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SEMPO To Feds: Hands Off Google
The search trade association SEMPO sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz asking for regulators to restrain their urge to regulate Google. In the letter SEMPO argues “Free-market innovation in the Search industry is a key element in ensuring that the Internet continues to serve humanity’s needs as our reservoir of vital information and empowerment. No one will be well served if this innovation dries up or is stifled by regulation.”
The letter presents a range of arguments, some of which have previously also been made on this site, about the dangers of regulating the SERP. It’s an impassioned plea for a “hands off” or “free market” approach.
The problem, however, is that numerous publishers and third parties are calling for regulation. Today Barry wrote about ShopCity, a Canada-based local directory site that has filed an antitrust complaint against Google. It’s just the latest in a series of complainants to argue that Google is acting in an anti-competitive way.
It’s increasingly unlikely that Google will escape the antitrust investigations in the US and Europe completely untouched and unscathed. What I would envision, however, is some process-oriented approach that allowed companies to complain about what they perceived to be unfair practices and have some redress without involving regulators in direct oversight of the SERP or Google’s algorithm.
Sempo Search Regulation Arti