A couple weeks ago, Google addressed the ongoing antitrust probe it has been facing in Europe, highlighting the latest version of its concessions with hopes to “move forward”.
The company said it would give links to rival sites ““much more real estate and visibility,” include rival sites’ logos with these links for “even greater prominence, and accompany the links with dynamic text from rivals providing more info about their sites.
FairSearch, a coalition made up of some of Google’s chief rivals, calls its proposal ineffective and confusing to consumers. The group is sharing results from a survey it conducted with 2,500 people, finding that Google’s proposal sends up to 40 times more traffic to its own links than its rivals. The proposal produced “virtually no clicks for rivals,” it says,” and “clicks on Google’s links drop dramatically after removing their preferential treatment.”
“Google’s latest proposals are not likely to materially increase or restore consumer choice or competition in online search for European consumers,” said the study by professors David Franklyn of the University of San Francisco and David Hyman of the University of Illinois, who surveyed 2,500 users in the UK.
“When we create parity of appearance and placement, we obtain higher click-through rates for the rival links and click-through rates on Google Shopping drop dramatically,” the two said.
FairSearch also suggests that Google could nullify its proposal by marking design changes, some of which it is already testing in the U.S and in some European countries, it says.
You can take a look at the study here.