Google And Competition: Should The Government Be Regulating?

By: Chris Crum - January 15, 2012

Google’s competitive practices have dominated the headlines this week, thanks to the company’s “Search Plus Your World” features (extensive integration of Google+ into search results, but not extensive integration of competing social networks Twitter and Facebook), but this is really just the latest episode in the ongoing complaints against the Internet’s dominant search player.

Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee recently wrote the Federal Trade Commission a letter calling for investigation into Google’s practices. “Given the scope of Google’s market share in general Internet search, a key question is whether Google’s using its market power to steer users to its own web products or secondary services and discriminating against other websites with which it compete,” the letter said.

The FTC already has an investigation going on, of course, and now, Bloomberg is reporting that it is expanding it to include Google+ scrutiny.

Do you think the government understands the Internet well enough to regulate it? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Something tells me recent events will only be used to fuel the fire of complaints to that effect, with Twitter and Facebook now speaking out against Google. Privacy watchdog EPIC is already considering a complaint to the FTC about Search Plus Your World, as well.

Competitors in the travel industry formed the FairSearch Coalition, initially to try and see Google’s acquisition of ITA Software (which would go on to power Google’s Flight Search) blocked. The acquisition was not blocked, but the group continues to campaign against what it considers to be Google’s abuse of power.

WebProNews spoke with Ben Hammer of FairSearch, who says what the group is focused on now that authorities in the U.S. and the European Union and around the world “have already established that Google has monopoly power in search on the Internet” would be: “is Google violating the law in ways that abuse that power to sort of tilt the playing field to itself, and basically restrict the options that consumers on the Internet have to find information, and then also get all the benefits that come from competition on the Internet?”

We asked Hammer what makes FairSearch think Google favors its products any more than any other search engine does. It is, after all, a fact that Bing’s results contain links to Microsoft’s own services. Bing director Stefan Weitz noted that the search engine’s goal is for users to stay on Bing’s site: “We’re taking Bing to a place you can actually accomplish things and do things, rather than send you off to those [other] sites,” he is quoted as saying.

“The group was formed by a number of companies that looked at how Google was already operating in other markets, and were concerned about how they’d operate in travel,” said Hammer. “As those concerns got greater awareness or were validated in some ways by the U.S. justice department that was reviewing that merger, we continued to hear from other companies in markets outside of travel – that said, ‘We’ve experienced this first hand. We know that Google takes our content and uses it to direct people back to their own services and away from ours. We know that Google puts links to its own products that compete with ours at the top of the page, eating up the most valuable real estate that people click on the most on its own pages. That makes it harder for us to get the traffic that we would normally get. We know that Google will bid against us in getting the most valuable advertising on its own pages…’”

Note, that this response didn’t exactly answer the question.

In November, Cyber Monday and Black Friday sites (including the official site of the group that created Cyber Monday — were removed completely from Bing’s search results). When asked specifically about the incident, he said he was not familiar with the topic, but that “this group from day one has been focused on what Google is doing with monopoly power.”

A different standard, he says, is applied to companies like Google because of this power.

“Most people understand that Microsoft [part of the coalition] and our other competitors complain constantly about Google, but they also know that Google builds our search results for users, not websites, and that the laws are designed to protect consumers, not competitors,” a Google spokesperson tells WebProNews. “The fundamental openness of the Internet means that consumers have infinite choices and can always switch to Bing, Facebook, Kayak, or Expedia with just one click.”

WebProNews also spoke with Berin Szoka, the President of free market think tank TechFreedom who has some criticisms of FairSearch itself.

“I think it’s unfortunate that a lot of the tech policy debates really come down to motives,” he says, noting that the coalition is simply an alliance of Google’s competitors.

“Microsoft’s Bing is, if anything, much more biased than Google. You might say that’s OK because they’re not a dominant firm, so maybe they can do things that Google can’t, but if bias is your only way of distinguishing what’s competitive and what’s not competitive, it really is a problem that the industry norm, which is bias, is in fact the very thing that FairSearch is complaining about. Really, the analysis has to go a lot more beyond that and ask where there’s some example of consumer harm.”

“In this case, it’s hard to actually see any consumers complaining, as opposed to just Microsoft’s compatriots and this coalition,” he adds.

He goes on to make the case that we should be skeptical anytime competitors try to use regulators for competition, not only because it can hurt a company like Google, but that it could hurt the next Google by setting precedents.

He also compares the whole thing to SOPA, saying, “There are few people here in D.C. that really understand how the Internet works well enough to even have an intelligent conversation about how government can improve things.”

“I think when you see a company like Facebook, as large as it is, and as much of a lead in that area as it does, teaming up with a company like Microsoft, I think that is in fact the way competition works. It doesn’t happen necessarily in this space directly.”

Google has a site dedicated to what it calls “facts about Google and competition.” On the site, Google says, “As Google has grown, we’ve faced more questions about our approach to competition. This kind of scrutiny goes with the territory when you’re a large company. However, we’ve always worked hard to ensure that our success is earned the right way – through technological innovation and great products, rather than by locking in our users or advertisers, or creating artificial barriers to entry.”

“It takes a broadband connection to get onto the Internet, but consumers don’t need Google to access the web,” Google continues. “Google serves more like a GPS on the Internet highway—not an on-ramp. It helps people get around, but it’s not necessary. If someone knows where he wants to go, he can navigate to those destinations directly, whether it’s Craigslist, the New York Times websites, or But, if he doesn’t know where he’s going, he can use a ‘GPS’ (a search engine like Google or Bing), a ‘map’ (a list of links or portal like Yahoo’s directory), directions or recommendations from a friend (links from Twitter or Facebook friends), or even a mobile application version of the service (for example, the NY Times iPhone application). Search engines are popular and useful, but they’re just one of many ways to navigate the web.”

“The Internet was built on fundamentally open architecture,” Google says. “Anyone at home with a computer and a web connection can type in the address of a website and navigate straight to that site. Google is one click away from losing every customer. There are virtually no switching costs, and there are many other valuable web services competing for traffic. If someone wants to use a competing search engine all they need to do is type ‘’ into a web browser.”

Do you agree with Google or its competitors? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Social SEO Guy

    Well, we only have the facts in front of us right now but you have to question some of what Google are doing and how they are doing it. They aren’t exactly making any friends in the world of Search right now…

    Andy Drinkwater

  • Steve G

    I think that any search engine should no longer be able to market their search engine as an organic search product anymore if they are marketing their own websites through the use of their search engine that appears to give favor to their websites over competitors. It’s not just Google that I have a beef with, it’s all the major search engines (Yahoo, Bing, etc.) that have their own websites and products outside of search and are using what many refer to as “editorial preference”. However I do think search Engines have the right to editorial preference.

    • Nancy

      You should not have any beef with Bing or Yahoo as they are nobodies. They are doing nothing wrong. Google is as they have the biggest share of the search market.

      There is nothing wrong with having a monopoly on search, but you can’t abuse your power like Google does. Google has inside information about where the traffic goes, keywords, etc. They can’t just build and promote their properties giving them priority on search results. It is not good for consumers as competition is wiped out.

      • Steven G

        All the major search engines that have other websites besides just their search engines are all guilty of promoting their own properties unfairly in some degree. So really there needs to be search regulation where search engines are not allowed to give editorial preference to their own websites.

      • Alex

        Google has questionable business practices, such as with Adsense, however the notion that “Google’s using its market power to steer users to its own web products or secondary services and discriminating against other websites with which it compete.” is just not considered a questionable practice. It makes sense that a ‘quality’ search engine would include competitors in a search, but truly it is a choice of the search engine to include or not. It is a concept known as FREEDOM. Let Freedom Ring!

        Who does Nancy work for? Why does Nancy try to instill fear and hatred towards Google?

        Nancy says, “They can’t just build and promote their properties giving them priority on search results.”

        It is their business to promote as they see fit. FREEDOM is a concept which seems to elude Nancy.

        Nancy says, “There is nothing wrong with having a monopoly…”

        Agreed, Monopoly is the name of the business game. Growing a business is the general idea of the entrepreneur.

        Nancy says “… but you can’t abuse your power like Google does. Google has inside information about where the traffic goes, keywords, etc…”

        Where does the ‘inside’ information come from? Don’t other search engines have the same option of obtaining the same information?

        Nancy says, “… It is not good for consumers as competition is wiped out.”

        Umm, you mean it is not good for the competition. “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen!”

        Nancy says, “You should not have any beef with Bing or Yahoo as they are nobodies…”

        Who do you think you are, to say with whom to have beef with? You show no credibility to even take what you say seriously, as you refer to Bing and YaHoo as nobodies. The statement shows what Nancy knows or better yet, how to twist things to persuade favorable judgment.

        Nancy says, “[Bing and YaHoo] are doing nothing wrong. Google is as they have the biggest share of the search market.”

        Let me get this straight. All search companies can do the same thing, but it is wrong for the biggest one to do what they all do? Sounds like a baby’s cry.

        Nancy either; Works for a competitor trying to get an advantage on the field; Or, Nancy is a government representative trying to obtain more power/money; Or, Nancy just doesn’t like Google, maybe her AdSense account was just dumped.

        Fear will cause people do things that they normally wouldn’t do. Such as give up their FREEDOM.

  • Computer Talk Forum

    I can’t understand what’s so wrong with a company pushing for their products… Organizations compete all over the world, this is just another scenario.

    • Nancy

      Google is not just a “company”. They own the biggest search share. And they are not just “pushing their own products”. They are giving them “priority” over the competition.

  • Titus

    In an ideal world, one would also like see “exterior examination” of the whole series of Panda Updates and how the top listings for very lucrative keywords were rearranged in Google’s SERPs – but don’t hold your breath. Content is not King, Google is King. Webmasters just have to work around that fact.

  • Jim

    I want the government out of their business, but also want google out of government. They are breaking anti trust laws, but these laws should not exist. Again, something is amiss with google when they pay 2 billion in taxes with a 22 billion profit for the year and I am paying 40% at just 100 k or less per year.

    That should be a hint and a half! Follow the money and you will find the real dirt.

  • Defender

    While I don’t like Google having so much power over peoples searches, I’m even more strongly opposed to government trying to dictate what we can and can’t do. (I live in America)

    OF COURSE! Google is promoting their own products, that’s called being in business!

    If you don’t like the search results Google gives you… You can always use one of the other thousands of search engines that are out there.

    • mikus

      Are u a 2 year old?

      • Cj

        LOL Mikus. That is so funny. Defender made a logical statement and explained his reasoning, whereas you could only come back with an ad hominem attack, and yet, here’s the good part, Mikus calls Defender a 2 year old. Oh the irony – I have tears of laughter in my eyes.

        • Nancy

          I agree with Mikus. It is just embarrassing what some people post here. Defender doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. If you don’t know what you are talking about you shouldn’t write/speak.

          “OF COURSE! Google is promoting their own products, that’s called being in business!”

          Nothing wrong with promoting your own products. Giving them priority over the competition in search results is if you own the majority of the search share.

          Unfortunately this topic is approached by people who don’t have a clue about business. They think they sold an item on eBay and they know all about business.

          • Cj

            Umm – Nancy I think you and Defender are on the same side – try re-reading his post in a positive light.

            I was taking issue with Mikus and his ad hominem.

            Giving Government regulation over Internet Search is as good as censorship. Don’t forget to Stop SOPA on the 18th!

    • Jan Meves

      Thousands of search engines ? Are You living in the past ? Nearly all of the local search engines have given up or are using G. Software. Please publish Your list of search engines.

  • Tommy

    Absolutely no regulation is required. Google has market share because their customers are satisfied. Leave well enough alone.

    • Nancy

      “Absolutely no regulation is required. Google has market share because their customers are satisfied. ”

      That’s what I called an “Oprah Watching Housewife” logic.

  • Randy Penn

    Google is basically the Goldman Sachs of the Internet.

    Like the financial terrorist who have stripped the nation of wealth Google is stripping the meaning of search to enrich its investors at the cost of the people it is supposed to serve.

    Do they break laws? Yes. Are they brought to any meaningful penalties for this. Laugh please. Will the others break the laws? Yes. Will they pay for it? No. If one thing is learned it is that wealth does not pay meaningfully for any crimes they commit. So expect Google to take over wherever it can by giving the services for free and making money putting adverts on your sites taking your traffic to its paying properties. Business 101.

  • John

    As an advertiser my complaint about google is their requirement by contract that no one can audit what they do and find any fault with it and ask them to make corrections or improvements or sue them. That’s just ridiculous to have a company investigating and regulating itself and barring anyone else from doing it. Maybe government can’t do it but some one should be allowed to. I don’t trust the statistics from google analytics and how does anyone know if they are true or not and who do you ask to prove or disprove anything if no one is allowed to do an outside audit?

  • John Hayes

    I like Google because I find it has the best search results. When new search engines arrive I try them in hopes they will be better ( just because I like google best doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like something better ).

    I don’t see that the government can regulate anything about search that Google can’t do better if the goal is my satisfaction.

  • Arnobie

    In my opinion, Google is trying to put responsibility to each individual in using social networking websites. Leaked information is the responsibility of everyone. Governments, if not regulating, should put an end into an open internet through giving an identity through ISPs and apply age rating to some of the sites, which Google has the capability to do so, unlike other sites, which do not care about information being shared.

  • Patrick Morgan

    Google controls the search market and more. Good luck finding what you want on Yahoo or Bing. The government can’t run the country, much less a search engine.

  • Veronica Saenz Arroyo

    I think this is a business as any other else, and market must be ready for do what they need to do for go further if they want to have more market, but has a regulation on it, is just not have freedom anymore.

  • Willi

    Google is too mighty, Google does what Google wants to do, regardless what is write or wrong. It sees itself as the Judge of Internet. It is time to make this cruel game an end. The best example is Adsense, where accounts are canceled without any concrete explanation and without any chance to reopen it, only because a robot claims to dedect some unusual clicks. But even in normal daily searches Google puts you in exactly those ways where it wants. Since Google plus, even before, this domination is already inacceptable.

    • Cj

      Willi, if you regulate Google, then you must by definition regulate every search Engine. What you are asking is to have the Government control the very heart of the freedom of the web. This would be censorship at it’s most extreme.

      • Nancy

        It is not regulate every search engine. It’s called regulating the search engine that most people use. The government should regulate whoever is at the top of search so it is fair to competitors and its users.

        • Nancy

          When I mean “competitors” I don’t mean other search engines but the mom & pop businesses (now Twitter and Facebook) Google love to destroy everyday in favor of its own properties.

          • Cj

            Nancy – you favor Twitter and Facebook over Google. I have no issue with that, it is your freedom of choice. But PLEASE DO NOT use Government force to make me use Twitter/Facebook instead of Google. Allow me MY freedom of choice.

            I run a mom and pop business and Google is the best option for my market. When you ask for force to change the market, you will introduce unintended consequences.

          • Cj

            Nancy, you are naive to think regulation will only be used against one company – that is not how laws work. Remember laws are backed by force. You should only resort to force as your last option.

            Freedom of choice is the peaceful option. If you really don’t like Google, then start persuading your consumer’s to move away from Google using Twitter and Facebook. If you offer a good argument, they will go willingly. But DO NOT use Government force.

  • Willi

    sorry for my mistake… it should mean “..regardless what is right or wrong”

  • Page1Guy

    While Jim’s point is most relevant, so is Titus’ reference to Google as “King”.

    We need to recognize that Google is NOT the same Google that went public back around 2003.

    BEFORE that momentous occasion, Google was about 2 guys dedicated to leveling the playing field for small business by delivering the most relevant search results.

    Then they went on to developing and promoting a business culture devoted to excellence.

    But once they went public, they had a board of investors to answer to, and the focus shifted from relevance to a consumers search for information to generating profits by controlling and presenting what Google deems relevant to their own profit motive.

    And as Jim so poignantly points out, they only pay a fraction of their tremendous wealth and profit back to the ONLY country on the planet that could have and DID make their success possible.

    If Google and other American multinational corporations were as committed to their loyalty and “giving back” to the country that make their success possible, as they are to their self-serving profit motive, we would NOT be in the financial and economic mess we’re in today.

    • Cj

      Page1Guy, your argument about big business wanting to control Google is a good one, but asking for Government regulation will make the situation worse. Removing the free market in Search Engines and adding the coercive arm of Government (which by definition must rule by force) sets up a power play that no greedy corporation and political sociopath could resist.

      Big business can only exist when Big Government takes away competition.

      There are many other good search engines out there. Google can fall from it’s King position in a moments notice if it’s users suddenly become dissatisfied with the service. That is true power to the people.

  • El Wyatt

    The short answer is no, Google has not crossed the line in any significant way. In fact, I would say there is no market in Search. There is a market in online advertising, though. Search is free, however, and there are no barriers to starting another search engine. So there is no monopoly in Search.

    • Nancy

      Typical Oprah Watching Housewife logic. Netscape and other browsers existed when the IE antitrust issues.

      You people are missing the boat here completely. The problem is not about other search engines being affected by Google’s move. The problem is about Google’s favoritism for its own properties in search search results. They list their properties above others like Facebook, Twitter, Mom & Pop stores, Map sites, video sites, etc. Google is killing businesses left and right everyday which affect consumers obviously.

  • Jim Blake

    The government absolutely does not know how to regulate. They don’t know how to respect citizens’ rights in areas they are very familiar with, such the military ie – Obama Administration’s police state like marshal law ( How could we expect them to be fair and “unbiased” or just plain reasonable in regulating an industry that is clearly made to be open and accessible to everyone, enabling all people free choice and free speech? They have already shown how they want to shut down free speech on the Internet through SOPA ( Reduce the impact of government on personal rights and freedoms, don’t ask for more government involvement in our lives. Let’s all work on saving tax dollars by regulating ourselves as much as possible.

  • Lauren Bradbury

    My biggest complaint about Google is that they have disabled my Adwords account because they felt my website had too many ads, which is how my site makes money because otherwise it’s free. Google is the biggest hypocrite because I can’t use gmail without 17 ads along the top & side of the page. I can’t use YouTube without three ads blocking half the video. So they are, in fact, controlling the monopoly & holding down their competitors and sometimes (as is in my case) – their competitor in advertising is a single Mom just trying to take care of her kids.

    • Nancy

      That’s exactly why monopolies have to be regulated. They abuse their power. Do you think they would have canceled your Adwords with no recourse if they didn’t have the power they have? Of course not. Your case is a perfect example why they need to be broken up. They do that everyday. Tons of businesses cease to exist everyday due to Google’s abuse.

      • Cj

        Nancy – Google is a monopoly by freedom of choice. The majority of people want to use Google.

        History has shown that regulation will create a monopoly by FORCE.

        If you run a mom and pop business, then you surely must realize how much government regulation hurts the ‘little guy’.

  • dr. Robert

    One statement, “Remember the eyeball on top of the pyramid.” The more you ask, the more you empower in political censorship aka regulations. We went from local analog tv to digital. We went from MySpace to FaceBook and Twitter, and WiFi. In the late 80s to early 90s we went from anti-trust laws between AT&T and the BabyBells, to hundreds of cellphone companies. If you notice a trend then think back to Malls to mom and pop shops to Google and Us, the m&ps. If you rent a house, who ultimately has the say so? The LandLord – If you don’t agree –> MOVE !!!

    • Nancy

      Apparently you have no clue what the issue here is about. That’s not how it works.

    • Nancy

      “If you rent a house, who ultimately has the say so? The LandLord – If you don’t agree –> MOVE !!!”

      The problem is that there is no tenant looking for a house here. You ,like most people posting here, don’t understand the issue at hand here. The web surfers are not the ones complaining; businesses, other than search engines, are. They are being killed everyday by Google’s abuse of power. That affects consumers.

      • Cj

        Nancy, by asking for force to change the world, you are enabling more power to those who are already in control. Please wake up to what freedom of choice really means!

  • Mathews

    Why do people forget that it is Google that made internet what it is today. Every page you visit whether through google or other search engine or go directly using address bar, if it was not for google instilling the webmasters to improve their websites for user satisfaction, I think internet would not have been what we see today. Even facebook could not have changed the way we search or get quality pages as the top results we get. It is Google which gave quality to internet. Let us not be biased. Google has been doing a great job and even if some things look as if they are trying to tilt the balance towards their own side it is just a myth. I hope I did not hurt anyone. This is just my personal view. I say it confidently because it is google which made my work on my website for user satisfaction and thus getting to top search results page.

    • Nancy

      I heard Bin Laden used to give food to the kids on the streets too. We have nothing to thank Google. We made them who they are.

  • Local Search Specialist

    Google is great at what it does, but there are increasing privacy issues, it is trying to tailor results and adverts to individual searchers based on their location and previous searches. If it keeps going on this path it is going to go too far and cause invasion of privacy.

  • dr. Robert is pretty much Freeware. They empower you via search portals, email accounts, website submissions, googlebots, and so on. How free do you want from a business before its broke. This company is constantly giving and updating their services free. Why shouldn’t ? Google ? Put Google first ? on Google ? If you want Craftsman you go to Sears. They advertise all products because the vendors pay and you buy. Should Google do the same? Buy our catalog / search engine / subscription ? Forget free URL submission – let them bill Us for rent space in their directory / MegaMall ? Sounds like there are those who just dont appreciate FREE or non-governmental involvement. This is Google’s Search Engine / Directory, thus Google Products and Services should come first and then our products. Believe ME, I am not totally happy because, some of their services get before customers, before me, as travel services and ticket services. But, I am listed in their directory and thousands of other directories. When you open a phonebook do you look at all the services yellowpages has or are you target minded? When you turn on the TV you are a target minded? When you are looking for a car what do you do? Ask your friends, compare with other products, evaluate if this is what you want, resolve with purchase – ACER

  • Jim Young

    Google dominates the internet world. It is arogant of Google spokesperson to say that someone can just click away from Google. They say they protect consumers not competitors. They have gone way overboard on this. Google is like the ocean. Anyone should be allowed to swim and “buyer beware.” Their decisions on pay per click are rediculous. Anyone short of criminal activity should be allowed to use pay per click. The government has to get involved. The government can resolve these issues by putting Google in it’s place and “tearing down the Google wall.”

  • David Sellers

    Google’s product, Google marketing, Google’s company

    Picture this, an ad for a Ford Truck f150 on TV yet the driver is driving a Chevy. Nope won’t ever happen.

    Governments is turning into a bunch of socialist communist. If it was my company I wouldn’t ad any of my competitors products to any of my services plain and simple. That’s just plain business common sense, but I wouldn’t expect the government to understand this since they can’t even run anything else the right way. Damn the gov is really pissing me off lately. Talk about an uprising.

    No one is forced to use google search, you do it because their product is superior to anyone else’s. Let them freaking.g advertise for god sakes.

    • Nancy

      It’s not common sense but stupidity what you think. You don’t understand much about big business, do you… We are not talking about a lemonade stand here.

      • David Sellers

        As an owner of a 20 million dollar a year “lemonade stand” as you call it, I completely understand business. Small, medium, large, b2b, and b2c, though its your views that I clearly don’t understand. Everyone want ssomething handed to them on a silver platter these days. Socialism at its best…I guess.

        Even if google sold services like mine I’d still have the same view. Because I believe in working hard and a good strategy to market my company and I definitely don’t depend on just one avenue of marketing. If I were to sell service similar to google I would still beat them at it just as I beat my competitors at it today. Their main focus is search and more lately social. I can advertise for FREE on google, Bing, yahoo, and many others. I’ve got word of mouth, snail mail, email, Facebook, paid advertising, and many others.

        Quit crying cause google has its own product to advertise on, you would do the same thing, most the people here bitching would.

        Letting the government regulate the search or Google would be the end of internet as we know it . Mark my words!

  • Ghislain McLean

    We are being manupilated from everywhere. There is very little we can do other than use the programs we think are giving us the best services. If some think they can change this than start your own group or organisation and do what you can to make a difference.

  • Ryan Kempf

    I honestly believe Google is more just beating the competition because of better results period

    • David Sellers

      Agreed. Better, and people with money such as Microsoft’s Bing are donating to senate to start an “investigation” cause they’re scared of Google’s outcome. Which will be on top.

    • Nancy

      “I honestly believe Google is more just beating the competition because of better results period”

      True, but that’s not the issue here. The “search” competition is not complaining.

  • Nancy

    This has nothing to do with the government understanding the internet. This has to do with the government understanding antitrust law, business, abuse of monopoly power. Doesn’t matter whether it is online or offline. Nice try Chris. This is all about Google, not the “internet”.

  • TMoore

    I think Google is headed for a fall if it is going to force people to put their personal lives out in public. I really don’t appreciate the idea of having a search engine publish everything about your personal life in association with your business. It used to be you could post your site on the internet and Google simply posted the link on their search engine. Now it wants to post how many kids you have, where you live and where your kids go to school, who your relatives are and so on. That’s way too much intrusion into the life of a business site and is no one else’s business. I would prefer it if Google returned to its old platform. If I want to socialize I’ll use Facebook. Google is driving business away from me by only posting links to sites which host their ad patches. I’ll be glad to see what the FTC says, and if Google will return to sanity.

  • Frank

    Does not matter if the government understands the Internet well enough to regulate it.

    They will do what their corporate buddies want them to do.

  • Nancy

    From Chris:

    “Really, the analysis has to go a lot more beyond that and ask where there’s some example of consumer harm.”

    If you kill your competitors in your own search results, commons sense tells you that the consumers are going to be harm. Google buries its competitors (not talking about Bing or Yahoo) to favor its own properties, Chris. Harming competition harms consumers! What don’t you understand about that?

  • A Hart

    There ought also to be an inquiry into the ‘monopoly by default’ of Google Adsense in the internet advertising market. Adsense is very good – no doubt about it – but in cornering the market there are ethtical questions to be asked in terms of Google deciding, almost at whim, what websites are going to be in the money and which aren’t. Isn’t it about time someone came up with a contextual advertising program as good as Adsense?

    • Cj

      The Internet allows (currently) freedom of speech. If you know of any unethical behavior by Google – then tell the world.

      The Internet is (currently) a free market. Google cannot be unethical and remain the search King for long. People will choose to go elsewhere!

      People, give freedom a chance. Stop asking for more Government – it will ultimately destroy you through unnecessary wars.

  • CaptainCyberzone

    I think that sometimes the people behind companies like Google get to smart by half and end-up shooting themselves in the foot.
    Greed and/or unbridled competitiveness, coupled with believing that you’re “the smartest person in the room” syndrome has always gotten companies (and individuals) in trouble, case-in-point: Enron.

    • Cj

      Well said CaptainCyberzone. That is exactly what free markets are about. If Google gets ‘too big for their boots’ then it will destroy itself.

  • Rodger Guillotine

    I think the government should stay completely out of the internet, healthcare, baseball, football, automakers, unions and any other subject that has nothing to do with the 3 main branches of government for which it was intended!!! It should abolish obamacare and the borders should be protected. If you are an illegal immigrant you should go through the correct channels to become legal or go to jail! Get your liberal heads out of your A55es!!! It has nothing to do with right or left wing only right and wrong. Big government is Big problems!!!

  • Elle Smith Fagan

    “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Churchill

    But the whole drive to DEregulate began because some people cannot regulate without killing the thing they desire to uphold. I love cyber world and if I can do a thing to help , do ask me. Whatever they do, who will be there to prevent accidental destruction of a wondrous thing like Google?

  • Roger L. Owen

    When it comes to the internet, the only thing those Washington politicians understand well enough is taking kick-backs, bribes and campaign contributions… The internet is above their pay grade (and IQ level).

  • Debora Hill

    I paid for an ad campaign. The would not put a key word that was crucial for my company because it would limit clicks throughs. They would only put very broad generic terms that brought all kinds of unrelated clicks that cost me a lot of money for nothing. That key word is also part of the name of my company. The would not put the full name of my company in my ad and cut off the 2nd half the company name so that people would not see that term that would limit click throughs to only people who were relevant. They do have unfair business practices and had me paying hundreds for nothing in return. I paid for clicks for all kinds of things that were not resulting in customers because very generic terms apply to lots of things. They have gotten very rich because they are not good people. Someone SHOULD regulate them. Also they play games. I was researching a certain activist cause and all searches would only bring up pro that cause (and I am against it). I had to search very very deep to find the negatives. And I see they are headquartered in the heart of the place I was researching a controversial issue about. I also heard they played games with Rick Santurum’s campaign and searches brought up only negative things about him. Evil.

  • Tony Millar

    I definitely think Google needs to be better regulated by anti-competitive authorities. The company already controls far too much of online search business, website rankings and online advertising. Microsoft had similar problems earlier in its growth cycle and regulatory pressure actually forced the company to provide consumers with a better product. The same should happen to Google.

  • JediBret

    Let’s see, we let the government tell Bell Telephone what to do, because they were screwing everyone with their high prices. Now we get $500 telephone bills… We let the government tell the banks what to do, and prop them up with fake monies, so they would not go bankrupt and ruin the economy. Now we have broke banks, a weaker economy, and even more corruption.

    Yes, by all means, the government should be in control of every business. All businesses should have to run ads in support of their competition, and any who make a profit should be fined.

    And that Nancy Troll should be in charge of all of it.

    Good grief! What is the world coming too?

    • David Sellers

      Yes sir. Nancy the troll for dumb as government regulation. Jeesh.

  • Josh

    I just wanted to add since Google banned me from receiving advertising revenue I essentially have no other web advertisers to turn to because Google owns all the good ones. Why should one company be able to kill off my income globally with one email, no reason given and no second chance?

    • Debora Hill

      Yes, this is seriously wrong that if you get on the bad side of Google, your online business is over. That should not have that much control over our Internet based companies. They are far too powerful.

  • Web Design Cumbria

    All’s fair in love and war? It’s obvious that a business will always look to improve and increase, so in which case of course Google will put it’s own products first. The only thing I don’t agree with is the fact they had a song and dance a while back, regarding the search results for Facebook and Twitter. We were all starting to see these being indexed and included in the SERPS, now Google has +1 it seems that these results are no longer welcome in Google’s index. Now that’s playing dirty!

  • New York Birthday

    When I bookmarked this a few days ago, I didn’t quite realize the impact that today’s “blackout” was going to have on people. I think that in essence, I agree with Google – for now. There may be a tipping point in the future where we have some monopolistic concerns similar to what we faced at various points in history, but at the moment the competition means one thing – the consumer wins. It is hard to argue with that.

    • Debora Hill

      The consumer does not know I exist because I am not able to compete online (except where I pay to be in specific directories owned by private website owners). The search engines do not bring up my company’s website (and even if I pay Google hundreds of dollars for an ad campaign it still won’t help because they will not include the keywords I need to be in my add). I did notice that one of my competitors uses Google Ads and that the keyword I need (that is also part of my company name) is in her company name and is fully laid out for her (just not for me). I don’t know if she has a relative with Google, but clearly they don’t play fair. when they will not even put the full name of my company, this is defintely a deliberate attempt to keep the consumer from finding me.