane they don’t have that right if they violate anti-trust laws. The simple concept that people seem to miss is that being a monopoly is not illegal, but abusing that position is. It was not illegal for Microsoft to be a monopolist, what was illegal was what they did with that monopoly. They were convicted of anti-trust violations, just as Google could be if they are not careful. Nothing in this decision precludes legal action by other parties and means that Google has only gotten breathing room.

  • daveintheuk

    Yup, I know many UK publishers who have gone bust or given up – not because of traditional competition – but because the people who control 93% of the search market are giving their own products massive preference.

    Nobody begrudges Google entering the content space (although I wonder why they do when they aren’t interested in it, or particularly good at it) – but it seems reasonable that given their monopoly on search/traffic they should be forced to treat their own properties. How would their Google+ Local or “Knowledge” Graph content fare under Panda… rather badly I suspect.

  • Chris B

    What does everyone know that “Google is doing”? I seem to have missed this, my understanding is that they are putting their mapping, image and shopping products featured to on their home page into a text search page that is also featured on their homepage. Do no evil indeed.

    Is hybridization of maps, images, and text an “abuse of monopoly”? If so, what is the legal extent to which the Sherman Act, a 120 year old law predating computers that hasn’t since been updated, explicitly limits multimedia and text search hybridization?

  • daveintheuk

    Giving unfair prominence to their own content (which generally isn’t theirs at all). Ranking their products differently to others – why should a Google+ Local page for a business with nothing but an address and phone number be ranked above detailed, well written pages (Panda not applied to their own stuff). Restricting access to keyword data (except when advertisers are paying) under the banner of user privacy (despite the fact that they are using that keyword data themselves). etc etc etc

  • Chris B

    Answer the damn question, shill.

  • Chris B


  • Evan Rinehart

    The question of whether Google has feasible competitors is irrelevant. For the services they deliver it’s lucky they cost as little as they do. It’s a good thing that greedy competitors were not able to use law enforcement for profit in this case.