Yelp to Congress: Don’t investigate Google without looking at search


On Tuesday, on the dissent against the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, SVP Luthor Lu of the Public Policy Lap opened the case with a third-party inquiry into Google with search results (or Made to reopen). The hearing was officially dubbed “self-regarding” by Internet platforms. Here, the title of “self-preference” was the local SERP.

Discussion about expanding the investigation Yelp is trying to expand the scope of Justice and Congress inquiries at Google. Lou testified, “There have been reports of such information that the State Attorney General and the DOJ have only been following the incredible theory of harm in Google’s relevant investigations, only looking at advertising technology.” I believe that narrowing the focus too much would be a big mistake.

He added, “For years, in particular, Google has favored it [search] Take advantage of the results and further enhancements and the power to hurt consumers in the process to meet its interests. ”

Google, of course. It argues that changes to SERPs (feature fragments, answer boxes, local packs) benefit consumers. And there is some evidence that consumers, like these bulls, like these SERP features. But many rivals believe the counters and local packs should be “off the traffic” they should go to.

The case closed in 2013, now reopened. In 2013, the FTC shut down nearly 19 months of non-trust investigations into Google with no penalties or significant fines. Since then, the European Commission has found three separate companies in violation of European antitrust laws and imposed significant penalties on the company, which handles third-party content handling. I need a change.

Also since then, US lawmakers have shown renewed interest in examining the antitrust of US major tech companies: Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. Numerous, proactive antitrust investigations are now pending in the Department of Justice, as noted, following a nationwide consortium of FTCs and state attorneys general. Some of these efforts are being integrated.

Google is fighting a new political climate. We are in a very different economic and political environment than in 2013 and Google is facing critics in Congress on both the left and the right, a situation that has not happened yet. Faced with the threat of an attendance from Google, Yelp saw this moment as an opportunity to arrest Mountain View’s unprecedented march toward local search dominance. Yelp has made similar regular appeals to local people in Europe with a high level of mistrust.

Yelp’s arguments are not new or completely convincing, but they will now have an impact on the lawmakers who accept them. The following were the things that Lou said in his congressional testimony.

  • The question that policy makers have to answer is: What does the purpose of raising OneBox at the top of the page (excluding competitors from OneBox) offer? Does it work to provide users with more information, or does it simply serve to protect Google’s search monopoly?
  • For all the good that Google has done, and for all the capabilities that the Internet has to offer, Google’s self-sufficiency in fraud, especially in the local search market, is creating a clear contradictory effect.

Why do we care? In order to deal with local antitrust practices in Europe, Google has recently introduced a new search results offering that privileges some directories and places them above the local pack. While it is unclear whether the European Commission will see it as a deliberate attempt to drive more traffic to directories and local search competitors, it may be a preview of a solution that will come to the United States.

However, US investigations are still ongoing and it is not yet clear what will be their fate. But this time it might not be business as usual.

About the Author

Greg Sterling is a Partner Editor for Search Engine Land, a member and VP of the programming team at SMX Events, Market Insights of Oberl.

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