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Europe Ready to File Anti-Trust Charges Against Google

     
1:48 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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[wsj.com...]

A decision to file charges against Google would kick off the EU’s highest-profile antitrust suit since its lengthy campaign that started a decade ago against Microsoft Corp., which paid the bloc €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion) in fines through 2012.

In addition to search, the commission has been investigating whether Google has been “scraping” content from rivals’ sites, and unfairly restricting advertisers and software developers who do business with the search giant. A draft conclusion prepared in March 2013 by the European Commission took the “preliminary view” that Google was abusing its dominant position in all four areas.
6:15 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm split on this.

You can prevent google from accessing your content but obviously to take the high ground you also give up Google's traffic.

user-agent: googlebot
disallow: /

This is your permission to offer or not. At least that would be my basic argument to the courts.
6:32 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This is your permission to offer or not.

Yes, but what about scrapers that ignore robots.txt, steal your content, and rank in Google using your own content?
6:42 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This is your permission to offer or not. At least that would be my basic argument to the courts.

The full context of what they are talking about in regards to "scraping" is here: [europa.eu...]

Here's an excerpt:

Our second concern relates to the way Google copies content from competing vertical search services and uses it in its own offerings. Google may be copying original material from the websites of its competitors such as user reviews and using that material on its own sites without their prior authorisation. In this way they are appropriating the benefits of the investments of competitors. We are worried that this could reduce competitors' incentives to invest in the creation of original content for the benefit of internet users. This practice may impact for instance travel sites or sites providing restaurant guides.
6:45 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That isn't this lawsuit.

You can file a DMCA complaint and Google will obey it by removing the scrapped content until the scrapper Counterclaims then it is up to you to sue.
6:51 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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fathom,

why a webmaster sue or ask google to remove content...it must be google responsibility as they r making profit from webmaster's content
6:54 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Our second concern relates to the way Google copies content from competing vertical search services and uses it in its own offerings. Google may be copying original material from the websites of its competitors such as user reviews and using that material on its own sites without their prior authorisation. In this way they are appropriating the benefits of the investments of competitors. We are worried that this could reduce competitors' incentives to invest in the creation of original content for the benefit of internet users. This practice may impact for instance travel sites or sites providing restaurant guides.


Which is why I'm on the fense.

I'm in my own battle that has cost me $15,000+ in legal fees (and nothing to do with the actual cost of the content) and if they don't settle I may need to spend 2.4 million to preserve the status quo which would be their loses if my injunction is granted but I lose the trial.

Hardly worth creating high quality content that is worth less than 2.4 million if I must preserve the defendant's rights to infringe.

[edited by: fathom at 7:00 pm (utc) on Apr 2, 2015]

6:55 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The culture within the EU on monopolies is pretty far left.

They essentially view a monopoly market share search engine as having a civic obligation to be fair.

To the degree that this happened in Nov 2014:

(European Parliament) The motion passed as expected by 384 votes to 174 with 56 MEPs abstaining, and encourages the European commission (EC) to consider unbundling Google’s search business from its advertising and other businesses.


That's not likely to happen, but clearly, Europe has a very different cultural view on antitrust than the US does.
6:58 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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fathom,

why a webmaster sue or ask google to remove content...it must be google responsibility as they r making profit from webmaster's content


Semantics... Organic results and KG are free. They technically make nothing from SERPs.
6:59 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I will concede that point rish3!
7:35 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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how can you say they make nothing from the SERPs, when it is plastered all over with google ads.
without the SERPs they're ad profits would plummet
7:48 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's not likely to happen, but clearly, Europe has a very different cultural view on antitrust than the US does.


It does seem to be more about protecting competitors than about protecting end users. And in the end, European taxpayers and businesses will foot the bill.
8:04 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And in the end, European taxpayers and businesses will foot the bill.

Last time, Microsoft ended up with the bill :)
8:13 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Last time, Microsoft ended up with the bill :)


And now the European Commission is Microsoft's bitch. :-)
8:18 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And now the European Commission is Microsoft's bitch. :-)

How so? Did I miss some news there?
8:21 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It does seem to be more about protecting competitors than about protecting end users.

I would say that is a pretty accurate assessment.

And as such it is anything but "far left".

...
8:22 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Londrum

If the content was in the ads then ok.

But query results are more tied to user searches not google scrapping websites.
8:29 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I would say that is a pretty accurate assessment.
And as such it is anything but "far left".

I guess you can call it something else, but the historical view is that liberals support antitrust laws and actions, and conservatives oppose them even existing.
9:05 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Semantics... Organic results and KG are free.

except For Google: minor cost of scraping it.
They technically make nothing from SERPs.

Correct, except if there is no content to scrape(e-com store for example goes belly up), they could stick another Amazon listing in its place and charge the rest of leftovers 1$+ for AdWords.
9:51 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Correct, except if there is no content to scrape(e-com store for example goes belly up), they could stick another Amazon listing in its place and charge the rest of leftovers 1$+ for AdWords.


Not sure what your point is.

Exposure made the company go belly up.

Or you believe a Go To (Overture) model was better.

It's clear you aren't discussing Knowledge Graph as e-comm stores are hard press to be included as knowledge.

In the secondary quote the reference to "reviews" how much does billions of free reviews cost to invest in?

But I do like the rhetoric.
10:17 pm on Apr 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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bombastic then!
4:30 am on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom

If you think google have behavioured fairly or reasonably in last five years you should be their lawyer.... or get an IQ test
11:14 am on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you think google have behavioured fairly or reasonably in last five years you should be their lawyer.... or get an IQ test


Google have behaved neither favourably nor reasonably over the last 5 years but then neither have the rest of the 'search engines'. If you remember the old Goto, Linksmart and, yes, Yahoo days then Google doesn't really look so bad in comparison.

Beware of what you wish for. It may come true.
11:56 am on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom

If you think google have behavioured fairly or reasonably in last five years you should be their lawyer.... or get an IQ test


I haven't claimed anything. Just making rebuttals that I'm sure someone will suggest the same things in court and if your only response is an unrelated message about IQ you seriously don't understand the law.
12:49 pm on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The culture within the EU on monopolies is pretty far left.

Unlike the USA the EU has little tolerance for monopolies or near monopolies in their economy. When an organization does become an economic monopoly it can be hard to not step on emerging competition.

I have no beef with Google but I would like to see more real competition in search within the USA.

Until we have more search competition here in the USA, I'll ask Google how far I need to jump when they tell me to jump.
2:21 pm on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Unlike the USA the EU has little tolerance for monopolies or near monopolies in their economy.

Right, that's why I pay so little for tickets on Deutsche Bahn, and it's why Germany outlawed long-distance buses until recently.
2:25 pm on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Unlike the USA the EU has little tolerance for monopolies or near monopolies in their economy.


Until we have more search competition here in the USA, I'll ask Google how far I need to jump when they tell me to jump.


All true. So it's ironic that the USA has FAR more search competition than Europe - where Google's market share is typically around 90%.

(We Europeans have to jump even before Google asks us!).
2:59 pm on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So it's ironic that the USA has FAR more search competition than Europe - where Google's market share is typically around 90%.


Right. And one has to wonder why. Web search has been around since the mid-1990s, when the search market was far more fragmented than it is now (and when Google didn't even exist). The U.S. produced Google and Bing (among others), Russia produced Yandex, China produced Baidu, and the EU produced [drumroll] Foundem?
3:54 pm on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The U.S. produced Google and Bing (among others), Russia produced Yandex, China produced Baidu, and the EU produced [drumroll] Foundem?


There are, of course, counter examples...even ones that might be related to the US tolerance for monopolies.

Like, for example, why the US lags, so badly, in broadband availability and cost vs Europe, South Korea, etc.

[akamai.com...]
[newamerica.net...]
4:10 pm on Apr 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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But we aren't talking about broadband availability. We're talking about search.

Protectionism is likely to work only when you've got something worth protecting.
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