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F.T.C. To Serve Google Inc. With Civil Subpoenas
engine




msg:4330074
 5:47 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

F.T.C. To Serve Google Inc. With Civil Subpoenas [online.wsj.com]

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is poised to serve Google Inc. with civil subpoenas, according to people familiar with the matter, signaling the start of a wide-ranging, formal antitrust investigation into whether the search giant has abused its dominance on the Web.

The five-member panel is preparing within days to send Google the formal demands for information, the people said. Other companies also are likely receive official requests for information about their dealings with Google at a later stage, the people said.

Representatives for both Google and the FTC declined to comment.

 

J_RaD




msg:4330097
 6:34 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Was only a matter of time.... *popcorn*

Bewenched




msg:4330207
 9:13 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

yes, pass me the *popcorn*

mhansen




msg:4330212
 9:21 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here's an opener for the can of worms also.

Leosghost




msg:4330213
 9:23 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Pandora is counting her boxen

Reno




msg:4330225
 9:38 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)


"Google to be formally investigated over potential abuse of web dominance"

Full Story [guardian.co.uk]

...there is a God...

............................

Leosghost




msg:4330227
 9:47 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

.
there is a God


correlation does not imply causation :)

lest Eric be Epimetheus :)...Oh wait...

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4330322
 2:24 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Colossal waste of money, on all parts. Too many people rely on Google (the company, wall st, not just search) for them to be put in danger so any penalties will be monetary at best. If the FTC was about to impose hardline search company regulations they'd be hitting up Bing and Yahoo right now too, not just google.

Are there any existing regulations that Google may have violated? No, or it wouldn't be an inquiry it would be a trial.

/yawn, I'll pass on the *popcorn*, there are agendas at play here.

dvduval




msg:4330329
 3:01 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

The basic premise is google uses its dominance to make more money on other products. With 2/3 market share, it does seem like some basic oversight would be in order. Otherwise, what separates Google from a search engine like Baidu?

lexipixel




msg:4330335
 3:09 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thang kod the FTC is protecting us.

Now that big bad google might have to divest itself from anything that isn't "search" or "advertising" and break off those other units, (like little baby Bells).

And all of US consumers will be better off -- um... except that isn't how it works.

"Google" will charge the baby-bells more for advertising on big bell, and the baby bells will charge more for services and products because they have to pay more for advertising, and US consumers will pay more and get less.

When corporations get in bed with government it's the consumer who usually gets phukt. (I think that's the Vietnamese spelling for "capitalism in the name of freedom of choice and democracy" .... at least it was when I looked it up in my DOW Chemical sponsored dictionary).

Reno




msg:4330340
 3:41 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

If nothing comes of this except more people actually become aware of Google's unique position to gather personal information, and the profiles they build on all users, and the relationship the company has with American intelligence agencies, the taxpayers money will be well spent. To paraphrase Schmidt, "if Google is doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about".

Google Comes Under Fire for 'Secret' Relationship with NSA [pcworld.com]

..........................

SevenCubed




msg:4330343
 4:04 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

And all of US consumers will be better off -- um... except that isn't how it works.


Google's path of destruction extends beyond the American borders -- it's not just about how their actions are or are not affecting American consumers.

They recently opened shop here in Canada as web developers -- giving away free websites to Canadian businesses. Of course it's so they can sell them on AdWords afterward. Here's the link to the Google site promoting it, it's worth watching the video on the front page to to see how utterly stupid and unprofessional that person in the video appears. [gybo.ca...] -- what makes matters even worst is they have managed to get some of Canada's most respected corporations in their back pocket to help them destroy small business people like me who are trying to earn an honest day's wages.

That is a direct hit on me as a small web development business. How am I supposed to compete with a FREE. It's sickening, and whatever the outcome of this "investigation" down the road -- it will not be enough to compensate the worldwide damage Google is doing.

Google is bad to the bone and needs to be reeled in but I don't have hope of that happening because really what is the FTC and Justice Department going to accomplish as long as there is backroom handshaking with the CIA.

DirigoDev




msg:4330346
 4:26 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

An antitrust case against Google would set a treacherous precedent for increased government regulation in an industry that is rather free of government intrusion. This is nothing more than a warning shot fired over the bow – it merely calls attention and demands due diligence by all search engines. Google will make concessions, not unlike Microsoft’s settlement in 2002. Google’s future looks a lot more like Albert Bierstadt's “Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California” than “Emerald Sea”. The clouds will pass.

And in case you are wondering, I’m not pro Google at the moment. Their precious second Panda robbed me of my nice comfy life.

Google is not benevolent. Nor are we webmasters. We put up with Google not of necessity but of advantage. Let us not forget that Google played a role in making us digital bourgeoisie.

dvduval




msg:4330358
 5:31 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

This anti-government regulation stuff borders us having a political discussion. I certainly want to see meat inspected, and keep dangerous chemicals out of baby products. Tomorrow Google could start sending ALL traffic to google sites or to sites that pay their "gate keeper" fee. Maybe that is already happening to some extent. I would certainly want that behavior to be investigated. By forming a corporation, Google agreed to be part of a system that is regulated.

lexipixel




msg:4330379
 7:20 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google's path of destruction extends beyond the American borders -- it's not just about how their actions are or are not affecting American consumers.
-SevenCubed


I intentionally typed "US", as in "we", not "U.S." (as in "U.S.A.").

graeme_p




msg:4330380
 7:21 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

It will be interesting to see what they find.

I suspect most of what Google do in terms of promoting their search engines are things they can defend because 1) its standard practice for search engines, and 2) the products they are promoting are mostly refinements on search, so its really just leading people to more search options.

I have never noticed Google search promoting Google's non-search products like Youtube, Knol, Groups, Finance, Blogger, etc.

graeme_p




msg:4330384
 7:31 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

@SevenCubed, almost every big domain registrar offers free sites, as do lots of other providers.

I am pretty sure what Google are doing is offering some variant on Google Sites - probably just a re-branding. Its only competing with you at the very bottom end.

You should look on this as freeing your talents for more demanding work. I actually intend to tell someone who approached me wanting a small cheap site done to use one of the free services.

lexipixel




msg:4330385
 7:36 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is not benevolent. Nor are we webmasters.


Speak for yourself. I am as benevolent as I can afford to be -- sometimes more than I can afford to be.

If I was independently wealthy, I would not worry about SERPs and CTRs and just spend all my time making the world a better place -- or at least mow my lawn.

We put up with Google not of necessity but of advantage.


Maybe.

Let us not forget that Google played a role in making us digital bourgeoisie.


I think you've got that backwards.

elguiri




msg:4330391
 7:58 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe the FTC could just shut Google down, and give them six months or so to see if they can guess what they did wrong. Does the FTC have a reinclusion request system?

koan




msg:4330454
 10:25 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

elguiri, that was actually pretty funny, I needed a laugh. FTC panda.

heisje




msg:4330472
 10:56 am on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have never noticed Google search promoting Google's non-search products


open your eyes, and you shall see . . . .

.

Reno




msg:4330494
 12:05 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

...give them six months or so to see if they can guess what they did wrong...

Good one elguiri ~ that's a line I wish I'd thought up. It sums up my feelings perfectly. Make 'em sweat. And then as their stock value plummeted, and their managers screamed bloody murder, government spokesmen could come out with a bunch of FUD. In fact, they could just re-word old Google press releases. Many words, little information. Justice.

.................

heisje




msg:4330504
 12:46 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe the FTC could just shut Google down, and give them six months or so to see if they can guess what they did wrong. Does the FTC have a reinclusion request system?


lol -- suitable for framing :)

.

DirigoDev




msg:4330517
 1:23 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think you've got that [bourgeoisie] backwards.


Albeit, Google has grown immensely wealthy - beyond belief. They are one and we are many. The thousands of us Webmasters who have been doing this for longer than a decade (many less) have also benefited immensely. We've amassed our own fortunes. We are the digital social class that owns the means of production in this digital age. Google is part of that 'we'.

If the FTC can shut Google down they can also shut some of us down. Sorry, I’m a free market guy. I learn the system well and exploit the hell out of it for personal gain. I thought that Webmasterworld was all about - learning and sharing so that we could be better. Better leads to profit if you're a capitalist.

Of recent, it looks to me like WebmasterWorld is about winning and sticking it to big G.

SevenCubed




msg:4330562
 2:58 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I intentionally typed "US", as in "we", not "U.S." (as in "U.S.A.").


Noted. Either way I wasn't singling you out, I quoted that simply to point out that the root of the problem is global in nature. Based on your history of posts I see that is indeed your style and that is what not intended to be U.S.

...almost every big domain registrar offers free sites, as do lots of other providers...


Yes but by the mere fact that the person was on their site to begin with says they intended to build a site. The Domain Registrar or Hosting company providing the additional option of free site-builder software isn't a matter of pursuit, they are just being helpful. Google's approach is very clearly to hand out free crack to those not actively seeking web development services. Get them in the door, get them addicted, then push AdWords. Those Canadian companies that have had their palms greased are most likely actively promoting this service off-line through their B&M services. Domain Registrars or hosting companies do not set up active promotional campaigns to bring awareness to free site building software, they simply provide it to customers as a value added service for doing business with them.

You should look on this as freeing your talents for more demanding work. I actually intend to tell someone who approached me wanting a small cheap site done to use one of the free services.


I've worked in the corporate culture world for 25 years. The last 10, prior to becoming self-employed, was in IT for quite a few of the large multi-national corporations. I do not want to go back to that, never. The dog eat dog mentalities in those environments is poison. So, this is where I choose to direct my talents, being accessible to small mom and pop shops that cannot afford the often-times steep prices associated with developing and maintaining an internet presence. I provide that service at very affordable rates, and I get them to first page SERP for local search -- it's my strength. I get enjoyment and satisfaction out of seeing them grow because I continue to work very closely with them after a site goes live. Additionally my 25+ years of work experience in so many different fields provides me with an ability to mentor those just starting out on their own. Small cheap sites, with professional quality attention and service is my niche, because I live a simple lifestyle. Google is assaulting that niche out of greed, not for wanting to be helpful, their reason is self serving, just like...

I learn the system well and exploit the hell out of it for personal gain.


My preference is globalization and sharing the abundant opportunities so everyone can potentially enjoy an opportunity to afford to raise a family, provide basic food and shelter, and live and learn about how to defeat the EGO.

@elguiri -- thanks for lightening the mood here :)

graeme_p




msg:4330572
 3:02 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

@DrigoDev, free markets require freedom to compete. Ensuring that requires regulation.

Randian zero regulation would lead to massive cartels controlling everything.

As you can see I am an "Adam Smith style" free market guy, rather than an "Ayn Rand style" free market guy.

Even though I think Google will largely come out of this in the clear, I think its good that they are getting investigated: it shows that the regulators are not asleep and it gives Google a message that they need to watch what they do.

DirigoDev




msg:4330575
 3:06 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

As I said in my original post,

This is nothing more than a warning shot fired over the bow – it merely calls attention and demands due diligence by all search engines. Google will make concessions, not unlike Microsoft’s settlement in 2002.


@graeme_p, I don't disagree. Oversight is okay. Sweeping regulation, not so good.

heisje




msg:4330612
 4:11 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

By attaining an up to 90% market share in Europe, Google have become a utility, not a mere corporation - however their extreme dominant position (attained legally, few dispute that) brings them under *existing* regulations determining accepted practices.

Example:
algorithmically and (especially manually) banning "thin affiliates" constitutes intentional abuse of dominant position and intentional restriction of trade, for own profit.

Explanation:
- assuming the definition of a "thin affiliate" is a business entity which only advertises and promotes products and services on the internet through a web site belonging to that business entity, earning a commission for this advertising service from interested merchants (advertising clients)

- assuming that a 90% market share by a search engine (Google) makes it essential for any business entity in order to have a presence on the internet to have a presence within that search engine

- assuming that said business entity has an indisputable legal right to provide any (legal) services it desires *on the internet*, including pure advertising services to a client in order to generate income

- it is concluded that by banning said advertising business entity ("thin affiliate") from its index, a search engine dominating up to 90% of internet search, while itself is in the business of selling pure advertising services, said search engine (Google) is intentionally banning its competition from the internet, for own profit (AdWords, and more)

Such intentional abusive and restrictive-of-trade practices, for own profit, are illegal both in the European Union as well as in the USA and in most of the civilised world.

Simple, really . . . .

.

engine




msg:4330633
 4:54 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google confirms it has received formal notification from the U.S. F.T.C. that it is beginning to review its business.

Google comments on F.T.C. notification [googleblog.blogspot.com]
At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first. We aim to provide relevant answers as quickly as possible—and our product innovation and engineering talent have delivered results that users seem to like, in a world where the competition is only one click away. Still, we recognize that our success has led to greater scrutiny. Yesterday, we received formal notification from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it has begun a review of our business. We respect the FTC’s process and will be working with them (as we have with other agencies) over the coming months to answer questions about Google and our services.

It’s still unclear exactly what the FTC’s concerns are, but we’re clear about where we stand. Since the beginning, we have been guided by the idea that, if we focus on the user, all else will follow.

mhansen




msg:4330651
 5:14 pm on Jun 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe the FTC could just shut Google down, and give them six months or so to see if they can guess what they did wrong. Does the FTC have a reinclusion request system?


Still laughing! Good one!

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