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Google declares war on Europe

     
7:33 am on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The extended period for Google to come up with proposals acceptable to Europe for ending their 'alleged' abuse of their monopoly has ended with G totally rejecting the charges and making no attempt to compromise. The stage is set for a battle royal.

Perhaps they hope that a few more millions spent on 'lobbying' will make the problem go away. Then again perhaps it won't and the thing will drag through the courts for years, in which case the damage to the company could be considerable. We Europeans are used to attrition, it's how we usually fight.
11:39 am on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Excellent headline on ElReg: Google: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle of EU
[theregister.co.uk...]

Guess the Google FUDbuddies in the media and elsewhere will be so impressed.

And here is the blog post from GOOG:
[googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.ie...]

Improving quality? Yeah, right!

Regards...jmcc
2:35 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The reg's headline is very good!

Clearly, Google doesn't believe there's anything wrong, and is now challenging outright the European Commission’s Statement of Objections.

This will be an interesting spat!
2:44 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Then again perhaps it won't and the thing will drag through the courts for years, in which case the damage to the company could be considerable.

Fines are a cost of doing business, like bribes in third-world countries.

Also. politicians come and go.
3:20 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Dazzle 'em with brains, baffle 'em with #*$! ... clowns vs. jokers it's still early in the game.

Second inning... Just more of the same.
4:26 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Fines are a cost of doing business, like bribes in third-world countries.

Doesn't the US have some legislation dealing with US corporations using bribes as a method of business?

Regards...jmcc
7:34 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If it is called a fine that's not a bride, though in reality it is one, just sanctioned by the gubermint (sic)

Recent US administrations (note the plural.... I'm taking this all the way back to Harding) have used fines to moderate behavior and enforce compliance to artificially created mandates, and at the same time fill always under funded gubermint (sic) coffers to continue progressive (and financially bankrupt) agendas. :)

When talking international, the wheels will grind exceedingly slow. Set your stop action camera to one slide a week for this to play out so you can watch it at 24fps five (5) years from now.
7:39 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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it's how we usually fight

In related news, Google's push to take over the Russian search market is slated to begin this winter. Well, someone had to say it.
7:49 pm on Aug 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That would be 103 years after the French invasion of Russia and
73 years after the German invasion of Russia. Both campaigns started in June and lasted until December (both failing)

I suspect the Red Army of Yandex might have something to do with turning back the Google invasion. :)
8:34 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suppose at this point I shouldn't be surprised when government officials and the press completely fail to understand technology, yet somehow I still am. From the well titled Register article:
namely that Google’s web search results unfairly promote its own online shopping services over rival stores

Rival what? Google is not a store. The issue, it would seem, is with other shopping aggregators. A pretty important distinction.
That's just the reporters error, though. The government says this:
Google systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits. This conduct started in 2008.

Pay per click search engine ads have always worked that way. And without them funding development internet search would still be in the dark ages. Reading the statement of objections it sounds almost as if they completely fail to understand the difference between ads and organic results.

It's interesting, the logic they're using in their objections to shopping ads applies equally to traditional PPC search ads. In an alternate universe where the EU prevails on this all the revenue sources for search engines would disappear.

Another obvious point they seem to be missing, that any number of people in the web industry could have helped them grasp: shopping aggregators were always doomed. Even if you were to force search engines to stop offering a reasonable service that people want (3rd party shopping ads with pictures and prices and other useful info), the old school aggregators still aren't going to capture most of the clicks. Instead they're going to go to the dominant players: Amazon, eBay, et al. They have name recognition with consumers, unparalleled authority recognition by search engines and their services are superior to other aggregators in every way (from a consumer perspective).

I don't think any sane person would suggest that Google is even in the same universe with Amazon or eBay in terms of shopping market share.

Watching a US giant with a dominant position closing the door on smaller rivals makes Europeans nervous – a fact that hasn't changed in years.

This made me snort. If the populace is that uncomfortable with it, sweet, that means there's a market there. Support a European alternative search engine. Don't have one? Build it! Provided the market really exists it should be easy to find money to fund it. Well, provided the EU hasn't legislated away all the ways it might monetize itself. That would make it a harder sell. :-P
9:06 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@ IanKelly couldn't agree more.

Can't wait to see what happens when the ECs version of legislation meets the courts ... My completely uneducated and totally uninformed view still bets Google will prevail. Course, that can only happen if the EC was bribed by Google like the US Government & the FTC, which suggest EU laws are no better than US laws IMHO.

[edited by: fathom at 9:14 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2015]

9:08 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That would be 103 years after the French invasion of Russia and


slip of the keyboard there tangor ... i'm pretty sure you meant 203 years :)

but i agree, no-one's had that much success, even ghengis khan and his decendants didn't get far into the russian heartland (although obviously mongolia is part of the soviet block)
10:18 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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And this is the mistake people make about Google:
Support a European alternative search engine. Don't have one? Build it! Provided the market really exists it should be easy to find money to fund it.
Google isn't a search engine. It is an advertising business that is built on monetising search. As for the EU and its laughable attempt to build a search engine, I take it you've never heard of Quaero? In English it sounded, perhaps offensively, like a gay dating site but to the morons in the EU commission its iffy Latin name had a clueless Classical theme. :) It crashed and burned.

[en.wikipedia.org...]

Regards...jmcc

[edited by: jmccormac at 11:00 am (utc) on Aug 31, 2015]

10:39 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I hadn't heard of Quaero, thanks for the chuckle... led by France!

If a decent search engine were to come out of Europe it would have to be private... or maybe a university labor of love.

The EU climate is all wrong for tech companies though, the government is borderline hostile to the internet. It's unfortunate.
11:22 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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slip of the keyboard there tangor ... i'm pretty sure you meant 203 years :)

Heh heh... it is not without reason that on some other forums and email lists I am also known as "von Fat Fingers". Sigh.

The concept of an EU search engine has been bandied about, there was something called Qaero? that didn't pan out. Getting two dozen plus nations to work together on something similar or equal to G or even Bing is difficult to achieve for some (politics? cultures? economics?) reason.
11:50 am on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The main problem with building a decent European search engine is monetisation. (Same for all search engines really.) However a bigger problem is that the EU has over 27 languages and country level markets and many of them have very strong ccTLDs. (.DE is the biggest, followed by .UK) Most ccTLD registries don't allow access to their zonefiles and this means that any search engine trying to detect new ccTLD websites by crawling is at a disadvantage thanks to Google's FUDbuddy campaign to scare webmasters into not linking. Google still has data from its spyware in Chrome and from Google Analytics and Adsense. This is unlike the situation with the gTLDs where access to the zonefiles is generally a lot easier.

Regards...jmcc
5:07 pm on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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any search engine trying to detect new ccTLD websites by crawling is at a disadvantage thanks to Google's FUDbuddy campaign to scare webmasters into not linking.

Google doesn't discourage linking. Google discourages "link schemes," such as buying or selling links. Site owners and SEO who can't tell the difference shouldn't blame Google for their ignorance.
5:54 pm on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The average webmaster hasn't a clue about SEO and they read the rubbish in the technology media and on various fora by Google's FUDBuddies about Google is cracking down on linking (often written by people who haven't a clue about what is really going on) and they decide that outbound links might be a risk. And of course Google worked hard to destroy the web directory business.

Regards...jmcc
6:20 pm on Aug 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So what's really going on FUDBuddy?
4:50 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@ianKelly, i am sorry but u don't know what this EU investigation is about. and it looks like you don't have any backgound regading the abuse of a monopoly. Look back to the investigation against microsoft. If EU wouldn't have done anything about MS bundle his browser to its Windows System, today the browser landscape would look much more lonley.
I don't know where you are located but in germany we do have some price compare engines that are much better than googles plain ads model. This sites can't in no way compete against google shopping ads, while google does not account the same standards to them as to their shopping ads. This is the abuse of a monopoly. Not the technology itself. This is where u make the mistake.
Don't get me wrong, i don't want to see all those compare engines on top of the search or in the organics. Make a better system. Divide it onto an extra page and let the compete against each other, so the time will show wether google ads are the other CE will win.
But not in this way, they do it just right now.
6:10 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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i am sorry but u don't know what this EU investigation is about

I don't claim to be an expert on it but I did read the statement of objections which is a summary of the commissions findings. Is there something missing from the statement of objections that you wanted to add to the conversation? I don't mean to sound patronizing but I'm not sure what you're saying I don't understand.

Look back to the investigation against microsoft. If EU wouldn't have done anything about MS bundle his browser to its Windows System

Microsoft still bundles their browser with Windows. That never changed. The change was that the browser was separated from Windows core and can be removed, putting it on more even ground with other browsers.

It was actually the US that forced Microsoft to split its OS and other software businesses and address the issues with their attempts to force other web browsers out of the market.

Unless I missed something all the EU did was force them to provide data they had been witholding to allow other companies to more easily make Windows compatible software. Which they allowed them to charge a royalty fee for doing and gave them 3 years of non compliance before they ended up fining them.

As far as I can see the only thing comparable between the antitrust cases against Microsoft and the current situation with Google is that they are both large companies.

People can use any search engine they want. And indeed the default search engine on the majority of PCs is Bing because a clean Windows install has the IE or Edge browser installed. Firefox defaults to Yahoo. I believe Safari in iOS defaults to Bing now?

Most people have to actively choose to use Google as their search engine. Even some android devices default to other browsers and search engines!
in germany we do have some price compare engines [...] This sites can't in no way compete against google shopping ads

Nor can they compete with Amazon and eBay and whichever other large, well funded, site (Bing) fills the void if you remove Google from the equation.

But if we ignore that for the moment, they also can't compete with traditional text PPC ads which show up at the top and sides of the page. Get rid of those too? Or is it the images that are the problem?
This is the abuse of a monopoly. Not the technology itself. This is where u make the mistake.

Displaying paid ads is abuse of a monopoly? Is there a certain market share past which you should no longer be able to display ads to fund your service?

PPC advertising has been a part of search for nearly 20 years now.

But put all of that aside, the thing that concerns me the most is government getting involved, in any fashion, in something they clearly don't understand. It's easy to cheer for the hobbling of a giant like Google but don't fool yourself into believing that governments won't make life harder for the little guys too once they get their momentum going.

The internet's freedom from bureaucracy is it's defining characteristic, let's keep it that way.
9:32 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You still keep eye on this subject. What i was saying is if you establish a business ( in this case a SE ) and this business becomes a monopol in its niche and then you open it to public ( or opened it before it become a monopol ) then all the members ( including google ) have to play after the same rules. IN this case googles services are NOT seeing any punishments like panda/penguin but still have some advantage over the other memebers ( 1. pictures, 2. allways on top of the serps ).
It would be a other thing if it was a closed business, where members pay for beeing a member. Then it would be down to the contract what treamtent every memeber gets. But it is an open system!

Then this case is about the concern that "NORMAL" ( ! ) users get the feeling that the shopping ads are the only sources in the WWW for shopping. Do they allways get the best price and service from this ads? I doubt.

Then this shopping ads are formated in a way as if they where organic results ! A small little "Anzeige" in the left upper corner is not going to get the attentioon of the user nor will the "NORMAL" user presume that this were paid ads.

This one is the thing that counts :
putting it on more even ground with other browsers.


Yes, make the google shopping ads similar to other Compare / price search engines.
Ask yourself: Why does google put the ads on top, why does google put images on it. And why don´t they open this new format to other publishers?

if google closes it SE to only paying memebers: no problem , but in this case it is an abuse of their position.
9:48 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately you have your signals a little cockeyed.

PANDA/PENGUIN are algorithmic associated with organic search. Images, videos, etc. embedded in the SERPS are not Google Products and they don't monetized those either.

Hardly call that a manopoly, let alone abuse.

Unfortunately, the AD Disclaimer caught your attention... Why would the rest of us be so blind when you are not.

[edited by: fathom at 9:53 am (utc) on Sep 1, 2015]

9:50 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Martic ice web, I know lots of people who just thought the "ad" label at the side of the advertisements was just some kind of button like a retweet.. g+ plus button or what ever and had no idea the top results were ads. Some one I knew bought an expensive mirror from a shop in the "top" results.. the mirror was never delivered it was a scam site.. asked them where he found this site... they showed me on google and said its the top result. It was infact the top result of the ads. Seems only scammers can afford the high ppc anyway nowadays.

I was watching the bbc an old women on one these scam buster tv shows was talking about scams online about people selling free health cards.. she went on google and actually pointed out the scam sites on the search results as being the top results... and said the NHS site was 4th in the list when it was actually 1st the scam sites were ads.

@fathom but if you diminish the quality or even just replace eCommerce sites from the organic search results with information website you can eliminate competition against the ads.
10:07 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom,

other price compare sites are indeed suffer from penguin and panda. And these are competing ( or even not ) with google shopping ads.

Unfortunately, the AD Disclaimer caught your attention... Why would the rest of us be so blind when you are not.


Did you read my post? I pointed out that the "normal" " everage" "not familiar with SEO, Ads, SEs " user don´t get it at all, that this is an ad.


@jambam, i think this is when a business is going to relay an data and only on data. Sometimes it needs humans to look what the data says.....
10:20 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@jambam why would you think Google should do that?

To place an AD on Google you have tons of hoops to jump through... I highly suspect there are many more details involved than just your take of only scammers can afford Google products.

Would think that would be a EC claim as well... if true.

According to you ... I'm a scammer without offering as ounce of evidence.
10:48 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom,

other price compare sites are indeed suffer from penguin and panda. And these are competing ( or even not ) with google shopping ads.
Free editorial listings don't compete with paid ads. Paid Ads compete with Paid Ads.


Did you read my post? I pointed out that the "normal" " everage" "not familiar with SEO, Ads, SEs " user don´t get it at all, that this is an ad.
Disorientation is a problem inherent to all websites. In your view, how many searches does it take to become "above average"?

[internetlivestats.com...] At 40,000 searches/second or 1.2 trillion searches/year that's 166 searches per year per person on this planet. Please qualify your answer.

Which likely suggest even a newbie does more than 166/year.
11:00 am on Sept 1, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's a fair point that some users might not realize they're ads but, in english language serps at least, shopping ads are enclosed in a box with the word "sponsored" at the top and even a little info popup that reads: "Based on your search query, we think you are trying to find a product. Clicking in this box will show you results from providers who can fulfill your request. Google may be compensated by some of these providers."

I suppose you could debate that it should be in some way more obvious but that isn't what the EU commission is taking issue with. They have the same issue you do which, respectfully, is based on a basic misunderstanding of search.
IN this case googles services are NOT seeing any punishments like panda/penguin but still have some advantage over the other memebers

Right but that is how PPC search ads have always worked. To be reasonable the argument is either that search engines can show PPC ads independent of organic search or they can't.

If they can't then they can no longer fund development and the evolution of search grinds to a halt until black hat SEO gets far enough ahead that search (as we know it) dies completely. Maybe something good would come out of that after a while but it's a pretty extreme response to PPC ads!

Incidentally if you head over to Bing, Yahoo (since they use Bing ads) or Ask you'll find pretty much the same format as Google, images and all.
7:58 am on Sept 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If people like your product, they'll buy them. If they don't, they won't. Where you place your product and how you distinguish it from the rest is pivotal question related to the previous sentence. You need to run ads and organics and display and amazon and e-bay. The era of the free internet lunch is long gone and no one, especially Google is obligated to like your product and website more than the other 293049x10^23 $40 e-commerce websites out there. Unless you try to have a unique and simple proposition for your product you will be just like everyone else and in the end will suffer. I've seen people selling spanners in a creative enough way for their ads, product ads, google ads, listings and website to motivate people to buy their particular product.

What the EU is trying to do is to protect the lazy european e-coms that are so used to getting free traffic that they placed all the eggs in one basket. Well...I have news for you and you ain't gonna like em.
10:58 am on Sept 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think this is one example that shows a trend where companies are becoming stronger than governments.
In my opinion, this is the direction our world is going in and we will be seeing more and more of this.
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