Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 18.206.168.65

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

FTC rumoured to be taking a second look at Google search

     
7:14 pm on May 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2004
posts:379
votes: 33


Just breaking on Politico...FTC taking second look at Google search. With all the lobbyists I'm surprised...

Source: Sources: Feds taking second look at Google search [politico.com]

[edited by: Andy_Langton at 9:33 pm (utc) on May 11, 2016]
[edit reason] Add source [/edit]

9:48 pm on May 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 21, 2004
posts:3443
votes: 335


The money spent by Google on lobbyists is matched by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Yelp, etc who are all pushing their own individual agenda. The article says "Senior antitrust officials at the FTC have discussed the matter in recent months with representatives of a major U.S. company that objects to Google's practices". Someone with deep pockets is complaining about Google.

This will not change anything with Google serps or SEO anytime soon nor does it mean Google is doing anything wrong with its search. The last time the FTC looked (3 years ago) Google volunteered very minor concessions and the FTC dropped the case. Since this is an election year in the US, there might be more pressure applied to the FTC from politicians so it might go a little further this time.

Most of us do not like Google and have a very long list of legitimate reasons why Google has been and continues to be wrong in different situations. Hating Google doesn't make us any money. Waiting for the FTC is definitely not the best use of our time. If we want to better defend our profits from Google search, it is probably much smarter to spend our time focusing on our content, links and usability.
10:48 pm on May 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 12, 2006
posts:2709
votes: 116


i remember when the EU forced some concessions on them, and all they did was get rid of the background colours on the ads and replace them with that tiny little 'Ad' label. What a great "concession" that was -- it made the ads even MORE like the serps!

All the web business people can see the problems, but the politicians havent got a clue.
12:39 am on May 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3375
votes: 716


i remember when the EU forced some concessions on them, and all they did was get rid of the background colours on the ads and replace them with that tiny little 'Ad' label. What a great "concession" that was -- it made the ads even MORE like the serps!

On my laptop, that change from a pale tinted background to a yellow "Ad" icon made ads much easier to recognize on my laptop display, which just goes to show that one size doesn't fit all and what's a problem for some may be a solution for others.
1:55 am on May 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:668
votes: 329


The money spent by Google on lobbyists is matched by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Yelp, etc who are all pushing their own individual agenda.

Google is spending about twice as much as their nearest competitor to influence law, protect their dominance and basically screw those small businesses that don't have wheel barrows full of money to dump into Washington D.C.

2015 Lobby Dollars Spent:

Google = $16.66 million
Microsoft = $8.49 million
Facebook = $9.85 million
Amazon = $9.07 million

Lobbying needs to end across the board and in all industries. If a company wants to persuade lawmakers, let them plop their behinds in a chair and speak during an open and televised committee meeting like those without millions of dollars have to do.
3:19 am on May 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9235
votes: 780


Not to mention all the ex-Google employees now in government and NPO consulting positions. Another layer of bureaucracy, but this one is "google-trained".
1:16 am on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 2, 2006
posts:27
votes: 3


A joke.

Google is an investor in Lend Up, a payday loan company, and you can see their organic rankings are quite high....hmmm. And, they are going to ban all payday loan ads.
11:41 am on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:May 10, 2016
posts:8
votes: 5


Take off your tinfoil hat buddy, its on way too tight. There are way better cases to make against Google than Lend Up. Not sure how much you understand SEO or if you just didn't have time to research the rankings.

Lend Up should be ranking much better if they had a better SEO person. They have very strong quality backlinks from princeton.edu, ncif.org, pewtrusts.org, rice.edu, creditbuildersalliance.org, ft.com, wsj.com, foxbusiness.com and many more very powerful relevant link sources. They have about 10,000 legitimate backlinks and this is not spam garbage which is common for payday loan websites. These are links an SEO would kill for like financial newspapers, credit organizations, financial organizations.

But sure go ahead and tell me that Google is fixing the system by ranking a website with relevant content and 10,000 backlinks including some crazy high quality sources at the BOTTOM of page 1 of their search results. As for me, I look at Google Flights being on TOP of travel search results or four ads being on TOP of search results pushing all organic results below the fold.
2:10 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3546
votes: 327


Lend Up should be ranking much better if they had a better SEO person.

Shouldn't the ranking be based on factors such the quality of the service and the usabilty of the website, rather than on who has the best "SEO person"?
2:39 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3375
votes: 716


Shouldn't the ranking be based on factors such the quality of the service and the usabilty of the website, rather than on who has the best "SEO person"?

The "quality of the service"? Google Search ranks Web sites, not how quickly the Customer Service rep picks up the phone or how efficiently the restaurant waiter delivers the spaghetti carbonara.
4:27 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


Take off your tinfoil hat buddy, its on way too tight. There are way better cases to make against Google than Lend Up.

You are right, Google also backs Lending Club and Credit Karma, which also peddles alternative loans. Apparently Totalx overlooked the Google Capital connection when making his statement.
4:29 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3546
votes: 327


EditorialGuy -- You totally missed the point.

An earlier poster suggested that a company's site ranks higher if Google has a financial stake in it. Then another poster countered by suggesting that the company's rankings are heavily dependent on how good a job the company's SEO person is doing, and that this can negate the positive effect of a financial stake..

So you totally missed the point and diverted the thread away from the main topic.
4:48 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3375
votes: 716


So you totally missed the point and diverted the thread away from the main topic

Actually, no. In any case, anters makes some excellent points. If Google organic search is favoring sites that it has a financial interest in, one would expect Lend Up to be ranking better than it does. (Ditto for Google Search in a query on "search engines.")
5:03 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9235
votes: 780


The renewed investigation is regards to Antitrust, not payday loans (though they are under investigation for that as well. G has announced a crackdown on payday advertising ... but the antitrust thing is not going away.
8:14 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 30, 2002
posts: 2649
votes: 97


Well it is not surprising to see renewed FTC interest in the Google. There are two existing cases in the European Union involving Google. The facts that these cases have progressed and there is a renewed emphasis on the tax avoidance schemes used by Google and other US corporations to avoid paying US tax rates would indicate that the ice may be getting thin under Google's position. Google's FUDbuddies in the media are going to be on overtime trying to distract people from the obvious greed of Google. No doubt all those mom and pop sites that have been hammered by Google's greed and "algorithms" will be happy to see Larry, Curly and Moe get it in the neck from the FTC. Google has form. It had to pay over $500,000,000 in fines for drug dealing. ( [bbc.com...] ) It got away lightly that time. However if the FTC is moving towards an antitrust position, that is far more ominous as it could, if pursued, lead to a split between Google's advertising business and its search business.

Webmaster World used to be a place where the web business was discussed. However there is a certain pro-Google taint to it these days that makes it difficult to discuss such important matters relating to Google without it becoming derailed.

Regards...jmcc
9:33 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 26, 2013
posts:454
votes: 69


Well it is not surprising to see renewed FTC interest in the Google.

And there should be considering how important ecommerce's role is in economies around the world. The question is how much political influence will be applied to make it go away for Google in the United States this time around. Watching TV last night I saw Trump talk harshly about antitrust issues with Amazon. I could only imagine he would think the same of Google. Ultimately these types of investigations take years, and the market will likely shrink even further as any investigation moves forward at a snail's pace. Should Trump become President, it's quite possible he would want reform to occur faster.
9:44 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 30, 2002
posts: 2649
votes: 97


Trump is a businessman rather than a lawyer. US corporations have avoided paying US corporation tax by running their profits through non-US companies and it has cost the US economy tens of billions of Dollars in lost taxes while corporations like Google and Apple keep most of their profits. Politically, it is a good position for Trump to take because it is highly populist and likely to get votes. However Google has a lot of lobbyists and a lot of shills who always try to spin the situation for Google. The Microsoft hearings were largely irrelevant to most people as Microsoft was selling computer operating systems and software and PC usage was not as high as PC and mobile phone usage is now. If this goes beyond simple investigations to a possible court case, then it is going to be very entertaining if only to see the heads of the Google FUDbuddies collectively popping like that scene from the movie "Scanners". :)

Regards...jmcc
11:11 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 12, 2006
posts:2709
votes: 116


At the slow speed these investigations operate at, another competitor will have already popped up and overtaken them by the time they make a ruling
11:32 pm on May 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 30, 2002
posts: 2649
votes: 97


Don't be so sure. There's billions of US Dollars in tax at the heart of this move.

Regards...jmcc
3:02 am on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9235
votes: 780


Beware what you ask for re: Antitrust! Even if g is taken down in that department it is no guarantee that "mom and pop" ecommerce sites will get a break. 1) Last thing you want is Government picking winners and losers and 2) Capitalism simply does not work that way.

Yet, there is no doubt that monopolies tend to stagnant economies and tend to have detrimental effects on the CONSUMERS (which are not businesses!).
3:45 am on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3375
votes: 716


Key quotes from the story (italics mine):

Senior antitrust officials at the FTC have discussed the matter in recent months with representatives of a major U.S. company that objects to Google's practices, according to sources with the company...

The discussions were initiated at the company’s request.

Since the FTC isn't confirming anything and all we have is propaganda from "the company," this has all the markings of a negative PR campaign.
4:38 am on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:9235
votes: 780


Quite possible @editorialguy, however the FTC has had egg on face since they dropped the Antitrust investigation in 2013 and this might be another bite at the "apple".
1:05 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 5, 2012
posts:918
votes: 180


One can really see the temperature of a forum when a topic about a rumored second look by the FTC garners a this many comments and a topic (https://www.webmasterworld.com/goog/4801443.htm) about the fact that another country clears google of wrong doing never received a comment...
1:33 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:668
votes: 329


@Shepher
I think the last FTC investigation was unique in that the investigators recommendations to pursue legal action against Google was met by not one committee member supporting legal action, suggesting that they were pressured from the highest levels of government to close the case. That may be why there is more interest in this latest action or some just want to grab some popcorn and watch a new soap opera investigation play out to a similar fate as the last. Watching millions of tax dollars go to waste seems to be popular these days...

I don't think any new investigation will result in anything of any substance. Antitrust laws being used are the same ones in place when horse and buggies were used to get around town, which is a testament to how deficient our political leaders are in modernizing laws to deal with current century issues. The FTC, like most government agencies, are staffed by many government workers who just want to collect a paycheck, benefits and a pension. For example, I complained about CFL and LED light bulbs never reaching their advertised life rating - in most cases they don't even last 10% of what is advertised regardless of brand. The FTC's response? A thank you form letter and no follow-up years later (and no improvement in bulb life either). In other words, it's far easier to maintain the status quo then it is to investigate. But every now and then a high profile investigation is useful in justifying an agency's existence, even though they never accomplish much of anything.
3:37 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3375
votes: 716


I think the last FTC investigation was unique in that the investigators recommendations to pursue legal action against Google was met by not one committee member supporting legal action, suggesting that they were pressured from the highest levels of government to close the case.

Or, just as likely, wiser heads prevailed.

In the case of this latest so-called investigation, all we have is some lazy journalism from Politico. By "lazy journalism," I mean taking statements from a Google competitor without the proverbial grain of salt, summarizing them, and serving them up with a bunch of file material.
3:41 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:668
votes: 329


Or, just as likely, wiser heads prevailed.

Possibly. Google does share a lot of data with the Federal Government and any limitation on Google's ability to expand would in turn reduce the amount of data the Government gathers from what Google collects and stores.
4:34 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 2, 2006
posts:27
votes: 3


As for me, I look at Google Flights being on TOP of travel search results or four ads being on TOP of search results pushing all organic results below the fold.


You missed the point by actually wearing the tin hat. Google Flights is their own product, and it is their search platform. When they state short term loans are harmful products, and are an investor in a highly ranked short term loan site........

As for SEO; it is voodoo science at this point.
5:47 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3375
votes: 716


Google does share a lot of data with the Federal Government and any limitation on Google's ability to expand would in turn reduce the amount of data the Government gathers from what Google collects and stores.

Why make things complicated? When I suggested that wiser heads may have prevailed, I simply meant that staff recommendations in any government agency are subject to review. Just because a group of staff lawyers get excited about something and see an opportunity to put "I screwed Google" on their resumes doesn't mean they have a strong case or that the cost of pursuing that case is worthwhile.

The FTC has enough trouble trying (unsuccessfully) to prevent consumer scams without trying to impose its staff's will on search-engine results.
9:31 pm on May 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 30, 2002
posts: 2649
votes: 97


If the FTC has been encouraged to take a closer look into Google's activiities, could the fact that Google has been charged in the EU have anything to do with this? While some people want to see Google as the either the Evil Empire or the ! Evil Empire, the reality is that Google is engaging in tax avoidance and this has been a major issue in the EU. Could all those tens of Billions (not millions) of US Dollars being taxed at far lower rates and the losses to the US tax system be a factor in the FTC's newly discovered zeal?

Regards...jmcc
1:00 am on May 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 2, 2014
posts:668
votes: 329


If the FTC has been encouraged to take a closer look into Google's activiities, could the fact that Google has been charged in the EU have anything to do with this?

What is going on in the EU could have some bearing on what the FTC is considering, but I don't think it has much of an impact. Remember, leaders of the US House Judiciary Committee had sent letter to the EU in late 2014 urging them to drop their antitrust charges against Google. See the letter at: [judiciary.house.gov...] I don't think much has changed in how USA politicians view Google, respond to their increased lobbying efforts and accept their campaign contributions. Who knows, maybe the FTC decided to open our complaints and actually read them. Or maybe State level Attorney Generals are connecting the dots between complaints and small businesses closing throughout the United States. I've personally found my state's Attorney General to be quite responsive and interested in how my business and employees are adversely impacted by Google. Others that find the FTC to be deaf to complaints regarding Google, may be better off doing what I did by contacting their state's Attorney General.
This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58