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European antitrust investigators are asking advertisers whether Google ever suggested that they increase spending in return for improved visibility in its Web search results, or stymied attempts to move their business elsewhere.
The queries are among about 120 on a questionnaire sent as part of the European Union’s inquiry, opened late last year, into possible antitrust abuses by Google.
A copy of the confidential questionnaire, seen by The International Herald Tribune, seeks to ascertain whether Google manipulated search results and used its popular platform to keep business and disadvantage rivals in online advertising and Internet search.
“Please explain whether and, if yes, to what extent your advertising spending with Google has ever had an influence on your ranking in Google’s natural search,” the investigators ask in the questionnaire.