• Shivaun

    I am CEO and co-founder of SearchNeutrality.org and Foundem, one of the companies at the center of the European Commission’s formal antitrust investigation into Google.

    In October 2009, we defined search neutrality as the principle that search engine results should be comprehensive, impartial, and based solely on relevance. Clearly, no two search engines will produce the same search results; nor should they. But any genuine pursuit of the most relevant results must, by definition, preclude any form of arbitrary discrimination. The problem for Google is that its Universal Search mechanism and its increasingly heavy-handed penalty algorithms are both clear examples of arbitrary discrimination.

    Anyone who is interested in the more general issue of whether or not Google favors its own sites in its search results, might be interested in viewing our annotated highlights of the recent US Senate Antitrust hearing into Google, available here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BslAhJ5-C9g&hd=1

    Senator Lee’s questioning of Mr Schmidt referred extensively to a Foundem study of the comparative Google rankings of the US’s leading price comparison services, and the above video provides some useful insights and context to Mr Schmidt’s testimony.

    Shivaun Raff
    CEO and Co-Founder, Foundem and SearchNeutrality.org (a Foundem initiative)

  • TimmyTime

    “You are going out to dinner in a new town tonight. So, to get recommended restaurants, are you going to Google that—or tweet a request for suggestions, or look up reviews on Yelp or Open Table or Chowhound or… My guess is that most people are going somewhere other than Google for this type of information”
    ******************
    Your guess is worthless since we know that 92% of people use search engines (Google, Bing and the likes) and 3/3rd use them daily, so maybe they end up on Yelp but most likely after searching for “Italian restaurant zip-code.” If that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t have companies bid to have their search box everywhere. Funny, how what Google says ends u here and gospel.

    I can’t comment on the study because I haven’t studied but I know GoogleLand is not objective so people look at the study. My own anecdotal evidence is that you have to navigate like in a minefield to find an organic SERP in Google commercial searches.

  • TimmyTime

    sorry about the above grammar and spelin mustakes ;)

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    For what it’s worth, Joshua Wright co-authored a paper that argues Google’s practices are PROcompetitive (as opposed to ANTIcompetitive). Cf. papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1577556

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    And THIS pro-Google paper co-written by Joshua Wright discloses that ICLE has received financial support from Google. http://www.laweconcenter.org/images/articles/search_neutrality_manne_wright_final.pdf

    I think this is sufficient to call into question the neutrality of Professor Wright’s point-of-view.

  • TimmyTime

    Just read the “study,” and Chris you should be ashamed of yourself. No doubt Matt Cutts and other Googlers will tweet this and maybe give a you candy by ‘checking out’ a site of yours not doing well in Google but your article SUCKS.

    As Michael pointed out, this guy is biased and funded by Google so you should take back this line “So, Microsoft has a paid consultant in its court.”

    Two, instead of spending half of the article to parrot Google’s talking points why didn’t you read the phony study yourself? Why didn’t you link at it?

    Did it ever occur to you that Microsoft actually has a lot more content than Google? Like all those Windows and Office guides or great articles and stories from MSN and MSNBC that have been online for a decade plus? What content does Google have? Other than youtube and Spam Places and we know how well they are doing?

  • http://searchengineland.com Aaron Wall

    If one pulls Compete.com downstream referral traffic for Bing & Google one can see that YouTube gets a lot higher traffic % from Google.

    Google also sticks product search at slot #3 over and over again…so ok that might not rank in position #1, but it is certainly still a heavy bias.

    I have also seen search results that had 3 or 4 or 5 listings (in a single SERP of 10) from books.google.com in them…and some of those also had plus.google.com in the same SERP!

    “Did Google sponsor the new research, or influence its outcome? … Apparently not.”

    The ICLE funding should count for something if Microsoft’s funding of Ben Edelman is a conflict.

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    I doubt if we’re ever going to get a study that definitively shows whether Google or Bing is more “biased,” so I’ll take both the Edelman and Wright studies with a grain of salt. Still, since we’ve heard the Edelman study ballyhooed, it’s probably useful to hear that the Wright study draws a diffferent conclusion.

    My own take on the matter is that, as at least one federal court has ruled, search rankings are “opinions” and are therefore protected by the First Amendment. If Google wants to bake YouTube and Maps into its Universal Search interface, or if Bing wants to boost official Microsoft pages for searches on “Windows” or “Office,” so be it.

  • TimmyTime

    “My own take on the matter is that, as at least one federal court has ruled, search rankings are “opinions” and are therefore protected by the First Amendment. If Google wants to bake YouTube and Maps into its Universal Search interface, or if Bing wants to boost official Microsoft pages for searches on “Windows” or “Office,” so be it.”

    My own take is that money makes the first amendment claim very weak. For example if Microsoft banned Chrome from Windows because it was bad in their “opinion,” it wouldn’t fly. The same way if Google rigs results to make more money then they have no first amendment claim. Do you think Google put their own links there because they know that they are the best or do they do it for money? What does your gut tell you?

    and “so be it” doesn’t fly either on monopolies, just ask Microsoft or Google that helped DOJ go after Microsoft.

  • http://europeforvisitors.com Durant Imboden

    Timmy, that’s a specious argument. Blocking Chrome from Windows–or Internet Explorer from the Chrome OS, for that matter–isn’t remotely the equivalent of making an editorial judgment that’s protected by the First Amendment. {Money has nothing to do with the First Amendment, either: Fox News doesn’t get less First Amendment protection than I do just because News Corp. is richer and has a bigger audience.)

  • http://searchengineland.com Aaron Wall

    “Fox News doesn’t get less First Amendment protection than I do just because News Corp. is richer and has a bigger audience”

    Right. Just the opposite is true. They get more of it. Talk to the OWS protestors getting beat & maced.

    Might makes right. TM