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Maybe This Is Why Panda?

google antitrust unfair practices panda

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#1 clandestino

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 03:07 PM

I ran across this from Foundem in the UK --> Temporary reduction in the breadth of Foundem's service

 

That link takes you to a page that talks about how foundem is suspending 9 of its vertical search services because they have been decimated by Panda (which is now the subject of a EC investigation of google for antri-trust practices in Europe).  Here's a relevant part --

 

So far, few have made the connection between Panda and the EC's investigation. But Panda isn't just relevant to this investigation; it is central to it. Despite being widely touted as an attack on content farms—which are almost the polar opposite of vertical search services—Panda's assortment of changes included an aggressive escalation of the vertical-search-targeted, "lack of original content" penalties described in Foundem's EC Complaint. Prior to Panda, Google's anticompetitive demotions of rival vertical search services were primarily reserved for emerging, and therefore still largely unknown, competitors. With Panda, Google has significantly upped the ante by also penalising many established vertical search players.

We are confident that the European Commission will uphold our contention that any Google policy that systematically demotes rival vertical search services for the "lack of original content" that is inherent to all search services (including Google's own) is unacceptable for a company in Google's dominant market position.

 

 

Here's an article in the Register that discusses Foundem's position in more detail --> Antitrust nemesis accuses Google of 'WMD program' - Algorithm update 'targets vertical search rivals'

 

You can find more on this here --> Search Neutrality.org

 

Note:  As I understand it, google has reached an agreement with the EC as of today.  It will be interesting to see what they decided.

 

google say it's their First Amendment right to penalize your site for content issues.  Does that mean you don't have a First Amendment right to say as much or as little as you want on the pages of your website?

 

What do you think --  Should google be able to force the character and quantity of the content on your site?  Should google be able to withhold search results from you if you don't comply with their definition of acceptable content?  Or should you be free to engage users in any way that you chose?

 

After all, e-commerce sites have a natural motivation to please users, they want to generate sales.  Do we really need google to regulate, penalize and enforce their vision of how it should be done?


Edited by chuckfinley, 18 April 2013 - 11:35 AM.
sp, last 2 paragraphs added


#2 jonbey

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 03:25 PM

But .... "search domains". Long before Panda Google said that they were not interested in linking to other search engines. If they are a search engine/s, then they surely should be marketing their search engine, not waiting for people to find it in a search engine....  :dazed:

 

In 2009, maybe when all this kicked off,  Chris Lake on econsultancy.com said; "Foundem is pretty much an aggregator of third party content, with very little unique content of its own. This, as far as Google is concerned, is not an attractive proposition."

 

Ciaran "@ciaranj" Norris said “I have to wonder whether the fact that Foundem apparently continues to rank well in Bing and Yahoo isn't in fact a perfect example of why those sites currently struggle to manage 10% market share between them.”

 

Why does Foundem feel that it should rank any higher than the many other vertical search engines? And why should Google be obliged to list competitor sites at all?

 

Does Foundem link to products listed in the Google Shopping pages? 



#3 jonbey

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 03:37 PM

Also interesting:

 

"Many of Foundem’s rivals have a more sophisticated, and self-reliant, business model based for example on extensive advertising." part of Google's defence.

http://www.bloomberg...m-s-errors.html

 

I admit, I have not even heard of Foundem, and I spend a lot of time online. Compare the Meerkat, GoCompare, Money Supermarket, Confused, uSwitch, Kelkoo on the other hand, I have heard of. Most of those advertise outside of Google.



#4 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:21 PM

google say it's their First Amendment right to penalize your site for content issues.  Does that mean you don't have a First Amendment right to say as much or as little as you want on the pages or your website?

 

What do you think --  Should google be able to force the character and quantity of the content on your site?  Should google be able to withhold search results from you if you don't comply with their definition of acceptable content?  Or should you be free to engage users in any way that you chose?

 

Of course we have a First Amendment right to say as much or as little as we want on the pages of our website.

 

Google doesn't force the character and quantity of content on our sites. We can choose to thumb our noses at Google and do whatever we want with our sites.

 

However, if we want to rank well in Google, then we have to agree to follow Google's guidelines. It's their search engine. They can do what they want with THEIR website, just as we can do what we want with OUR websites. 

 

Let's say we created a blog post on our own sites that list the best search engines. If we wanted to exclude Google from that list for some reason, we would have that right. Google does too.

 

We may not LIKE it, but I understand it.



#5 bobbb

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:48 PM

Don't want to side with the big G but if it's their data can they not present it the way they want? They have made a decision that when a user searches for something an answer is what is wanted not a page of someone else's search results. As a user I hate that the most. Sites like ehow and answers.yahoo or about dot com and all the other search results websites. OK about dot com is sometimes good.

 

They are all sites that are engineered to have you click ads 'cause you think it's information. Sometimes the line is between contents and ads is vague. I can see have seen many non search-savvy users clicking many ads.

 

Is that good for you if you advertise? All these useless payments to advertisers because people were "tricked" into clicking yours. At least with G and Y and B that line is very obvious.

 

U.S. antitrust regulators vow to pounce if Google strays:

http://ca.news.yahoo...23--sector.html


Edited by bobbb, 17 April 2013 - 04:50 PM.


#6 Ken Fisher

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 04:52 PM

U.S. antitrust regulators vow to pounce if Google strays:


http://ca.news.yahoo...23--sector.html

 

You know they'll tread that line as close as they can.



#7 bobbb

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:42 PM

Yes, of course :rolleyes:



#8 clandestino

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:03 PM

The consensus seems to be that it's google's search engine and they should be able to make the rules.  And, you know, I would think the same thing.  But, thinking about it a little more, there may be broader issues.......

 

I haven't done a lot of reading on this subject and I certainly haven't studied the legal aspects.  Anti-trust law is the kind of thing very large law firms spend their time understanding and it's very, very complicated as is everything in our legal and tax systems these days.

 

I'm going to venture a guess, though.

 

google affects commerce which affects the greater society and the "greater good."  google wields tremendous power as a result.  I remember a gentleman on a forum, can't remember which, saying that google controls 15% of commerce in the UK.  If you control 15% of commerce in any country, you have the power to collapse that economy, industries within that economy, and specific businesses.

 

As a result, when google enters into some of the transactions it does for the purpose of furthering its profits ahead of other competitors, it can be deemed in "restraint of free trade" which puts you on the wrong side of the FTC in the US and the EC in Europe. 

 

Some of the allegations against google are that google will penalize one group that is adverse to their business interests while not affecting or helping similar businesses that don't pose a threat to google or may help google's interests.  Also, that google may invest in certain businesses and show preference to them so the businesses that receive the preference will put businesses that threaten google out of business.

 

In Foundem's case, it's alleged that google penalized Foundem and didn't penalize similar businesses.  Moverover, google scrapes data and presents it in search results just as Foundem does.

 

Does that make a difference?


Edited by chuckfinley, 18 April 2013 - 12:13 PM.
Replaced Knowem with Foundem, all these 'ems have me confused :)


#9 jonbey

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 12:15 PM

I really think that Google wants to set a "level playing field" (for want of a better term). Google has said many times that affiliate sites, voucher sites, comparison sites etc. need to add value. In court in the UK they said that Foundem had not added value (or words to that effect). 

 

I don't believe that Google have singled out one website here. Their algorithm lifts sites which follow their rules, and demotes sites which do not. 

 

If Google control 15% of all commerce in the UK it would be pretty silly to ignore their terms and conditions for automatic (and free) inclusion into their index. 

 

Being hammered by Google is not nice (along with others here I have suffered very badly in the past) but then, if your business model relies entirely on free search traffic you always risk problems in the future.

 

A pretty rubbish and ill thought out analogy ....  it would be like a producer of  porn videos complaining that the BBC is not being fair in their decision not to show their programs.

 

As SEOs we all know that if you produce content that Google likes and promote it in ways that Google likes you can be successful. Ignore Google's rules and you will likely be less successful.



#10 EGOL

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:04 PM

Let's look at this from an "upside" perspective.

 

If your website is not performing well in Google then you can probably improve performance by learning what they want and delivering it to them.

 

People who do that get lots of traffic and if they know what to do with that traffic they can make money.

 

Just play the game.



#11 bobbb

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

This makes sense. If someone can demonstrate this (as in prove it) they have a case. A bit like an ISP who is also a telephone service provider (Bell Canada, ATT, etc) that throttles traffic but especially Skype traffic.

I'm sure that Microsoft will gladly support such an anti-trust venture so that it can bing Google on the head. (pun intended)... and they have experience in this so they should know what areas to attack.

 

Some of the allegations against google are that google will penalize one group that is adverse to their business interests while not affecting or helping similar businesses that don't pose a threat to google or may help google's interests.  Also, that google may invest in certain businesses and show preference to them so the businesses that receive the preference will put businesses that threaten google out of business.


Edited by bobbb, 18 April 2013 - 01:21 PM.


#12 bobbb

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:25 PM

If G does not want to include other search engines that is their business. Do you send potential clients, on your site, to a competitor? Does Ford send you to GM or Macdonald to Burger King?

 

 

Amazon does. Strange.


Edited by bobbb, 18 April 2013 - 01:26 PM.


#13 clandestino

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:41 PM

A pretty rubbish and ill thought out analogy ....  it would be like a producer of  porn videos complaining that the BBC is not being fair in their decision not to show their programs.

 

It may not be so rubbish, if you think about it.  Actually, your porn argument is a straw man -

 

First, no one is making a case for porn.  The majority aren't concerned with porn's ability to compete as it doesn't affect the greater good of society.

 

Second, google controls 85% of search traffic in the UK giving it an unquestioned monopoly and that makes it a target for anti-trust laws because google can blackball certain users and pick winners and losers.  By doing so, they can also take over other industries, etc.

 

Third, the BBC doesn't control 85% of the television and radio advertising industry so customers it chooses not to serve have other outlets to which they can look.

 

A better comparison, consistent with the argument that Foundem is making, would be an industry where there are few players and by manipulating the market google can gain greater influence and possibly control the market.

 

Let's say there are only two companies (just to simplify the analysis) in the UK that make truck engines.  google in collusion with Company A (a truck engine manufacturer) decides to remove the only other competitor by limiting their search results and makes a deal with Company A for part of the profits from manufacturing truck engines.  As a result, Company B goes out of business.  Because Company A is now the only source of truck engines, they have greater demand and they double prices.  This ripples through the economy and as operating expenses for truck companies increase, they increase prices and this follows the chain of involved businesses until it reaches the consumer.  Some companies can't absorb the additional costs and go out of business leading to reduced competition and further pushes prices higher.  Increased food prices affect everyone (because trucks are used to deliver food) and are crippling for the poor and the elderly on fixed incomes.  As time passes, since Company A has no competition, they don't invest in research and development to produce more efficient and safer engines so society suffers and the UK is less able to compete in global markets causing a balance of payments problem and devaluation of the British Pound further reducing wealth of the society at large.

 

It's googe's virtual monopoly and the broad affect on society that make it a matter that is governed by anti-trust legislation.  Because of that, based on anti-trust legislation, google can't do anything it wants.  google is subject to prosecution to the extent they limit free trade, i.e., pick winners and losers, especially if they can profit as a result.


Edited by chuckfinley, 21 April 2013 - 06:11 PM.
sp


#14 iamlost

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:56 AM

The problem with Google is not their dominence in search - there are other SEs - so even in UK there remains a choice - and as has been said they can and should be able to do pretty much what they would like with their own 'free', i.e. organic, search results; plus AdWords for search is pretty much available as an auction web bought results ala yellow pages of yore. Where Google needs constraint and if imposed I'd not complain:

* not banning repeat DMCAed domains/registrants from (1) AdWords, (2)AdSense, (3) results.

* near to blending (degree dependant on monitor and lighting) Ads at top of many/most results.

* inclusion within many/most results of Google properties often holding all positions above 'fold' or on page.

* the behaviour of Google properties minimising traffic away to content supplier sites.

* the use of prefetch, public cache display.

* the use of non-identified user-agents, headless browsers, et al.

* the disgusting philosophy of opt-out rather than opt-in.

* the information bubble segmentation that results from popularisation/personalisation.

* etc.

 

The problem is that Google is moving to all paid or own property results while pretending otherwise. The organic and the paid are what need to be split.

 

 



#15 tam

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:29 AM

Competing with other businesses on an equal footing is fine, but competing with google in google does sometimes feel a bit unfair.



#16 glyn

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:08 PM

I am happy google gets slapped. They had oppurtunity to make a difference and they got greedy. Well done for screwing an opportunity and to make a difference and to go down in history. Long may eu slap you !

#17 clandestino

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:32 PM

The problem with Google is not their dominence in search - there are other SEs - so even in UK there remains a choice

 

True, there are SE choices that no one uses which is the equivalent of no choice, don't you think?

 

In regard to restraint of fair trade and the EC & FTC, I think the issue is predatory practices that eliminate competition and further google's monopoly.

 

I totally agree with all the other points.  If I wasn't so in favor of free trade, I'd say there should be a law against that. ;)  In some cases, there probably are.



#18 clandestino

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:35 PM

Let's look at this from an "upside" perspective.

 

If your website is not performing well in Google then you can probably improve performance by learning what they want and delivering it to them.

 

People who do that get lots of traffic and if they know what to do with that traffic they can make money.

 

Just play the game.

 

That is what you are forced to do.  But, in the immortal words of @earlpearl, "That doesn't mean I have to like it."  :angry2:   So true.


Edited by chuckfinley, 24 April 2013 - 03:37 PM.


#19 earlpearl

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 04:12 PM

I struggle with google.  I believe its at the same level of market share in the US as in Britain.  The market share companies say google has 60-65% of search in the US but ask webmasters where their traffic comes from.  Everything I see points to about 85-90% of search in the US (anecdotally from webmasters).

 

Its an enormous monopoly, IMHO.  But it is the main game in town.  If you want traffic you have to play by their rules.   

 

I'd like to see the big gobn'nt break them up.  I think one biz would be Goo.com and the other would be Ogle.com  (Ogle  has all your personal information)  ;)

 

On the local side, its very inconsistent and mostly complete removal from a level of responsibility plays havoc with so many actual smb's.  

 

Meanwhile of interest, and anecdotally, when Panda hit...we had sites that benefitted from higher rankings as the content sites went toodle loo.  ;)

 

Still its an enormous monopoly, IMHO...but its way bigger than me...so I have to play by their rules.

 

 

....and finally if you want to see an interesting difference between google and bing results....look for local businesses by name or type in various metro regions.   Yelp has extraordinary presence in Google and very little presence in Bing.   I actually think that is mostly yelp's doing, but it wouldn't surprise me if google is giving them a boost these days, if only to show that google isn't TAKING OUT THE COMPETITION everywhere and anywhere.   (just a thought...a conspiratorial thought...but an observation and thought, none the less.)  ( I also think that yelp's revenues, being what they are ....are not an issue for google...so it sort of likes having yelp show so well.)

 

my $0.02  :D





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