Internet users in the UK, US, and Canada have become accustomed to receiving suggestions as they search the web using Google search, but now regulators are looking into whether or not the tech giant’s dominance in the industry is being abused. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been tasked with determining whether or not Google’s ad dominance stifles competition and innovation in the market, and if it violates fair business practices. So what does this mean for you? Why Google’s Ad Dominance Is Under Scrutiny by Competition Watchdogs

The EU Just Filed a Complaint Against Google

In June 2017, it was announced that EU competition officials filed a complaint against Google. According to officials, Google abused its dominance as a search engine by promoting its own shopping comparison service in its search results and demoting those of rivals. The complaint has been pending for over three years and alleges that from February 2008 to October 2014, Google favored its own price comparison shopping service in its search results when customers were looking for products. To understand how serious of an offense these allegations are, we’ll need to first look at how competition law works.

Why Googles Ad Dominance Is Under Scrutiny by Competition Watchdogs
Why Google’s Ad Dominance Is Under Scrutiny by Competition Watchdogs

What exactly are they accusing them of?

In some respects, it depends on who you ask. According to European Commission (EC) vice president Joaquin Almunia, Google is being accused of abusing its dominance in two key areas: search engine market share and ad placement on its own services and that of competitors. The EC alleges that because users automatically are directed to Google’s paid services or those of its partners when they search—and since advertisers have no other real option but to pay for space—that constitutes a monopoly. Others go even further.

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And what will this mean if the complaint is approved?

The search giant could be facing major fines in 2017 if one of its competitors successfully makes a complaint to European Commission regulators. If a complaint is successful and Google is found guilty, then it would likely mean that competing search engines will be given greater access to display ads on searches related to their products and services. Although there are no specific guidelines for how much more, it could mean many hundreds of millions of pounds worth of extra ad revenue for firms such as Bing, Yahoo! and DuckDuckGo.

It would seem to me that any good company should do everything it can to avoid accusations like these.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is probing tech giant Google over concerns that its advertising practices could be anticompetitive. The FTC is trying to determine whether or not Google’s deals with websites, app developers, and other third parties might cut out other companies from getting their products in front of consumers

Why Googles Ad Dominance Is Under Scrutiny by Competition Watchdogs
Why Google’s Ad Dominance Is Under Scrutiny by Competition Watchdogs

If its search results appear to favor certain products and services over others—and more of those things come from within its own network—that could be a problem…The question that keeps coming up is: How much influence does one company need? I’d love to hear what you think about it. What do you think about Google’s dominance of internet searches? And how much of an impact does a company like that have on our lives overall?

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There does seem to be a desire from customers to prevent monopolies.

This is good news for businesses with offerings they can differentiate from Google. Smaller companies, including newer startups and local service providers, stand to benefit from increased scrutiny on their industry’s biggest player. If you feel threatened by your company’s ad giant competitor and want to fight back in a way that can help establish you as a unique entity in your market space, now may be a good time to rethink your marketing strategy—and hire an SEO company. An aggressive SEO campaign can make all of the difference when it comes to how consumers see your business versus how they see competitors.

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