Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
antitrust, europe, search, search results


Wait, Can Anyone Explain Why Google Should Promote Other Search Engines?

from the i'm-confused dept

As the EU continues to use its Tim Wu-sian definition of monopoly where "being successful" equals "monopoly," it is has taken the step that everyone expected and has begun investigating Google for supposedly anti-competitive practices with regards to "competing search engines" such as Foundem. Foundem has been on this kick for a while. It has a crappy search engine that sucks and then it complains that Google doesn't link highly enough to them. The whole thing almost feels like it was set up purposely to have an excuse to go after Google.

As per usual, the absolute best response to this investigation comes from Danny Sullivan, who satirically notes that when he searches Google, obviously it had better link to other search engines as the top results:
I did a search at Google today for "cars" and was shocked. Rather than list links allowing me to search for "cars" on Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Voila, Naver and Yandex, Google instead favored its own search results. Iím glad the EU will be investigating whether this favoritism violates anti-trust laws.
He goes on from there. It's worth reading the entire piece, because at the end he dismantles the entire argument of Foundem and the EU. It simply makes no sense. The whole thing is based on a basic fallacy that some companies who failed to actually get the market to come to them somehow think Google owes them traffic. Here's a tip: if your business model depends on getting traffic from Google, you are making a poor strategic decision.

And this is more true today than ever before. It wasn't that long ago that the vast majority of our referral traffic came from Google (the majority of our overall traffic comes from direct access/RSS readers). These days, however, while Google is still high up there, there's a wide mix of alternative sources that bring us traffic: StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and a variety of other sources. Most of these aren't search engines -- but they are massive traffic generators, showing that people find stuff via social means at an increasing rate, and the idea that any business is totally reliant on one company, Google, to survive, simply suggests a poor business strategy. Regulators should never reward poor business strategies, but that appears to be what they're looking to do over in the EU.

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  1. identicon
    basasa, 30 Nov 2010 @ 5:05pm

    There's no real reason why Google should be forced to promote other search engines. Did Altavista promote Google?
    On the other side, I think it could be beneficial to do it. Take for instance DuckDuckGo, being interconnected is its strength.

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