The FairSearch Coalition, a group of Google competitors, which frequently complains to government agencies about Google's business practices, is now calling for a criminal investigation into the company's AdSense business.
This stems from allegations recently posted to Pastebin by someone claiming to be a former Google employee. This person accused the company of stealing money from publishers in an operation that spanned many years, and maybe "still happening today on a much wider scale."
You can get the background story on that here. It boils down to the company limiting or halting payments to publishers to advance its own profits.
Suffice it to say, Google strongly denies all of this, calling the whole thing "complete fiction."
In a statement today, FairSearch asks, "Is it time for another criminal investigation of Google’s business practices?"
"Google often tries to reinforce its image and reputation as a tech innovator rather than an advertising-funded corporation driven by profits," it says. "But These recent allegations are another sign that Google’s thirst for profits comes at the expense of meeting its legal obligations and commitments to business partners it says benefit from its own dominance. In the past few years, the company settled for $500 million with the Department of Justice for assisting in the illegal sale of prescription drugs online, and several state Attorneys General have voiced concern over Google’s revenue from ads placed with YouTube videos that depict or promote illegal and other activities harmful to consumers and even children."
"Trust, but verify is an old maxim that applies to Google’s business too," the coalition continues. "The time may be near for another investigation into Google’s business practices. The outcome could very well be potential criminal and civil charges against the company, especially if top executives were aware of the practice, as they were in the illegal pharmaceutical ad sales."
FairsSearch member companies include Microsoft, Nokia, TripAdvisor, Hotwire, Expedia, Level, Foundem, ShopCity, Twenga, AdMarketplace.com, Travel Tech Association, Buscape Company, TheFind, Allegro, and Oracle.
Image via FairSearch