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Yelp Responds To Senate Committee Over Google Antitrust Hearing
engine




msg:4365275
 11:16 am on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yelp Responds To Senate Committee Over Google Antitrust Hearing [officialblog.yelp.com]
Because Google competes against Yelp to provide consumers with the best information about local businesses, these government groups have asked Yelp to discuss our experiences with Google’s conduct.

We have responded to these requests and told officials that we believe Google has acted anti-competitively in at least two key ways: by misusing Yelp review content in their competing Places product and by favoring their own competing Places product in search results.

We have been invited to participate in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust hearing about this issue later today; below you can read the testimony I will deliver. I am thankful for the Senate’s interest in this issue and honored to be asked to assist in ensuring fair competition on the Internet for consumers and small businesses alike.



Earlier story
Google to Face Senate Antitrust Panel This Week [webmasterworld.com]

[edited by: engine at 11:21 am (utc) on Sep 21, 2011]

 

engine




msg:4365279
 11:20 am on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)


Google Rivals Are Readying An Antitrust Assault in D.C.
[online.wsj.com]

Three Internet companies—Nextag Inc., Yelp Inc. and Expedia Inc.—are gearing up to attack Google Inc. on Capitol Hill, claiming the company is taking new profits for itself by unfairly punishing them on its search engine.

In a preview of Wednesday's Senate antitrust hearing on whether Google abuses its dominance on the Web, representatives of the sites—which help people search for information on consumer goods, local businesses and airline flights—said in interviews this week that Google has increasingly sought to drive people who use its search engine to its own specialized sites that compete with theirs.

One of the companies, Nextag, is going even further. Chief Executive Jeff Katz said Google also prevents his company's site from bidding on the prominent ads that show up next to search results for products such as running shoes. Instead, he said, because Google sees his company as a threat, Nextag can only bid to appear in text ads lower down on the results page, limiting its exposure to consumers.

bw100




msg:4365299
 12:13 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Senate hearing on Google: Live at 2pm (ET) on C-Span3.

frontpage




msg:4365301
 12:29 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WASHINGTON -Google Inc. is breaking a promise it made to antitrust regulators who approved its purchase of ITA Software Inc. this year by ranking its new flight information service ahead of competitors, according to Expedia Inc.

Google, which introduced its own flight search service Sept. 13, “excludes any link to online travel agencies, which are key options for comparison shopping,’’ according to testimony by Tom Barnett, Expedia’s outside counsel, prepared for delivery today at a Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing on Google’s business practices on the Internet.


Stay classy Google.

ByronM




msg:4365327
 1:28 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Saw on Bloomberg today that Google is also being checked out for rate jacking competitors pricing on adwords. Apparently MS was paying 50% premium according to complaint.

walkman




msg:4365344
 1:53 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Saw on Bloomberg today that Google is also being checked out for rate jacking competitors pricing on adwords. Apparently MS was paying 50% premium according to complaint.

50% s nothing. Guess what else can get you a low quality score?

Product comparison and TRAVEL. What a coincidence

Website types to advertise with caution

The following website types will sometimes merit low landing page quality scores and may be difficult to advertise affordably. If you choose to advertise one of these website types, be particularly careful to adhere to our landing page quality guidelines -- especially the rule about offering unique content.

eBook sites
"Get rich quick" sites
Comparison shopping sites
Travel aggregators


albo




msg:4365354
 2:17 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

The Gorg (Schmidt) as always responds: "The cost of going elsewhere is zero, and users can and do use other sources to find the information they want."

(In other words, "Like it or lump it.")

J_RaD




msg:4365355
 2:19 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)


Saw on Bloomberg today that Google is also being checked out for rate jacking competitors pricing on adwords. Apparently MS was paying 50% premium according to complaint.


shocking? ha not in the least. I don't even look at adwords as a viable advertising method any longer. When they don't even play by their own set of rules how can you? Its like wack a mole, how long before goog smacks you.

ThatsBoBo




msg:4365429
 4:45 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I strongly believe that a search engine or online portal should NOT be allowed to also own other sites and services, UNLESS their search algorithms are publically disclosed as to confirm fair and balanced competition for results placement.

That or break the company up and keep the search aspect of Google (or other search engines/portals) completely separate from other services.

One of the above (or a hybrid of them) will one day become reality. Mark my words...

mhansen




msg:4365511
 6:42 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is it just me, or is Schumer not only ringing his own bell, but also shaking down Google for the high speed wireless deal.

His statement and questions have nothing to do with the topic.

walkman




msg:4365523
 7:11 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

WOW! Under oath Schmidt couldn't say that the algo is not rigged--even on 'organic' search. "I believe so [that it is not]" he said but his face failed him.
Senator Frank pointed that out and Schmidt didn't clarify it.

Let's read the e-mails, if he lied

Even Danny Sullivan wrote that:
He was taken aback by Marissa’s quote. You answered that you put a map out there when someone wants a map out there and that’s what tehy want. I sort of understand that, or a financial answer, but then the ranking question, you said tat’s not the case, when you’re not putting out the answer peopel want, do all your rankings reflect an unbiased algorithm, and you said, after a little hesitation, “I believe so.”Taht seemed like a pretty fuzzy answer coming to me from the charimn. “If you don’t know, who does? That really bothers me”We’re trying to have a hering here if you favor your own sutff, and you admittedly don’t kow the answer.

[searchengineland.com...]

3.03pm: Sen. Al Franken is on now. "I love Google," he says. Now for a bit of a kicking. Franken says he was "taken aback" by Schmidt's comments earlier.Asked if Google's searches reflect an unbiased algorithm he said, after some hesitation, "I believe so."That seemed like a pretty fuzzy answer coming from the chairman. If you don't know, who does."

[guardian.co.uk...]

bw100




msg:4365532
 7:42 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

IMO, Al Franken was doing his job the right way!

walkman




msg:4365533
 7:50 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

IMO, Al Franken was doing his job the right way!

Yep, but Sen Lee really skewered them. Google is gonna change, and not becuase they want to.
Kool-aid drinkers are gonna cry, but no one likes a rigged game, so tough luck :)

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4365545
 8:20 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

The algo is biased, if not rigged, because employees play a big role in it using arbitrary decision making while only looking at 1-3 pages before stamping an entire site unworthy.

Google hasn't just reported what's out there, they've actively tried to shape it while profiting from it. Conflicts of interests are many and all involving YOUR content and reviews and personal information. Well soon find out how well friended Google is with people in positions of power I think. Should be interesting.

bw100




msg:4365554
 8:31 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yep, but Sen Lee really skewered them.

Agreed!
Can you imagine Lee and Franken turned loose on Schmidt, without constraints?
I would pay to see that!

dstiles




msg:4365614
 10:10 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why do people think the situation will improve if google is split up? There will still, presumably, be financial connections either between the companies or the people "in charge"? In which case, google properties will presumably still prevail?

I doubt there is any real purpose to a break-up. I do believe there is purpose in showing google in its true light, whatever that turns out to be.

Web_speed




msg:4365633
 10:44 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Senator Lee + Franken = My Heros

walkman




msg:4365636
 10:57 pm on Sep 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why do people think the situation will improve if google is split up? There will still, presumably, be financial connections either between the companies or the people "in charge"? In which case, google properties will presumably still prevail?

They will not split them. All other properties will fail miserably if not promoted by Google search.

Google needs to open it's algo for inspection by court appointed specialists. Only brainwashed people believe the "trust us, we're different." As the Google founders said ad support, as a model, can make search biased and provide an incentive to have somewhat poor results (so people click on ads). Let's see if Google took $$ in consideration during the algo changes, especially during Panda that gave them record earnings on Google.com.

Whitey




msg:4365680
 1:59 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

It looks like the opposition and consensus is building :

Google is breaking a promise it made to US antitrust regulators who approved its purchase of ITA Software this year by ranking its new flight information service ahead of competitors, according to Expedia. [smh.com.au...]

Even if they are wrong it's not in Google's interest to raise the perception that it is monopolizing search.

incrediBILL




msg:4365692
 3:13 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Isn't asking Yelp, the same people who bullied merchants and other fun tactics, like asking the inmates to run the prison?

Are we just talking lesser of 2 evils now or what?

In reality, Google has no obligation to index or promote Yelp in local whatsoever so Yelp should be lucky their name even shows up and they didn't just slip into obscurity completely in local.

DirigoDev




msg:4365701
 4:10 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

After watching more than an hour of the senate meeting I'm more convinced than ever that Google and their elite group of Ph.D's think that they can own the web. They're doing it because they think that they are smarter. Such arrogance.

Google is mounting an insurrection against private websites. Panda is part of that movement. Yelp has a legitimate complaint. Google's aim is to replace external websites with Google answers under the guise of providing "better" and "faster" results. Why should a user need to leave Google when Google has the best answers? Why should a local business engage with a third party to build a website when Google has places? If Google can keep users on their sites they make more money.

Bad for us. Good for them. The Fed won't stop them. It will be us webmasters.

incrediBILL




msg:4365704
 4:23 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

It will be us webmasters.


Except the webmasters still doing well in Google won't want to buck the system because it will cause them short term loses as they ignore the long term gains.

The only webmasters willing to take action will already be harmed and taking action, such as blocking their crawlers, will have no impact, it will just be a symbolic gesture.

CainIV




msg:4365707
 4:46 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The algo is biased, if not rigged, because employees play a big role in it using arbitrary decision making while only looking at 1-3 pages before stamping an entire site unworthy.


Bing - and fully agree with this statement.

walkman




msg:4365710
 4:50 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

@DirigoDev
want to 'stop' Google?
Write to FTC and complain about their ads that are not labeled as ads, or barely labeled. Watch their income get halved and our traffic explode. Ads should be labeled as ads very clearly, just as Google demands from us in Adsense. Otherwise it's fraud, it helps Google but hurts us, and consumers since the ad price will be added to the merchandise total somehow.

And yes, Panda is Google's attempt, IMO, to make more money. Their income skyrocketed after Panda, skyrocketed. I'll let people speculate as to why. That will kill small moms and pops so we need to make our voice heard.

Google wants to place a Google Tax on all web transactions, that much is clear, when they should just place well labeled ads but send people to the best site--in an unbiased way. As my signature says, A Googler weeps each time a user click on an organic link. That's how greedy they have become.

Let's save the internet (and our livelihoods). Those smooth talking 'engineers' certainly aren't on your side.

The algo is biased, if not rigged, because employees play a big role in it using arbitrary decision making while only looking at 1-3 pages before stamping an entire site unworthy.
The algo is biased because they decide before hand what type of sites they want on top (brands for example) and what they want dead. Then they do the algo and test to see if they got it right, according to their initial plan. A classic stacked deck. Follow the money, don't trust Google or anyone for that matter. Google has $40 Billion reasons to lie and cheat...and that's just this year.
kevina




msg:4365748
 7:21 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe Google is far to be perfect.

I am myself a (small) victim, I have a popular page once on top of search result, now outranked by a similar page from Google edu, of poor quality.

But if you are not happy with Google, I wonder if you will be happy with Microsoft when they will get 30% on revenues of each application running in Metro (as Apple does on iOS too).

Web_speed




msg:4365756
 7:58 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The algo is biased because they decide before hand what type of sites they want on top (brands for example) and what they want dead. Then they do the algo and test to see if they got it right, according to their initial plan. A classic stacked deck. Follow the money, don't trust Google or anyone for that matter. Google has $40 Billion reasons to lie and cheat...and that's just this year.


Spot On!

After watching the video all the way to the end i am now more convinced then ever that Google are abusing their market power in a manner that is grossly hearting consumers and millions of small businesses out there.

How this fiasco is going to end? .... Google will probably be forced to separate Search..... i see no other viable option. "Trust us we good" just ain't going to cut it anymore...too messy, the S$%^t has hit the fan in a massive way this time.

Pure stupidity on behalf of Google management to let things get to where they are and not foresee the possible outcry of their moronic anti competitive actions. Any child could have predicted the outcome of such stupid "in the face" serps re-design.

They are doomed, unless they are quick to admit their mistakes and remedy the problems, now....or within the next few days.

I would not have let a moron like Schmidt even walk my dog... let alone run such a multi billion conglomerate.

P.S.
I'd love to see Mutt Cutts put up on the stand as well and answer some though questions, explaining to the world whats "really" beyond the panda update?

Montresor




msg:4365776
 9:14 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

DirigoDev posted:
The Fed won't stop them. It will be us webmasters.


DirigoDev posted [webmasterworld.com]:
I have about 25 sites in GWT.


First step, detach from the Google Kool-Aid tit. ;)

DirigoDev




msg:4365983
 6:29 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

@Montresor
The Kool-Aid was and still is good. From the testomony, Yelp seemed to indicate that they could not survive without the Kool-Aid.

Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to wholesale move away from Google. They’ve hurt me bad and IMO I did not deserve it. As long as there is revenue to be had from Google I’m on-board. Using the robots.txt to block Google is crazy speak. I don’t think that I’m being hypocritical.

I have switched the default engine inside my company from Google to Bing. I figure that will cost them ~$6K a year (60 people @ ~$100/month in PPC clicks – might be a tad high – just an estimate). Okay, not huge -- but my part. It feels good. I’m contributing to the downward trend in some little way. I’m actively encouraging clients to switch to Bing or Blekko. I’m personally using Bing more for my personal search and research. I’m an influencer and that gives me power. And I know fully well that MS is not innocent. On the marketing side we’ll continue to spend up to our CPO max metric on Google PPC.

If webmasters wake up and figure out that there are choices and that they have influence, Google can be sent a message. I think that we're already sending the message. Just look at their market share. I’m not against Google. I’m against being treated unfairly. And most of all, I’m not for having my industry taken over by a search engine. A search engine is for providing search results. Results are 3rd party sites. I object to Google and their Ph.D.’s thinking that they can answer questions better and faster than private websites. Perhaps they can? IMO this is not their turf.

@mattcutts, convince me that you're beloved Google has not gone to the dark side. Win my confidence back. My allegiance is earned and right now you are not doing a good job.

londrum




msg:4366034
 8:40 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

they will probably be doing google a favour if they convince them to reign back a bit on promoting their own sites.
if google keep pushing it the way they are at the moment, then are going to end up losing users to other engines. bing's numbers are already creeping up.

google are trying to turn themselves into a portal, and every other portal that I know of couldn't keep its users (...apart from facebook, which kind of blows my theory)

graeme_p




msg:4366057
 9:16 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I strongly believe that a search engine or online portal should NOT be allowed to also own other sites and services


I agree, but it would be hard to do that without applying similar principles to the rest of the economy, which would be radical (good IMO, but radical).

@londrum, Facebook is still in its early days. Tell me the same thing in a few years.

The problem with finding an alternative to Google, is that the alternatives are worse. Bing? MS, already far to powerful. Bleek? terrible SERPS? Duck Duck Go? Wants to send everyone to Wikipedia.

The best hope is that Yahoo gets back into search, and does it better, or a completely new startup comes up with an idea good enough to beat Google's resources.

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