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The Senate Anti-Trust Hearing
What will the results be?
superclown2




msg:4365774
 9:03 am on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here is my take on it: Others may disagree .....

Google was given several chances at the Congressional Hearing to offer to clean up their act. All these chances were spurned. Very soon they may either have to come forward with a voluntary code, or face antitrust action. This could have a devastating effect on the company as day-to-day business is disrupted, bad publicity causes a loss of trust amongst searchers and advertisers desert them to avoid being tarred by the same brush.

Markets hate uncertainly so in the absense of a fast settlement shareholders will be nervous. Google pays no dividends to it's ordinary shareholders. They stay in because they expect the shares to rise. If they look like falling long term many will cut their losses and sell because in the absence of a dividend they are on a hiding to nothing and this will cause further falls. The fortunes of many googlers are in shares or share options. Google will have to pay ever higher salaries (as they have already started to do) to compensate for this and retain staff. All on a falling income. Eventually a settlement, most probably not to their liking, will be imposed on them, rather than be freely negotiated by them.

This could be the biggest corporate disaster in history if it is not handled properly. The big question for us now is: how will this affect webmasters, in the short and long term?

 

walkman




msg:4366080
 11:21 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

<snip>
[googlecompetition.blogspot.com...]
CLAIM: “Google’s tactics foreclose the ability of other sites to compete on the merits and to achieve the scale necessary to succeed. Without search traffic and the resulting revenues, these sites are unable to deliver innovative content and better services to consumers.”

RESPONSE: Google was built for users, not websites, and Google doesn’t “owe” traffic to any website any more than the Drudge Report “owes” links to the New York Times or the Washington Post. The fundamental openness of the Internet means that any site with a strong offering can find users.

[edited by: goodroi at 7:06 pm (utc) on Sep 23, 2011]
[edit reason] Let's keep this discussion professional [/edit]

Donna




msg:4366146
 4:16 am on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

RESPONSE: Google was built for users, not websites, and Google doesn’t “owe” traffic to any website any more than the Drudge Report “owes” links to the New York Times or the Washington Post. The fundamental openness of the Internet means that any site with a strong offering can find users.



This just gets me sick to my stomach. THE ARROGANCE AND IGNORANCE.
They will get it sooner then later , mark my words.

MrSavage




msg:4366335
 3:08 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

If 90% of the people in the UK use Google, then a site with a strong offering can find users, provided Google indexes them well in their SERPS. If it were just so simple. Right. Build a great site, exclude Google from indexing you, then see the traffic roll in?

Dave_Hybrid




msg:4366337
 3:14 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Exactly, but it's worse than that. Google used you to corner the very market they now tell you to buzz off and tap into yourself. The arrogance of it all.

diberry




msg:4366357
 3:56 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

RESPONSE: Google was built for users, not websites, and Google doesn’t “owe” traffic to any website any more than the Drudge Report “owes” links to the New York Times or the Washington Post. The fundamental openness of the Internet means that any site with a strong offering can find users.


It's not about OWING anyone traffic - of course they don't. It's about CONTROLLING the traffic in ways that have less nothing to do with providing results searchers want and everything to do with increasing Google's earnings.

Paid text links are a perfect example. They mess up the algo and/or take away from AdWords earnings, so Google banned them. This is despite the fact that you CAN have paid text links that are carefully chosen to provide value to your visitors. It was done properly for years before pagerank became the thing. BUT notice that even though Google banned them, they only PENALIZED (never banned!) webmasters who still used them. This was because if they had banned your site for linking as you see fit instead of how THEY see fit, that would be so far over the line of monopolistic practices that this whole mess could've started much earlier for them. But if they only penalized your site, well, they have a right to decide where you fall in the SERPs.

Monopoly suits are mainly about whether consumers are being hurt, not competitors. Consumers usually are hurt by lack of competition, so the question is: is Google squelching competition? I say yes in light of the testimony from Yelp.

I wonder if the reason Google hired thousands of people recently was just to show they provide jobs in a time when jobs are desperately needed? That was one of Schmidt's arguments - don't mess us up, we're providing JOBS, and you should let anyone who provides jobs do whatever they want.

MrSavage




msg:4366371
 4:15 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this hearing is going to prove how out of control, how mammoth, and just how secretive Google has become. It's going to become clear that a hearing of this size is far outmatched by Google and all its different arms. Seriously. Schmidt is testifying, however we could argue that Google under his control was honorable. A new CEO? A lot of issue suddenly for the world of webmasters.

I think Google is too confusing for the hearing to deal with properly. It will be like swimming in mud. That's my prediction. I think the "trust" element that Google worked so hard for will take the biggest hit here. That trust or loss of trust will affect all their projects now and in the future. The trust issue will have huge issues for Google because if you cut Google out, you are saying no to a lot of hardware and software that they are involved with. That is what they should fear.

walkman




msg:4366373
 4:20 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wonder if the reason Google hired thousands of people recently was just to show they provide jobs in a time when jobs are desperately needed? That was one of Schmidt's arguments - don't mess us up, we're providing JOBS, and you should let anyone who provides jobs do whatever they want.
For every job they created they have probably caused the loss of 100 others.


Monopoly suits are mainly about whether consumers are being hurt, not competitors. Consumers usually are hurt by lack of competition, so the question is: is Google squelching competition? I say yes in light of the testimony from Yelp.

You have to prove them in court though, but it makes sense that that a nice chunk of the $30 Billion Google is making in sneaky ways (if not outright fraud) is an added cost to the consumer.

albo




msg:4366388
 4:39 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seems to me, though, the government isn't going to do much of anything about all this.

Ultimately, the decisive action will show in the actions of folks who perform searches and folks who pay for SEO/page-rank.

It's up to the searching public to down-rank the Google SE and search elsewhere.

It's up to the griping webmasters who pay for AdWords and tailor their websites for the Google crawler, to begin to ignore the Gorg and divert attentions elsewhere.

So long as no one's willing to take the first step because "we can't because it's too beeg and it's too scary and we can't afford not to use them," it has a great chance of going on.

Click away, indeed.

walkman




msg:4366394
 4:49 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

@albo
briefly scanning the webmaster sites yesterday, it looked like a PR tool from Google was trying to desperately direct webmaster's attention from the Senate hearing with all these Q&As and other tricks. Pretty pathetic, but it shows that they are scared to death. They know they did wrong and they are afraid that webmasters will start looking at Google's practices very closely and write to FTC, Congressman, Senators and state officials. Imagine if webmasters asked loudly that Google identify it's products as ads, or Adword customers legitimately complained about the ads looking like normal results, costing them money?

Google was pushing the 'we create jobs' but what if we told our representatives how many jobs Google lost with Panda, to increase their earnings? Or by overcharging for ads due to tweaks and monopoly? How are they helping the economy? These are the facts and legitimate concerns that Google is scared to death of.

It's not too much to demand that Google identify ads on top clearly as ads. If you bid your name /trademark you lose money when searchers think it's a normal SERP due to Google's cooking of the colors.
It must be a mistake anyway, transparency is one of Google's main virtues. It says so right here [investor.google.com...]

And of course, despite all that they're doing, they still want to be the center of attention from the Webmasters. If 'we' don't talk about ranking high there, they are done.

Marshall




msg:4366436
 5:57 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

What happened to "do no evil."

But seriously, only focusing on the search engine side, Google really doesn't have any responsibility to site owners, though they make them jump through hoops to get higher ranking. They are, after all, a for profit business which built themselves on drawing everyone in with whatever offers/products/gimmicks and, once big enough (too big to fail), changed the rules. That being said, ultimately, we brought this upon ourselves by truly focusing on one search engine rather than allowing for diversity.

Marshall

superclown2




msg:4366441
 6:10 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

briefly scanning the webmaster sites yesterday, it looked like a PR tool from Google was trying to desperately direct webmaster's attention from the Senate hearing with all these Q&As and other tricks. Pretty pathetic, but it shows that they are scared to death.


In their place I'd be terrified. The damage a suit could do is enormous. Strangely enough though I've seen absolutely zilch about this in the UK newspapers. Pity, a crusading newspaper spilling all the beans could make Google sit up and take notice. I hope they do, I always prefer the (chastened) devil I know to the one I don't.

[edited by: superclown2 at 6:45 pm (utc) on Sep 23, 2011]

diberry




msg:4366446
 6:30 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

For every job they created they have probably caused the loss of 100 others.


You're absolutely right. It's harder to prove, unfortunately, but I'm hopeful that the people giving testimony will convince the panel that if Google wasn't squelching competition, there might be room for a whole lot more healthy competition in many niches.

I also think you're right that Google is very afraid right now (and rightly so). I'm not sure what the govt can or will do about this, but reports from the media here do strongly suggest that *something* is going to change. I also doubt Google will voluntarily change enough to please them - I think it's going to be like the MSN suit all over again.

MrFewkes




msg:4366454
 6:43 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Superclown - me too - the only thing I have seen recently about google in the news here in the UK is to do with how they are offering up competition to facebook.

People I talk to over here couldnt give a s*** what google are up to - they are more concerned with footballers getting leg problems and whether to get a kebab or a chinese after tonights lashing on the pop.

Hmmm - I still think if things go pearshaped for google they will hit sites hard - lashing out with less and less in the natural serps.

"Google doesn’t “owe” traffic to any website "

Google - it would seem - have declared war on websites who dont pay. Right or wrong - it does seem like war to me.

superclown2




msg:4366459
 6:48 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google - it would seem - have declared war on websites who dont pay. Right or wrong - it does seem like war to me


Google need a lot of healthy non-paying websites to stay in existence in order to give their advertising credibility. So, it is not in their interests to destroy them - just to cull them, and keep them under control.

MrFewkes




msg:4366470
 7:11 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd call that war superclown. People generally dont like being "farmed", treated like dogs, culled or whatever else.

I agree - its not in their interest to destroy sites - but they must understand that there is a limit to how much traffic they can take away before site owners go bust.

I believe they couldnt care less.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4366473
 7:16 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google was built for users, not websites, and Google doesn’t “owe” traffic to any website


I STRONGLY beg to differ. Google extensively crawls and "borrows" the content of every site to make it's serps, without websites and permission to crawl, there IS NO GOOGLE.

edit: typo's

[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 7:26 pm (utc) on Sep 23, 2011]

MrFewkes




msg:4366478
 7:20 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Kickax - anyone who disagrees with that is.... well - errrr - you know................ Google.

Dave_Hybrid




msg:4366482
 7:25 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Watch the video, 3 hours but worth it's weight in gold over these snippets.

For an impartial committee they were very anti-google, very one-sided, the gov is gearing up for battle unless they make voluntary changes, they made that very clear verbally several times.

This should be interesting.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4366490
 7:29 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

The committee wasn't anti-google, they were trying to get to the bottom of the issue. Asking Google to clarify some things was met with Google very craftily NOT clarifying anything. The one-side the committee is on is the legal one, battle seems a forgone conclusion and Google knows it.

If friends in important places don't intervene Google will be forced to reveal (to to us but to an inspection team) how it's making billions per quarter while smashing some companies dreams seemingly without reason.

Dave_Hybrid




msg:4366494
 7:38 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

It was crushing for Google imo. The message was 'we think you're up to no good, you've got this forum now to explain and make voluntary changes after/soon or we'll come after you'. Which I think is great, google needed a big slap.

There's getting to the bottom of the issue and then there's asking a company 'IF they had done the crime what would they do to redeem themselves', three times from three separate committee members, that's pretty much saying we think you did it, repent or we'll ruin you. A far cry from throwing a few questions around asking how things work etc.

I stand by my observation. The committee was clearly not there to ask some questions, they were there to point the finger, they had their minds made up long before entering the room. I'm not saying this was bad, quite the opposite. They had done their research before and turned up to fire warning shots. I expected everyone prancing round the issues and things being much less direct. It was very refreshing.

albo




msg:4366533
 8:56 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bwahahaha, interesting link there, @walkman.

I see the Gorg says, "We take pride in responding to communications from our users, whether questions, problems or compliments. If something is broken, fix it."

Time for a wrench, no?

Donna




msg:4366628
 4:11 am on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just finished watching the Cspan and from the looks of it Schmidt is A: Retarded , B: really trying to ruin Google.

From what they are saying I dont think Google "GETS IT" but if they go for only one of the faults "scraping" as Mr. Blumenthal said they will litetrly rip Google appart. Like ceases to exist over night.

Web_speed




msg:4366642
 6:12 am on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Watch the video, 3 hours but worth it's weight in gold over these snippets. For an impartial committee they were very anti-google, very one-sided, the gov is gearing up for battle unless they make voluntary changes, they made that very clear verbally several times.


I agree. Thats what i saw too. An anti-google hearing fireing warning shoots.... Google was being put on notice that day.

Donna




msg:4366650
 8:03 am on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

It was funny how their rep. Susan something got obliterated and could not even produce a sentence on multiple occasions. Big shifts are coming lets pray it's for our good( webmasters). I am already noticing some weird mixed places queries on spots 4-5-6. Might be just me or might be something new. You know they are backed in a corner when you hear them repeating how people have a choice of choosing a different search engines and all the one click away alternatives and then seeing the grind over all senators' faces. Google really have no exit strategy here , they are full speed ahead.

And we all know there are people reading these forums from Google. All I have to say to them is : You turned your back on us, now is our turn.

MrFewkes




msg:4366673
 10:34 am on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Ive realised that the reason for the seemingly accelerated rate at which google shoved the natural serps off the page recently was probably due to google getting in what they could before the hearing.

This means they will stick with things how they are for a while now as the dust settles from the hearing.

Then - they will launch fresh attacks against non-paying websites.

Its war. They state they owe us no traffic and they are our biggest enemy EVER.

Dont believe me? Still a google fanboy? Watch what happens.

MrFewkes




msg:4366681
 11:41 am on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

"And we all know there are people reading these forums from Google. All I have to say to them is : You turned your back on us, now is our turn. " - From Donna.

Yes - I agree and really well put. Lets see what happens when the internet turns its back on YOU google.

Dave_Hybrid




msg:4366682
 12:00 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Something else worth noting.

Schmidt said: Android does not come with Google apps pre-installed and Google search as default on all phones, when they do pre install, the only thing installed is gmail and you can easily remove it.

Reality: I say with some conviction all android phones come with maps, places, nav, gmail and talk installed and Google as the default search, not one competitor alternative. You cannot remove them, go on try. Even if you force 'root' the device using 3rd party hacks (something 90% of users just simply dont have the knowledge to do) and remove Google software you'll quickly find you cant download ANY apps from the market and have to hard reset (reinstall) the OS.

This locking in. In it's finest form and is no different from MS not offering a different browser choice in Windows. In fact it's worse, not only is their no choice, it's dam hard to swap even if you wanted to. I bet Google jumped on the MS bandwagon, then does exactly the same thing. Over 90% market share because they offer an OS for free, then they pull the tricks later down the path. Sound familiar? They perfected it with search/adwords and now this IS their business model. Bait and switch.

Do no evil? Really? C'mon, give it up already. You're pulling these stunts in public, we can see you!

g1smd




msg:4366789
 6:03 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I assume they'll be asked to backtrack on various changes (in search). By getting many changes in now, they'll therefore not be pushed back quite so far as without them.

outland88




msg:4366797
 7:52 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

For an impartial committee they were very anti-google, very one-sided


Actually Senator Feinstein took her allotted time praising Google as did the woman Senator from either Minnesota or Wisconsin with some of her time. Senator Grassley the purported people’s watchdog said very little and only announced he would show up for Google’s get together in Iowa. The Senator from New York also pointed that Google employed many in New York City. He also pointed out that some research was overwhelmingly in favor of Google.

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