Poor Google? FTC Going After Google+...

by Dexx
54 replies
Here's the article:
Report: FTC Expanding Anti-Trust Investigation Of Google To Include Google+

Report: FTC Expanding Anti-Trust Investigation Of Google To Include Google+

The wide-ranging Federal Trade Commission investigation into Google's potential anti-competitive practices has been expanded to include its Google+ social networking service, according to a Bloomberg report citing "people familiar with the situation."

The news is likely to please critics like the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which earlier this week called for the FTC to investigate the recent search changes called Search Plus Your World. Besides EPIC, many others, including Twitter, have questioned whether the new features favor Google's own services over those of competitors.


Google in June of last year acknowledged the probe by the FTC. Though the agency has never specified the scope of the investigation, it was reportedly focused on the company's search business -- trying to determine whether the search behemoth was somehow unfairly exploiting its dominance in the sector.


Google declined to comment about the widening of the probe, according to the Bloomberg report.
I don't understand how a company can be told what they do with their own technology (i.e. their own search engine) is anyone's business but their own.

There are other search engines that exist.

What would happen if Google just up and decided to shut down their search engine (not that they would...but they could), would they be charged / investigated for that as well?

Why doesn't Twitter and the other companies start their own search engines if they are so upset that Google is denying them exposure?

...or maybe I'm just missing the bigger picture here...

Thoughts?

~Dexx
#ftc #google #poor
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    The problem is when a company obtains an effectively monopoly for X - which may be perfect legal - but then leverages that to unfairly compete for Y.

    Here is a silly example to illustrate:

    If your online business relies on Google Adwords for 90% of your revenue, what if Google says your Adwords account will be canceled unless you also buy your milk from Google?

    Needless to say, the local grocery store you normally buy milk from might be a tad upset.

    That is the problem caused when Google starts leveraging it position in search to gain a competitive advantage over companies wanting to appear in search.

    For example, your business is making airline reservations and because your business is so great you are #1 in Google's search.

    Suddenly, Google decides it wants to offer airline reservations, puts its offer in the top couple search slots, and you immediately lose a third of your income.

    The only reason Google is in a position to compete in the airline reservations business is because of its control over the search market.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author Dexx
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      If your online business relies on Google Adwords for 90% of your revenue, what if Google says your Adwords account will be canceled unless you also buy your milk from Google?

      Needless to say, the local grocery store you normally buy milk from might be a tad upset.
      I see where you are coming, and completely agree, but playing devil's advocate...isn't that Google's right as the creators of such a successful product/service?

      Nobody forced anyone to build their business/income around Google...but the quality of service/results Google provides makes that appealing to do.

      So if Google decides to leverage their own success to further improve their success...how is it anyone else's right to tell them "that's not fair to other businesses?"

      Like I said, I agree with where you are coming from, but I still don't see how the GOVERNMENT can punish a company for not breaking any laws other than leveraging their own products and services (to which someone "could" try to compete with)

      Is it Google's fault that Bing and Yahoo don't provide the same level of quality?

      I dunno...the whole just doesn't seem right to me...

      ~Dexx
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Lee Jr
        Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

        Like I said, I agree with where you are coming from, but I still don't see how the GOVERNMENT can punish a company for not breaking any laws other than leveraging their own products and services (to which someone "could" try to compete with)

        Is it Google's fault that Bing and Yahoo don't provide the same level of quality?

        I dunno...the whole just doesn't seem right to me...

        ~Dexx
        Here in the U.S we have TOO many regulations on business. Businesses should be allowed to grow and thrive as far as they want without restrictions.

        Reading things like this always makes me wish the government would just "LEAVE US ALONE AND GET OUT OF OUR LIVES"
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      • Profile picture of the author onSubie
        Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

        I still don't see how the GOVERNMENT can punish a company for not breaking any laws

        ~Dexx
        I thought the FTC was just investigating and had not handed out any punishment. I also don't see how you can be so sure that Google hasn't broken any trade laws without being privy to the (as yet incomplete) investigation.

        It's funny after everything that happened with Enron, the banks and Wall Street that people still prefer to trust huge corporations without oversight.

        I don't see much support in these forums for PayPal being allowed to run their business as they see fit. Every time someone gets their account shut down and loses their funds, they come running here crying "not fair".

        Don't get me started on those with lost adsense accounts.

        I'm sure we all agree the customers are treated fairly and equitably with full disclosure under the law.

        Mahlon
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        • Profile picture of the author Dexx
          Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

          I thought the FTC was just investigating and had not handed out any punishment. I also don't how you can be so sure that Google hasn't broken any trade laws without being privy to the (as yet incomplete) investigation...

          I don't see much support in these forums for PayPal being allowed to run their business as they see fit. Every time someone gets their account shut down and loses their funds, they come running here crying "not fair".

          Don't get me started on those with lost adsense accounts.
          Great points, thank you for making me see it from that perspective as well.

          Cheers,

          ~Dexx
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      • Profile picture of the author josephseeley
        Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

        I see where you are coming, and completely agree, but playing devil's advocate...isn't that Google's right as the creators of such a successful product/service?

        Nobody forced anyone to build their business/income around Google...but the quality of service/results Google provides makes that appealing to do.

        So if Google decides to leverage their own success to further improve their success...how is it anyone else's right to tell them "that's not fair to other businesses?"
        Google probably never would have existed (or at least not been anywhere near as successful) without those monopoly protections though. Think what would have happened if AT&T hadn't been broken up or had any regulations. They controlled the lines the internet are piped into most homes. They could have allowed only their own search engine to be used in those homes.

        Or Microsoft could have disabled every search portal but MSN/Bing to work in windows. (Or every browser but IE, and made it impossible to change your homepage from MSN/Bing.)

        These protections are necessary to keep giants in one field from dominating other fields on the basis of something other than merit. As such they are good for everyone in the long term as it promotes competition and innovation.
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    • Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      For example, your business is making airline reservations and because your business is so great you are #1 in Google's search.

      Suddenly, Google decides it wants to offer airline reservations, puts its offer in the top couple search slots, and you immediately lose a third of your income.

      The only reason Google is in a position to compete in the airline reservations business is because of its control over the search market.
      So I say "Well done for Google!". They created the world's best search engine... shouldn't they be allowed to use it (and profit from it) as they wish? So if they want to go into the Airline Reservation industry, why shouldn't they be able to advertise it in their own search engine in whatever position they want?
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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
      Banned
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post


      The only reason Google is in a position to compete in the airline reservations business is because of its control over the search market.

      .
      Correction.....it's because they've invested billions of dollars, and thousands of man hours to put themselves into a position that allows them to compete in the airline reservation business.

      What would happen if Google just up and decided to shut down their search engine (not that they would...but they could), would they be charged / investigated for that as well?

      ~Dexx
      If we are to take these kind of arguments to their logical conclusion, it would be illegal for Google to shut down their search engine, according to the monopoly whiners. So much for being the so-called land of the free, right....where we penalize people/business for daring to become successful.

      The reality is these cries about monopolies are mostly bs. There is one monopoly in this country that affects every aspect of everyone's life in this country, and there is almost nothing that can be done to get away from it, and guess what? It ain't Google.
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      • Profile picture of the author onSubie
        Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

        Correction.....it's because they've invested billions of dollars, and thousands of man hours to put themselves into a position that allows them to compete in the airline reservation business.
        That's not true. They coincidentally have an advantage in the airline industry because they spent billions of dollars and thousands of man hours on their core business- search engine technology.

        Google didn't actually spend billions of dollars or man hours working on a position in the airline reservation business.

        Now that they see that they can use this for an advantage that isn't automatically conferred, they are facing closer scrutiny from regulators.


        So much for being the so-called land of the free, right....where we penalize people/business for daring to become successful.
        I gather you have never had a problem with PayPal or AdSense. Not everyone has as rosy an experience as you.


        The reality is these cries about monopolies are mostly bs. There is one monopoly in this country that affects every aspect of everyone's life in this country, and there is almost nothing that can be done to get away from it, and guess what? It ain't Google.
        I dunno. You live in a democracy so the government is elected by the people. There is a time limit on those in power before facing an election. Clearly fair representation of the people by the people. Can't be that.

        Mahlon
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

        Correction.....it's because they've invested billions of dollars, and thousands of man hours to put themselves into a position that allows them to compete in the airline reservation business.
        That is one way or looking at it. But Google invested money and manpower to make themselves the #1 search company in the world, representing themselves as offering 'neutral' search listings designed to provide the 'best' results.

        Then they stuck their affiliate link at the top of the search listings to "compete" in the airline reservation business (and many others - yours may be next week).

        Little investment or time was required, except for deciding which industries Google wanted to start cherry-picking profits from.

        They did not "compete" with you, me, and everyone to obtain the top ranking according to the "rules" everyone else is subject to.

        It allows 1 company to wreck havoc on the world's businesses economies, picking which companies and industries it wants to damage to Google's benefit.

        I'm a huge capitalist, but before someone comes back with another claim that it is their website and they can do whatever they want, remember this ...

        Google has a massive conflict of interest.

        Sticking its affiliate links at the top of the search listings unfairly competes against and decreases the revenue of those:

        - Who abided by Google's contractual terms and policies to get a top search listing in Google,

        - Who are affiliates in the Google Affiliate Network, and

        - Who are merchants in the Google Affiliate Network.


        It is possible that someday Google is broken up into multiple companies. One that provides search and a second that competes for the rankings in search.

        .
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        • Profile picture of the author lanew
          Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

          That is one way or looking at it. But Google invested money and manpower to make themselves the #1 search company in the world, representing themselves as offering 'neutral' search listings designed to provide the 'best' results.

          Then they stuck their affiliate link at the top of the search listings to "compete" in the airline reservation business (and many others - yours may be next week).

          Little investment or time was required, except for deciding which industries Google wanted to start cherry-picking profits from.

          They did not "compete" with you, me, and everyone to obtain the top ranking according to the "rules" everyone else is subject to.

          It allows 1 company to wreck havoc on the world's businesses economies, picking which companies and industries it wants to damage to Google's benefit.

          I'm a huge capitalist, but before someone comes back with another claim that it is their website and they can do whatever they want, remember this ...

          Google has a massive conflict of interest.

          Sticking its affiliate links at the top of the search listings unfairly competes against and decreases the revenue of those:

          - Who abided by Google's contractual terms and policies to get a top search listing in Google,

          - Who are affiliates in the Google Affiliate Network, and

          - Who are merchants in the Google Affiliate Network.


          It is possible that someday Google is broken up into multiple companies. One that provides search and a second that competes for the rankings in search.

          .

          Valid point!
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          • Profile picture of the author Jimania
            Breaking Google up into different companies would be a massive failure. Take a look at history . . . the "phone company" was in this predicament and forced to break up into what were termed "baby Bells", and slowly but surely they have been pulled back together under the AT&T brand.

            All of this boils down to the government wanting to assert its power, not let any company become "too powerful", and of course see if they can shake some money out of them.
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            • Originally Posted by Jimania View Post

              Breaking Google up into different companies would be a massive failure. Take a look at history . . . the "phone company" was in this predicament and forced to break up into what were termed "baby Bells", and slowly but surely they have been pulled back together under the AT&T brand.
              You might have a point if not for the fact that consumers have a huge number of choices for phone service these days. People don't even have to have landlines any more in the U.S.. I got rid of mine a decade ago.

              Remember when domestic long-distance calls were expensive because AT&T owned that business?

              When other companies are able to compete, there is no monopoly.

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  • Profile picture of the author softwaretooler
    "Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)" --> epic name :-)

    Yupp, Google will get the same problems as Microsoft did some years ago. Now they even want to launch "Search plus your World". Personalized search results, where Google+ is prefered to the disfavor to Twitter and Facebook. That will be funny
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  • Profile picture of the author boxoun
    Here's the thing..if those laws weren't set in place, we wouldn't even be talking about Google. Some other company would have a monopoly and not allow companies like Google to offer competition.

    Ford or some other company would probably be ruling the world and a conversation about a search engine probably wouldn't even be happening.
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  • Profile picture of the author canada94
    I agree with you Dexx, you start a company, build it big, then the govt. then wants to tell you how to run it...very strange.
    People have a choice whether or not to use a company or not.
    Takes all sorts i suppose.


    kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author cypherslock
    They don't want any company to be "too successful", which rates right up there in lunacy with people telling you that $xxx,xxxx is "too much money." Perhaps it is their own envy/fear of success? Hey Kevin...Canada94...but you're in the UK....?
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    • Originally Posted by cypherslock View Post

      They don't want any company to be "too successful", which rates right up there in lunacy with people telling you that ,xxxx is "too much money." Perhaps it is their own envy/fear of success?
      Yeah, it definitely is. I'm convinced that this is what motivates like 99% percent of the people working at these government agencies. They need to get a life.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    No love lost between Google & I so I LOVE IT!
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    • Profile picture of the author EddieJunior1
      I am offering a new quote ' If YOU build IT they will TAKE IT" lol

      Unbelievable

      I was watching a great piece on TV the other day on the rise of Microsoft and Bill Gates and the whole Monopoly issue..

      One comment that stood out in one of the segments was "once you reach a level of success in ONE area" the government wants you to then "PLAY NICE" and not continue to use your power to dominate all "other" areas of your business.

      Which now make sense to me.. Google dominated the search engines.. That's as far as they want them to go. Let Facebook dominate the social media arena.

      If its Google's choice to get into social media LET THEM. No one is going to HOLD a gun to someone's head to make them use Google +..

      All well that's our government for you..
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    • Profile picture of the author Joan Altz
      Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post

      No love lost between Google & I so I LOVE IT!

      I agree. Time for Google to get shaken up a little.
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  • Profile picture of the author lukedidit
    I could see this coming and quite shortly I expect the EU will start investigating too.


    Here's a novel outcome - Google wrecks their core product by spamming their own search page to much with there other product lines and stuff your auntie and grandma 'plus one'd'. Another new bright eyed start up goes into search and takes them from behind.

    I don't know about all you guys, but what I loved about google from the start was a lightweight simple search page with unadulterated results, it was pure search, that is now going out of the window as they are intent on dominating every other market and slapping it on the front page.
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    • Profile picture of the author SaRitaCustis
      Originally Posted by lukedidit View Post

      I could see this coming and quite shortly I expect the EU will start investigating too.


      Here's a novel outcome - Google wrecks their core product by spamming their own search page to much with there other product lines and stuff your auntie and grandma 'plus one'd'. Another new bright eyed start up goes into search and takes them from behind.

      I don't know about all you guys, but what I loved about google from the start was a lightweight simple search page with unadulterated results, it was pure search, that is now going out of the window as they are intent on dominating every other market and slapping it on the front page.
      I know what you mean. It's getting more and more challenging to find information on Google now, with the heavy focus on local that takes up the whole page and the addition of things like Google flights that pretty much overpowers other travel websites. I really miss the simplicity.

      Hopefully there's a new start up in the works. Listening to us whine, it's obvious there's a market for it!
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  • Profile picture of the author retsced
    Google is a search engine, but the websites that people end up on are not theirs. So, Google does NOT deserve to treat those people's businesses any way they choose. Google would be NOTHING without the people who create the websites in the first place. Of course they will run their company how they see fit, but there is also a consequence for the decisions they make. Therefore, is it not common sense to have somebody to oversea "fair play" to some extent.
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  • Profile picture of the author zaco
    I think they should be investigated, Google is a great company..they created the greatest product! but once you reach a position where you own the market then you cannot play with it to and effect other businesses that depend on your service.

    It is their service but it has a huge impact on the market so for them to show their results then that might cause a big loss for others.

    Imagine there is one gas supplier in the world and they decided to change the gas type, imagine that all the cars engines and systems need to be changed to use the new gas to be able to work, it is the same idea, the gov won't allow them to do that, I am not saying that the gov is great but imagine if other businesses suffer then the gov has to bail them out ?

    IMO Google are being nasty lately , they are trying to force results from their Google+ network ,I don't want to signout each time I search for something! or turn it off.. I am actually using Bing since Google announced their new changes few days ago.

    Google is trying to take Amazon out of the game by forcing their ads to show in an aggressive way, but nobody can do anything since they have the right to put ads as much as they want..
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  • Profile picture of the author remodeler
    What goes around comes around. Google has a lot coming back around. But seeing as how they are cozy and comfy in bed with the gov. they will likely come out smelling like a rose.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I don't understand how a company can be told what they do with their own technology (i.e. their own search engine) is anyone's business but their own.
      Think of AT&T years ago and of Microsoft - those are examples often mentioned.

      Right now it's only an investigation and google hasn't been told to do anything. Many companies are investigated and no action taken. If nothing else, it's a warning to Google that it may be on the edge of "too far".
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  • I personally don't see the issue with the new update. All it amounts to is having a better branding and social presense than you already do.

    The only thing that changes is your friends on G+ will see a few results from yourself, it's blended in 100% with the rest of the search engine results and you can EASILY change to include ONLY personal or ONLY natural results with the click of a button.

    What's the issue? Aren't we, as marketers, always praising "building a relationship with your customer"? Now that we have to do it in terms of SEO it's the "end of the world".

    Seriously.. Some people need to make up there mind.. Do you want a relationship with your customers or not?

    If you do, then stop complaining about the new update and utilize and profit from it. If not then change your settings to exclude personal results. Simple as that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Google USED to be a good search engine. People used it because it was better than others.

      Now, it's nearly synonymous with the Internet, and people use it out of habit rather than because it is the best search engine out there.

      Because it isn't anymore, because of lot of its search results are junk. You can look for something and wind up on some glorified article directory with barely useful information, then go back to Google and find another site also on page 1 which turns out to be a copied or scraped version of the same article, then back to Google again to find a video which you think might lead you to the answer you're looking for, only to discover it's by someone who made a video version of the same useless article you keep finding.

      Then you can drill further and further down in the search results, and see the results become even less relevant than the ones you started with.

      And that's what we call a "good" search engine?

      Meanwhile, you might be able to head over to a lesser known search engine, such as Blekko, and find the answer on your first try.

      Google has been riding its own coattails and leveraging its past superiority to move into other markets. And, thanks to people that happily install Google Analytics on their websites, Google may have an inside track into what sells best online.

      Enjoy your run with Google. Enjoy continuing to encourage people to use it. Enjoy using it yourself. Install Google Analytics on your websites. Use gMail. Use Android devices. Sell businesses on listings in Google Places. Live it up. Enjoy lapping up everything Google has to offer you.

      But don't let me see you whining when Google comes out and decides to get into your niche and compete directly with you. After all, by using their "free" services, you provided them with plenty of insight into how good a market you're in.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
        On another note, can you say Google and the future of cloud computing? Trust me, that one is coming down the pike very soon.

        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        Google USED to be a good search engine. People used it because it was better than others.

        Now, it's nearly synonymous with the Internet, and people use it out of habit rather than because it is the best search engine out there.

        Because it isn't anymore, because of lot of its search results are junk. You can look for something and wind up on some glorified article directory with barely useful information, then go back to Google and find another site also on page 1 which turns out to be a copied or scraped version of the same article, then back to Google again to find a video which you think might lead you to the answer you're looking for, only to discover it's by someone who made a video version of the same useless article you keep finding.

        Then you can drill further and further down in the search results, and see the results become even less relevant than the ones you started with.

        And that's what we call a "good" search engine?

        Meanwhile, you might be able to head over to a lesser known search engine, such as Blekko, and find the answer on your first try.

        Google has been riding its own coattails and leveraging its past superiority to move into other markets. And, thanks to people that happily install Google Analytics on their websites, Google may have an inside track into what sells best online.

        Enjoy your run with Google. Enjoy continuing to encourage people to use it. Enjoy using it yourself. Install Google Analytics on your websites. Use gMail. Use Android devices. Sell businesses on listings in Google Places. Live it up. Enjoy lapping up everything Google has to offer you.

        But don't let me see you whining when Google comes out and decides to get into your niche and compete directly with you. After all, by using their "free" services, you provided them with plenty of insight into how good a market you're in.
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      • But don't let me see you whining when Google comes out and decides to get into your niche and compete directly with you. After all, by using their "free" services, you provided them with plenty of insight into how good a market you're in.
        lol, good point... And *that* would be an example of abusing their power...
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      • Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        Enjoy your run with Google. Enjoy continuing to encourage people to use it. Enjoy using it yourself. Install Google Analytics on your websites. Use gMail. Use Android devices. Sell businesses on listings in Google Places. Live it up. Enjoy lapping up everything Google has to offer you.

        But don't let me see you whining when Google comes out and decides to get into your niche and compete directly with you. After all, by using their "free" services, you provided them with plenty of insight into how good a market you're in.
        And still, it's OUR choice to use them. We don't have to. So why should we blame them? You don't expect them offering all these cool free services for no particular reason, right? Obviously they're in this game to make money, just like all of us.

        Why should the FTC punish a company for their visionary success? How is that illegal or even morally wrong? I really think the govt. should let companies and consumers do as they please as long as it's not illegal. This whole "Big Brother syndrome" is going out of hand.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raja Kamil
    they said, fair games right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Hey Alan!
    Feel free to make some WSO's and sticky them in the WSO section!
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  • Some interesting comments...

    It's not that they are saying they are "too" successful, it is checking to make sure that they aren't 'abusing' their power, which is totally different.

    If google provided fantastic search, and then provided a fantastic social site, then that would be one thing. But... If google say noticed Mark Zuckerberg was looking for porn through google through their search logs, then blackmailed him telling him that unless he included google search (or "gave up" facebook) they would make it public, that is something totally different.

    It is fine if you become the best at something, or many things -- they are many large companies with many different brands (i.e., proctor & gamble, g&e, etc, etc) -- it's just making sure that there is not an 'abuse' of power.

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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    Big Companies like Google when they do something that may affect the market FTC have to be involved.

    When AT&T bought T-Mobile last year, FTC was involved to make sure, that it will not kill other competitors.

    Increase your market is one thing, but you shouldn't abuse the power you have.

    Look at it in a bigger scale, if there is only one company can provide internet in USA, and they decided to the service for $10,000 for home line, will that be okay ? or do you want to see FTC involved to prevent such a situation ?!
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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
      Banned
      Originally Posted by onegoodman View Post

      Big Companies like Google when they do something that may affect the market FTC have to be involved.

      When AT&T bought T-Mobile last year, FTC was involved to make sure, that it will not kill other competitors.

      Increase your market is one thing, but you shouldn't abuse the power you have.

      Look at it in a bigger scale, if there is only one company can provide internet in USA, and they decided to the service for $10,000 for home line, will that be okay ? or do you want to see FTC involved to prevent such a situation ?!
      Ahh yes, when the argument is weak, create a silly example like this, or like several others in this thread. And if that fails, you can always use the old stand-by "it's for the children", lol. This is the typical kind of nonsense you get in these kind of discussions. How long do you think it would take for this mythical company to lose every customer they have if they tried to charge $10,000 for internet access? People lost their mind because Bank of America wanted to charge $5.00 a month for atm fees, or something.
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      • Profile picture of the author Andy Hart
        Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

        How long do you think it would take for this mythical company to lose every customer they have if they tried to charge $10,000 for internet access?
        If the mythical company was THE ONLY ONE who could provide internet access as the example suggested, where would these customers go to get internet access after leaving the afore mentioned mythical company??

        Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    Yes they may just be scrutinized for up and leaving the web. If Att decided to close it's door without selling and wanted to take down there towers, what do you think would happen.

    I am a firm believer in total free enterprise and I say if it happens it happens but the American Government wants to control everything for the good of the people and its just going to get worse.

    LOL, this reminds me of the time I sent out a mailing, Subject was something like, Government has neighborhood monitors to make sure all neighbors exersize.

    In the email I explained; We are giving the American Government so much leeway that pretty soon we will have a street monitor, we will be required to get up at 6 a.m. and exersize if we do not, the street monitor turns us in.

    Don't think it can't happen, how about the laws that are blocking certain foods, the counties in CA that have adopted no toys in happy meals. Oh it will happen, When I do not know but it will happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mate
    I see both sides of the argument, but at the end of the day Google does whatever they want to their website.
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    • Profile picture of the author traeth
      Originally Posted by Mate View Post

      I see both sides of the argument, but at the end of the day Google does whatever they want to their website.
      The problem is that what Google does with its website affects all of us and how they leverage the way we show up in the postings. They don't have a website per say, they only pull together lists of websites for the rest of the world to choose from. And lately the results I've gotten are mostly top companies that keep making hand over fist money while the little guys are pushed to the bottom of the heep no matter how much good stuff they really have to offer the searchers.
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  • Profile picture of the author MisterMunch
    Wouldnt the new search my world be beneficial to the monopoly situation as more people will use alternative search engines?
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    • Profile picture of the author onSubie
      Originally Posted by MisterMunch View Post

      Wouldnt the new search my world be beneficial to the monopoly situation as more people will use alternative search engines?
      Shooting oneself in the foot isn't the best way to show you support open markets.



      Mahlon
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    The problem I'm seeing with a lot of people is that they don't understand why we have antitrust laws in place. Because of this the perception is that businesses can do whatever they like or want to do. Sorry but this isn't the case and it isn't reality by any sense of the imagination.

    The reason why Google seems to be under scrutiny at almost every turn is because they have become synonymous with search. They deliver so much information to the extent that they can in a single move create an anti competitive environment that can not only hurt other businesses unrelated to being a search engine but also hurt consumers as well.

    Saying people can use another search engine isn't a valid excuse to justify what Google may or may not be doing.


    Some of you might have read the above, but I want to add to this in order to give an example.

    I was an insurance restoration contractor for many years and as such I dealt in areas where thousands of homes and businesses required repairs due to severe weather related events. In these circumstances all the insurance companies are required to pay for these repairs 100% minus the deductible.

    If an insurance company decided it was going to dictate to contractors the pricing it was going to pay for line items to affect repairs and it wasn't going to budge a single penny over those prices that would be antitrust and unfair business practices not to mention unfair claims practices, bad faith and possibly tort. An even worse situation would be if a group of insurance companies decided together that they were only going to pay X for line items. right?

    Why is this antitrust and unfair business practice you may ask?

    Because its the policy holders right to choose whatever contractor they want to affect repairs and some contractors have very VALID reasons for charging more or less then the next contractor, however by taking the position I mentioned in the previous paragraph the insurance company as effectively limited the choices the policy holder has when choosing a repair contractor, and in some cases some insurance companies try to limit their policy holders choice to a preferred contractor who has colluded with the insurance company to only charge X amount. This always relates to sub standard workmanship and materials yet the policy terms state that policy holders are entitled to like kind and quality as a part of indemnification.

    However, it isn't this way because on a whole because this would be a form of antitrust. If any of you have ever had a home owners insurance claim it says on your paperwork that this is an ESTIMATE for the repairs. An estimate is just that, its not the final price for repairs.

    Apply this example to Google and its easy to see why they seem to be under the microscope at almost every turn.
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    • Profile picture of the author onSubie
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post


      I want to add to this in order to give an example.
      A good example. I am in Canada and just received this message from my bank:

      In response to upcoming changes made to the Bank Act regarding insurance products, Royal Bank of Canada will no longer provide the Insurance linking feature in RBC Online Banking as of February 9, 2012.

      This feature allows you to link your RBC® Insurance products for display on your Online Banking Summary Page.

      If you currently have RBC® Insurance products linked, you will continue to see these products (including renewals.) The products will be view-only. You cannot click on the linked products to view more details. You will not be able to link any new RBC® Insurance products or re-link any products you have unlinked.

      The changes to the Bank Act restrict Financial Institutions from promoting insurance within Online Banking. As a result, RBC Royal Bank® will be making these changes within Online Banking to comply with the Act.


      Clearly an unfair advantage to provide a service not available to insurance companies- linking client insurance and bank accounts.

      I wonder how many customers will miss the convenience of being able to manage their insurance through the same interface as their banking. Again, a big reason to choose RBC over another insurance provider and a competitive advantage.

      Mahlon
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  • Profile picture of the author FivestarHB
    Corporate regulation is not a bad thing at all - in my country we have avoided recession because we have a strong but highly regulated banking and finance sector. (Not the only reason, but an important one.) Although we all desperately depend on Google for search, and to provide our information to the searchers, Google also needs to be good corporate citizen (do no evil), mindful of the market dominance they have. As much as I admire the creativity and relentless expansion, Google needs to have someone keep them in check or else all e-commerce, all information provision will be totally reliant on a single company.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jimania
    Nice post! Thanks for keeping people up to date on the intrusion of governement (by Dems & Rep!) on private businesses. It always proves to be worse for the consumer, and never has any positive effects . . . except for the government.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoingSomewhere
    Government is the referee or umpire in situations like
    this. Government wants to make sure that the lion and
    the goat live on the planet earth.

    Otherwise, sharp practices will stiffle the minnows and
    we will have no choice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joshua Rigley
    Banned
    In the book publishing world, there is some debate about Amazon being the #1 retailer for books.

    Here's a blog post about it: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Presumed Inane

    You might find it interesting.
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  • Profile picture of the author cashtree
    Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

    Here's the article:
    Report: FTC Expanding Anti-Trust Investigation Of Google To Include Google+



    I don't understand how a company can be told what they do with their own technology (i.e. their own search engine) is anyone's business but their own.

    There are other search engines that exist.

    What would happen if Google just up and decided to shut down their search engine (not that they would...but they could), would they be charged / investigated for that as well?

    Why doesn't Twitter and the other companies start their own search engines if they are so upset that Google is denying them exposure?

    ...or maybe I'm just missing the bigger picture here...

    Thoughts?

    ~Dexx
    The thing is they have a monopoly, and when you have that type of power, the rules change. For instance Microsoft currently has a monopoly on the desktop, and years back Google, opera, etc...cryed to the EU to force Microsoft to include a "browser choice" feature for versions that were shipped there, because they felt IE being in Windows wasn't fair...because it's not like you can't download another browser with IE? Of course EU being EU agreed and Microsoft who spends hundreds of millions of dollars promoting windows now had to give their competitors completely free advertisement. Is it fair? Absolutely not, but that's what money can do and the wrong kind of people in power. Also the irony is if you visit google.com with any browser than chrome, it advertises chrome with a download link and"A faster way to browse the web" which is misleading and false advertisement. They should be forced to list other top search engines on their front page in the EU...just like Microsoft was forced to do with win.

    Also I think it's good they're keeping an eye on google, no one wants any single company to gain the power they have, trust me, that's not a good thing. Checks and balances are needed, and a single corporate giant is a scary thought. Imagine if they didn't break up the big telecoms back in the day(was at&t and I believe) there'd be no real mobile service providers today, competitive wise. So prices would be even worse and most likely so would the quality

    To even further my example of why big business is not good, I read stories about walmart moving into a lot of small towns, and since their prices are so cheap everyone would flock to them, and the local mom and pop shops who were around for decades couldn't compete and had to go out of business. One particular instance I read where a local tire shop wouldn't go out of business, so Walmart started selling tires extremely cheap(at a loss) until the tire shop had no choice but to close their doors. The second they did, Walmart skyrocketed the tire prices...and since they had no competition now... everyone now loses but them. How do you beat a corp that has essentially unlimited resources? Take that poor fellow named Nissan who has been sued by Nissan automotive for like 10 years... See they know, having deep pockets that they never needed to win their cases, they just need to keep this guy in court until he went bankrupt....I think he did finally win, but he lost a great deal of money, and most wouldn't be able to fight as long as he did.
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  • Profile picture of the author Woodward82
    To even further my example of why big business is not good, I read stories about walmart moving into a lot of small towns, and since their prices are so cheap everyone would flock to them, and the local mom and pop shops who were around for decades couldn't compete and had to go out of business. One particular instance I read where a local tire shop wouldn't go out of business, so Walmart started selling tires extremely cheap(at a loss) until the tire shop had no choice but to close their doors. The second they did, Walmart skyrocketed the tire prices...and since they had no competition now... everyone now loses but them. How do you beat a corp that has essentially unlimited resources? Take that poor fellow named Nissan who has been sued by Nissan automotive for like 10 years... See they know, having deep pockets that they never needed to win their cases, they just need to keep this guy in court until he went bankrupt....I think he did finally win, but he lost a great deal of money, and most wouldn't be able to fight as long as he did.
    That is exactly what they would do . Look into it as the form of keyword research or IM . They would research there competitors and then they wouldnt set shop next door. They setup shop in the "middle" of four competing markets. Then they would drive the competitors business to them. So it hurt not only the store owners but the actual town and community walmart might not be in the town they drove that small business away from and well doesnt have to pay taxes to that town either. Of course let me guess? Whats wrong with beating your competitors. Well when you have enough money as walmart does. What if they just paid a top seo company to put up sites in all of the niche markets we all love? And now its all walmart sites displaying there products. That would surely make the internet fun. And they dont care if the internet is ruined they will still strive. Another thing they did some years back "with there deep pockets" was if a company wouldnt give them a price they thought was fair on the products they were buying. They would do two tihings. 1) Stop selling that product which is a BIG hit for that manufacturer 2) They would literally buy the company out through there stocks and own enough where they now had a say in how they sold there products! Ahh I could rant forever why big business control isnt good for us or the economy but I will save you guys the boring read
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  • Profile picture of the author brandon2664
    Good if they have a monopoly it is because they deserve it. This is a free market and that is why this country is great. If I don't like googles service I will use another service.

    I am not a google Fanboy. Just a believer in the free market.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Ogbin
    I Think this is just a warning for Google from the FTC.

    Google is just improving the performance of their search engine and find if it compatible by their visitors by putting Google+ in it.

    Google have more geniuses this is why have more features that help us more.
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    • Profile picture of the author igorGriffiths
      The EU has also decided to take a look at Googles anti-competition stance as well.

      If you are a Google product then you get favoured positioning in all of their market dominating services, the consumer now understands sponsored links and the adsense area on the right hand side however they do not expect the supposedly natural search results to be secretly optimised for Googles benefit.

      Having just read their privacy and terms, I think that they should be forced to clarify how their search engine works as this is not mentioned anywhere in either the T&C's or the FAQ's, any other company would be forced to clarify how they source their product which effectively is what Google search is doing.

      Cola has ingredient X but has to reveal all other details and this should be the case for Google as well.
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