Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google's Silent Monopoly

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

Google 425

An anonymous reader writes "Isaac Garcia from Central Desktop Blog writes, 'How much does Google pay *itself* to claim the top ad position for searches relevant to its own products? Google holds the top advertisement (Adword) slot for the following key words: intranet, spreadsheet, documents, calendar, word processor, email, video, instant messenger, blog, photo sharing, online groups, maps, start page, restaurants, dining, and books... ...if you are trying to advertise a product that is competitive to Google, then you'll never be able to receive the Top Ad Position, no matter how much money you bid and spend. How different is it than MSFT placing its products (Internet Explorer) in a premium marketing position (embedded in the OS)?'"

cancel ×

425 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

It's fine for Google to do that (1, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17130984)

Obviously, it's no big deal because Microsoft has a lot more power than Google, so for Google to leverage a monopoly to get into other markets is AOK.

I got that insight from Vellmont [slashdot.org] et [slashdot.org] al [slashdot.org] .

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131062)

I don't see them as the same thing though.

Microsoft leverages their monopoly to trap you into using MSFT tools, most of which are in some way or shape flawed compared to alternatives. Microsoft also holds a fairly large portion of the market share.

Google doesn't force you to advertise with them, nor do they limit your ability to advertise with others. And they're not the only website on the internet. I don't see that Google has a monopoly on "the Internet."
Tom

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131350)

Microsoft leverages their monopoly to trap you into using MSFT tools, most of which are in some way or shape flawed compared to alternatives.

So if Microsoft's tools were technologically superior to the alternatives, the behavior would be okay? I don't think so.

I don't see that Google has a monopoly on "the Internet."

No, but "the Internet" isn't a product. Google has a near-monopoly on web searches, and it is (allegedly) leveraging that monopoly to gain a competitive advantage in other industries that also happen to be web-based. Just because a product is offered on the Internet doesn't mean the product is "the Internet," and it doesn't mean that product isn't distinct from other offerings on the Internet.

Leveraging your position in the market for one product to increase your competitive advantage in the market for another product is nothing new. The problem comes when you are so dominant in Market A that leveraging that dominance in Market B would cause others to be unable to effectively compete in Market B.

The question here is whether Google is sufficiently dominant in Market A, the web search market, to be classified as a monopoly. If they are, then what they are doing could be classified as illegal abuse of that monopoly.

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131634)

So if Microsoft's tools were technologically superior to the alternatives, the behavior would be okay? I don't think so.

Monopolies only become a problem when they stop doing what's in the best interests of the customers. If Microsoft produced quality software and listened to the customers, then I suspect most people wouldn't have a problem with them. Oddly enough, a fairly common criticism of MSFT is that they're all closed source. So if they listened to their customers and opened up more of the kernel, file formats, and what not, we wouldn't have this vendor lockin problem and hence no abuse of monopoly.

BTW there are quite a few natural monopolies like gas, water, telco, cable, etc. Which usually don't get broken up until they start really abusing their customers. (I'm waiting for Rogers to get a bitch slap...)

As for Google, I guess I can't comment since I'm not in the market to advertise and I mentally block out Adsense advertisements. But that said, I see [or acknowledge] more ads from slashdot and fark than I do from google.

Tom

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131730)

Don't be ridiculous. Google is nothing like Microsoft. Here's a few important differences:

1) Cost to the average user. When you decide you want to or need to use Microsoft software, it'll cost you. Non-OEM copies of Windows are quite expensive (~$300?). When you decide to use Google to look for a website, it's free, other than having a few ads on the right side of the screen. I've never sent Google a dime, even though I've used many of their services (search, maps, etc.) for years.

2) Availability of alternatives. If you have a copy of TurboTax or AutoCAD and want to use it, you need a copy of Windows installed on your computer. You might be able to get it to work with WINE on Linux, but don't count on it; most likely it won't work fully. If you work at a company with an internal website that uses ActiveX crap, you're basically forced to use Windows/IE. However, if you want to search for a website, you can choose from Google, Yahoo, and MSN searches. Nothing's stopping you from using one of Google's competitors. The only reason they command the overwhelming majority of search uses is because they have a reputation for returning the best results. But most searches will probably work fine with any of them. Similarly, you can use Google Maps to find directions someplace, or you can use Mapquest or one of several others. People happen to like Google Maps, but the others all work fine, and will probably find your destination for you as well (and the results may actually be more accurate, though the user interface will suck more in my experience).

Google only has a huge market share because people like them and choose to use their services. This could change at the drop of a hat since several competing services are available which do all the same stuff (just not as well), and there's absolutely no lock-in forcing anyone to stick with Google.

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (1)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131794)

Wouldn't this only be comparable if Windows included Firefox (for example), but only placed a shortcut in the Start Menu whereas Internet Explorer could be launched from the desktop?

How about Google isn't an Illegal Monopoly? (-1)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131072)

See, Google got the monopoly by providing the best software. Microsoft didn't provide the best software, but told its customers buy our crap, or don't buy anything at all. Microsoft isn't the only company to break these laws: Bell Labs, Toys 'R' Us, and Wal*Mart are some that immediately spring to mind.

Once you've broken the law to get a monopoly, one of two things happen: You get your company torn apart- something Microsoft argued would be a "bad thing"- or you stop getting the privilege of playing in the Free Market. Microsoft chose the latter.

You can start comparing Google to Microsoft when Google starts hurting its customers, and hurting people who aren't Google's customers in order to hurt Google's competitors.

Re:How about Google isn't an Illegal Monopoly? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131402)

Microsoft didn't provide the best software, but told its customers buy our crap, or don't buy anything at all. I am sorry, but this makes no sense as an arguement. MS produced a product that gained such wide appeal that it earned the largest market share, and long after that they used their position to include things like IE by default, and that is illegal monopoly power (according to the US DOJ). You cannot say they forced anyone into using their software ever, since there has always been a choice (Mac and Linux come to mind).

Re:How about Google isn't an Illegal Monopoly? (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131602)

See, Google got the monopoly by providing the best software. Microsoft didn't provide the best software, but told its customers buy our crap, or don't buy anything at all.
Legally, what difference does the quality of products make? If you leverage a monopoly in one market to stifle competition in another, it's illegal. It doesn't matter if you have the best product or not.

Re:How about Google isn't an Illegal Monopoly? (1)

jrsimmons (469818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131726)

There is no such thing as an illegal monopoly. A company with a monopoly only breaks the law by using a monopoly to obtain an unfair advantage over a competitor, ie MS leveraging their Windows monopoly to gain an unfair advantage in the Web Browser market.

I'm not quite sure I understand your references to Toys R US or Wal-Mart. Neither of those retailers are anywhere near to having a monopoly, nor am I aware of any instances where either has been legitimately accused of unfairly leveraging a business advantage.

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (1)

arifirefox (1031488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131196)

Once upon a time there was a company called Netscape. It had 90% of the browser market. Google has to remember that there is no reason why they must be #1 in a few years just like Netscape. Leverage your monopoly too much and you're gone!

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131502)

Netscape didn't leverage its monopoly though. Netscape gained the monopoly by virtue of having a technologically superior product in a new market. After they gained the monopoly, though, they sat on it and stagnated. Version 4 (Communicator) of its product was bloated and bug-ridden. Meanwhile, Microsoft came out with a product that was (eventually) technologically superior to Netscape.

Now, Microsoft did (probably illegally) leverage its dominance in the OS market to undercut Netscape by offering its browser free of charge, but had Netscape maintained the technological edge, they probably could have at least survived long enough to come up with a strategy. Instead, they had the double whammy of trying to push an inferior product against a monopolistic competitor. They were doomed to failure at that point.

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (3, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131296)

How different is it than MSFT placing its products (Internet Explorer) in a premium marketing position (embedded in the OS)?'"

Simple. Microsoft is a convicted monopoly, google is not. Next there will be complaining that Linux distro's bundle media player software. You play by a different set of rules when you are a convicted monopoly.

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131562)

Microsoft has been convicted of abusing its monopoly. Having a monopoly is not something one can be convicted of.

I wouldn't say that this constitutes an abuse of a monopoly. This is akin to Apple placing iPod adverts in the iTunes installer, a newspaper placing job adverts in its own jobs page, or Microsoft placing an MSN advert on the desktop on a fresh Windows install.

Re:It's fine for Google to do that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131382)

As others have pointed out, Google is not an illegal monopoly like Redmond et al. I do wonder how the article author concluded no one else could buy the top slot for those topics. Since his article has no evidence to support this, it appears he just assumed it, because he wished it were true. Please stop buying into this sensationalistic crap and actually go out and provide some evidence to support your conclusion before you tell us we need to buy Microsoft products to get out of another jam.

so slashdot can decide which stories they choose? (5, Funny)

tronicum (617382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17130988)

thats an evil monopoly!

GOOGLE FUNDED BY CIA http://www.prisonplanet.com/a (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131530)

http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/december2006/ 061206seedmoney.htm [prisonplanet.com]

Ex-Agent: CIA Seed Money Helped Launch Google
Steele goes further than before in detailing ties, names Google's CIA liaison

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

An ex-CIA agent has gone further than ever before in detailing Google's relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency, claiming sources told him that CIA seed money helped get the company off the ground and naming for the first time Google's CIA point man.

Robert David Steele, a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer and a former clandestine services case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, is the CEO of OSS.net.

Speaking to the Alex Jones Show, Steele elaborated on his previous revelations by making it known that the CIA helped bankroll Google at its very inception.

"I think Google took money from the CIA when it was poor and it was starting up and unfortunately our system right now floods money into spying and other illegal and largely unethical activities, and it doesn't fund what I call the open source world," said Steele, citing "trusted individuals" as his sources for the claim.

"They've been together for quite a while," added Steele.

Asked to impart to what level Google is "in bed" with the CIA, Steele described the bond as a "small but significant relationship," adding, "it is by no means dominating Google in fact Google has been embarrassed because everything the CIA asked it to do they couldn't do."

"I also think it's very very wrong of Google to have this relationship," cautioned Steele.

The former agent went further than before in identifying by name Google's liaison at the CIA.

"Let me say very explicitly - their contact at the CIA is named Dr. Rick Steinheiser, he's in the Office of Research and Development," said Steele.

Steele highlighted Google's blatant censorship policies whereby press releases put out by credible organizations that are critical of Dick Cheney and other administration members don't make it to Google News even though they are carried by PR Newswire.

We have repeatedly highlighted past examples of censorship on behalf of Google, including their blacklisting of a mainstream news website that was mildly critical of China, and also the deliberate stifling and manipulation of Alex Jones' Terror Storm film ranking on Google Video. Google was also caught red-handed attempting to bury the Charlie Sheen 9/11 story at the height of its notoriety.

Saying Google had become "too big for itself," Steele opined that Google was "long overdue for a public audit."

"One of the problems with privatized power is that it's not subject to public audit," said Steele, arguing that groups should rally to "put Google out of business unless they're willing to go the open source software route."

We regularly highlight Google's damaging role in aiding the march towards a big brother society, but the admission that Google were planning on teaming up with the U.S. government to use microphones in the computers of an estimated 150 million-plus Internet active Americans to spy on their lifestyle choices and build psychological profiles which will be used for surveillance and minority report style invasive advertising and data mining, astounded even us.

Steele said that our previous story about Google's ties to the CIA, which was picked up by dozens of top technology websites, concerned Google enough to lie to the public about it and deny its validity.

It remains to be seen how Google will react to these latest revelations.

Listen to the interview with Robert David Steele, in which he also questions the official version of 9/11, by clicking here

Re:GOOGLE FUNDED BY CIA http://www.prisonplanet.co (1)

threv (839879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131748)

"also the deliberate stifling and manipulation of Alex Jones' Terror Storm film ranking on Google Video."

NOW we see why prisonplanet.com is upset with Google.

Re:so slashdot can decide which stories they choos (0, Offtopic)

corky842 (728932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131646)

You can always go to a different site for your news. You can submit your own stories. Or you can use <sarcasm> tags so you don't confuse the moderators.

Google (1)

jrwr00 (1035020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17130994)

and? any company that is sane would do the same thing

Re:Google (1)

Friar_MJK (814134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131320)

I'll second that. Could you expect any company to do otherwise than to shamelessly plug itself at any turn? If I owned a company, I think I would have a slight interest in doing everything I could to make it succeed. Including but not limited to placing my own ads at the top of my ads place, extortion, bribery (lobbying), blackmail, murder, and the occasional mafia hitman when needed.

"Do No Harm" (5, Insightful)

Reverend99 (1009807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131002)

Doesn't anyone watch movies? Any company that claims to "Do No Harm" is obviously the most evil vile company of them all.

Re:"Do No Harm" (1)

Reverend99 (1009807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131110)

Sorry, meant Do No Evil... whatever. You get the idea. Stop being so anal.

Overlooking the obvious... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131008)

Maybe you need to find a product or service that doesn't compete with Google Enterprises?

If you are going to use stock symbols to refer (-1, Offtopic)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131016)

to a company, then please call google "GOOG" as well to be uniform. Otherwise, use a company's real name, I know you are trying to be cute by saying MSFT, M$ et al, but it just comes off as immature.

Re:If you are going to use stock symbols to refer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131058)

I know you are trying to be cute by saying MSFT, M$ et al, but it just comes off as immature.
pot, kettle.

Re:If you are going to use stock symbols to refer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131220)

who cares?

Re:If you are going to use stock symbols to refer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131284)

if len("microsoft") > len("google") {
   print "STFU";
} else {
   print "GOOG";
}

Re:If you are going to use stock symbols to refer (3, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131458)

I don't believe it fair to characterize as immature those who use assorted replacements for company names. IMO, it's the same as using emoticons--it's another way of compressing meaning into a message. If I type a missive on Microsoft and use M$ in the prose, I give you clear insight into my views of that company. Also, MSFT is actually Microsoft's stock ticker, so I don't see that one as "being cute" in any way.

People do this verbally as well, as some who visit Target stores refer to them as [pronounced] Tarjhay, a pseudo-French pronounciation used to imply their view of that retailer as a purveyer of goods that are in high-style compared to other discounters. When K-mart stores took a dive, some referred to them as K-fart. Wal-Mart is often called "Wally-world" in veneration of the company's founder.

Certainly there are times when such personal meanings should be set aside (e.g., business memos), but in a public forum such personal expression is entirely appropriate.

Re: [OT] Wally World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131688)

Wally World is a reference to National Lampoon's Vacation [imdb.com] starring Chevy Chase. In the movie, Wally World is a borked knock off of Disney. Thus, calling Walmart "Wally World" is a strong insult, not a term veneration for good ol' Uncle Sam (Walton).

Ooops? :)

email keyword (1)

ivarsv (821874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131026)

btw at at the moment then on search for email yahoo is top resiult, gmail comes 2nd.

Re:email keyword (1)

jabskeeterbug (1032608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131698)

Probably because Yahoo! mail has been out a LOT longer than GMail.

Re:email keyword (2, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131816)

We're talking about ad listings, not organic listings. Google is number one in the ads.

Google doesn't control your computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131034)

not yet...

Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

Colonel Angus (752172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131036)

Google is the only way one can advertise a product on the web anymore?

Last I checked, Google was *one* place where you could buy ads. If you don't like it, advertise elsewhere.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131280)

Exactly. The analogy to Microsoft isn't accurate because Google isn't a monopoly. And even if they were a search engine monopoly, they're certainly not a monopoly in the online advertising business. Yahoo, for example, is one of the most popular destinations on the web, and they have their own keyword advertising service.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

yuriyg (926419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131358)

Last I checked, Windows is not the only operating system out there.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131546)

This is a bullshit argument

once a company achieves a certian marketshare in a field with no *real* competition, they start to take on charastics of a public works company and should be treated as such.

Microsft does it, so should google.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131792)

What the hell are you talking about? Google has plenty of competition that works nearly as well as their services (but not quite, IMO). Yahoo Mail, MSN search, Yahoo search, Hotmail, Mapquest, etc. There's nothing forcing you to use Google for anything.

Google *does* pay itself. (5, Insightful)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131042)

Consider: When Google grants itself the top ad slot for a search term, it denies itself the revenue of a third-party advertiser who might have paid for that slot. Thus, in a very real sense, Google pays exactly the same rate as everyone else.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (5, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131090)

And when I **** my wife, I'm denying myself the revenue of a third-party john who might have rented her for that slot. Thus, in a very real sense, I pay the same rate as everyone else.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (5, Funny)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131154)

No. Since you're married, you pay much, much more.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (4, Funny)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131172)

That sounds ridiculous, but its true, really. Opportunity cost. Bet you didn't know that about your wife. :)

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131454)

Well, actually, it's not "the same". By "renting out" that "slot" (!), we take on additional risks and costs (psychic and tangible) that don't inhere to regular marital relations.

My point was just that you have to be careful when tabulating an "opportunity cost".

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131192)

No that'd be your wives money, you are denying whatever revenue you might get from renting yourself out.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131568)

You are obviously not familiar with how a typical pimp/ho relationship works.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131428)

Strange. When I **** your wife, I don't pay anything. I think you're getting ripped off.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131620)

Don't worry, while you f**k your wife, HER and YOUR's backdoors are still available and can be rented out - so things can be evened out. And she and you also have mouths, don't you?

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (0)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131282)

To go a little further:

This is in contrast with the MS situation. Software vendors do not normally pay MS to provide software for windows. Thus, when MS adds 'features' that break other software, they are not directly depriving themselves of anything. And they do not have the 'normal' market-based checks on their business practices because they are a monopoly.

So, in short, when Google screws others to promote itself, it pays. When MS screws RealMedia (among many many others), they lose nothing but a little bit of goodwill in the market - which doesn't matter because they're a monopoly. Hence: regulation.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (1)

Oz0ne (13272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131316)

You are exactly right. Thank you.

Re:Google *does* pay itself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131394)

I'm sure the Google accountants are aware of this and use it to their advantage when running the numbers. There's bound to be an advertising expense in one department and a revenue in another from this.

Oversimplification (Re:Google *does* pay itself.) (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131660)

Your comment is true in one sense, but then consider that Google does not need to cultivate a customer relationship with itself, provide an externally-accessible website for this service, and it does not need to process payments around the transaction. Looking at the entire picture, Google is getting a better return on its own placements. Besides, those placements send users to other Google services which (potentially) generate additional advertising revenue for the company. It is a sweet deal, to be sure, but it is no different that a grocery store placing it's house-brand products on the shelf next to the major brands. Let's use ads that offer services similar to those offered by Microsoft as an example. Those who want Microsoft products will most often select the link for the Microsoft products. Those who want a Microsoft alternative will most often select the link(s) for the Microsoft alternative. In reality, I doubt there are very many people who will really do a comparison between the two, unless the offerings are relatively new or if the user is uneducated.

Google isn't a monopoly (1, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131044)

Google can do it because it isn't a monopoly.

End of story, really. MSN Search, Yahoo Search, Ask.com, etc etc, make up a significant part of the search market.

Re:Google isn't a monopoly (1)

hashfunction (861726) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131500)

How long before it becomes a monopoly? Its into so much stuff now that its hard to know whats coming next. So after it has become a monopoly THEN we can all start hating it or doing something to curtail its monopolistic urges? I do not see how Google can be seen as anything but a monopolistic beast worth hating every bit as much as Microsoft! :) Cheers!

Re:Google isn't a monopoly (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131774)

Natural monopolies are an entirely different animal.

You can do something to relieve your hate right now, and it's trivial to do so. Just change your bookmark to yahoo, or msn, or any of the dozzens of other equivalent offerings.

Of course that pretty much blows your "monopoly" argument out of the water doesn't it.

Keyword "OS"... (2, Funny)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131046)

...doesn't give "GoogleOS" as a result. Someone else has operating system monopoly, indeed.

Re:Keyword "OS"... (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131668)

Based on a search [google.com] for OS, I conclude that Oregon Steel Mills has the OS monopoly.

Or, looking for results that pertain to operating systems, would you like to guess which major desktop OS is left off of the first page? A hint: both OS X and Linux are represented. When searching for "operating system" instead, Windows makes the first page, though still below those two.

Just an interesting observation, is all.

Monopoly (4, Informative)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131050)

Two areas of "monopoly" which do concern commentators and commercial organisations are only indirectly commercial. In one sense, although it is a search engine, Google has some of the powers of a major newspaper or periodical. It does and can exercise editorial control and influence.

Secondly, the power and use of on-line purchase is growing. Google, and other search engines for that matter, have more power to influence the selection, availability and immediacy of purchases in the way it sets the so-called algorithms for prioritising and selection of websites, bringing distinct commercial advantage to some and disadvantage to others. Much of that will invariably be determined by the commercial power of advertising revenues. This could trigger investigation by Competition Authorities.

Re:Monopoly (1)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131654)

Google, and other search engines for that matter, have more power to influence the selection, availability and immediacy of purchases in the way it sets the so-called algorithms for prioritising and selection of websites...

Way to point out the real truth. Google's "so-called algorithms" are in fact switch boards run by ferries, ferries with an agenda!

You mean like TV channels? (5, Insightful)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131052)

Sounds a lot like a television channels running ads for their own shows. How often do you see NBC airing an ad for a CBS show? Is that wrong?

Re:You mean like TV channels? (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131482)

ESPN, which is owned by ABC, regularly advertises on CBS. CBS runs an ad for ESPN's Monday Night Football during the Sunday night game. If NBC were willing to pay for ad time, I think CBS would be willing to take their money, too.

Re:You mean like TV channels? (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131686)

Just to clear up your org chart: ABC doesn't own ESPN. Disney owns both ABC and ESPN. S'scarier that way.

--Triv

So... (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131056)

So should google specifically change its system to make sure that it *doesn't* show up at the top of searches? Or does someone have proof that google spoofed its own system to make sure it came out on top. Lets face it, google is the best (or at worst most used) search engine. People link to google with all kinds of words... so it comes up high in all kinds of searches. That's just how the system works.

Umm... (5, Insightful)

hanssprudel (323035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131064)

How much does Google pay *itself* to claim the top ad position for searches relevant to its own products?

The cost to google is loss in revenue from not being able to sell those top positions, presumably...

How hard was that?

Maybe not diffrent. (1)

Devv (992734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131086)

The guy who wrote this were sure that slashdotters would protect google. Why not just say that it isn't any diffrent in the behavior.
  with that said

I think the fact that Microsoft tries to convert their monopoly on OS'es to monopolies in several other markets by forcing customers to buy somthing or toying with compabilities is a lot more serious than google giving itself a good ad position. That's just affecting the customers a little and they're not forced to buy crap.

Breaking News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131098)

The GNAA has announced a hostile takeover of Google INC.
More news to cum.

Fine by me.. (4, Insightful)

Entens (983281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131106)

Sure, it has a monopoly, in its own domain. I would only be concerned about it if I started to see Google's ads at the top spot on multiple search engines.

Its the difference between seeing Mobile ads at a Shell gas station. Of course your going to see ads from Shell rather than Mobile, but if you don't want to see that, just go to a different service station.

The difference is in the price and the monopoly (1)

Vlijmen Fileer (120268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131116)

"How different is it than MSFT placing its products (Internet Explorer) in a premium marketing position (embedded in the OS)?"
I's say the differences are in the price (MS OS + Office is hugely expensive, Google is free), and monopoly position (MS has an almost absolute monopoly, while Google is just big and has real alternatives).

I think that is called "Smart" (3, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131124)

This is important like a press release saying the sky is blue is important. Of course a company that is in competition with other companies is going to promote its products before theirs. Google is not trying to launch all these services as individual entities, they are all part of Google. That means that Google will try to cross promote and advertise (for free) its own products. It is common sense as far as I can tell.

Why don't you go to a cab company and ask to advertise another cab service on their cars. Good luck!

it's so different (5, Informative)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131126)

It's a lot different, so different it's not a point of discussion, yet. There are so many alternative options for search engines out there.

I've tried many other search engines. I like that there are so many to choose from and try. And try again. But so far Google for most uses is the best first choice (for me). Google isn't forcing me to use them.

When I do use Google, I have no qualms they would ratchet up any ad placement or search results in their favor, it's their widget, and as long as it is giving me results that help me get through my research requirements,... hmmmm, not really the issue. Oh yes, abuse of monopoly.

Google isn't a monopoly. Google is dominant because they are good. They haven't stifled competition, they've created red hot innovation competition. Heck, Google has even gotten Microsoft to look like they're at least now trying to innovate.

Google's behavior is nothing like Microsoft's.... at least not yet, but additionally Google's beginnings look nothing like Microsoft's. Google emerged from a couple of people putting together cool ways of getting to information and grew that into some pretty amazing technology (do a Google and find and check out how their Google File System works -- it's amazing in its elegance, simplicity, and power). Google caught on in a world technology dominated by others and by dint of excellence have taken top spot.

As for the author's claim Google holds the top spot for the words:

I tried a bunch of these -- while I do see google as a top spot ad, it's hardly a dominant position. And there are many other sponsored links. This is nothing like the old Microsoft "don't dare put any icons or links of any competitor on any machine you sell or we won't give you license to sell Windows" fiat.

I don't care if they hold on to the top spot... I just care that the playing field remains level. I'm sure Google plays tough, but in the big picture I still hold faith Google plays fair.

Re:it's so different (2, Interesting)

supremebob (574732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131372)

The results for "spreadsheet" are kinda fishy, though... Both the top three search links and the top sponsor links are for Google's spreadsheet product, and I don't see ANY links to Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet sites on the first page of results. Considering that Excel is the dominant spreadsheet product (for better or worse), doesn't it seem odd that it didn't it was excluded?

Re:it's so different (3, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131548)

Considering that Excel is the dominant spreadsheet product

Maybe Microsoft felt that Excel had already reached the maximum mindshare and that advertising wouldn't do anything for them anymore. After all, if everyone thinks spreadsheet: Excel, then paying google to tell people spreadsheet: Excel doesn't help.

Re:it's so different (1)

M-G (44998) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131630)

Maybe, but it would be much more fishy if the results for 'Excel' returned a bunch of non-Excel info.

Re:it's so different (1)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131652)

Fishy maybe. I don't know. Again, I don't have any problem with Google snubbing Microsoft. Google isn't stifling any competition by doing so. It would be different if Microsoft couldn't move their product because of Google's "anti-Microsoft" behavior, but that scenario isn't even on the radar.

And for those interested in information about Excel, I would guess there isn't anybody anywhere that doesn't have an idea about how to get information on Excel.

As for not seeing Excel in the first few links, appropriately Microsoft does land in the top five. So, there is Microsoft representation to be found and with very high (just not number one) ranking. I give credit to Google for algorithms that use more than pure raw numbers to assign top placement to links. Are Google's algorithms pure?, and are the results real that Google would come out number one? I don't know, but I don't care.

Like I said, they give ample "other" representation in their results, and at the same time give drop dead great result results for research. As long as they continue to do that, and there is continued competition I'm loving it.

Re:it's so different (1)

Xentor (600436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131806)

"Microsoft Excel"
"Google Spreadsheets"

Now, which one of these more closely matches the keyword "spreadsheet"?

That explains why google comes up first in the normal search results. That they come up first in the sponsored ads is more of an issue (With which I don't see a problem), but this doesn't prove that they're seeding the actual results.

not true (2, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131134)

I just tested "intranet"

.Net Office Intranet www.intranetdashboard.com .Net CMS - Over 35 apps included. Free 30 Day Trial - Download Now !
Intranet www.google.com/a Create a custom start page for all users on your domain. Learn more.


google's ad comes in at #2 on this one Google Checkout

Re:not true (1)

6031769 (829845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131598)

Nor are they top for restaurant or dining (I got bored after two. Further testing is left as an exercise for the reader.).

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I know you will) (1)

emor8t (1033068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131156)

But wouldn't Google be a monopoly if it bought out all the other search engines and forced you to use Google? Google claiming top spot is simply them controlling their product. Your not forced to use Google. There are many other search engines out there, yahoo, ask.com, etc.
Is this just a case of trying to find fault with Google because it's big and can be used as a verb?

Does this really derserve an answer? (3, Interesting)

_iris (92554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131166)

Microsoft was not at fault for putting their browser in an exclusive position on Windows. They were at fault for using their OS monopoly to stunt competition in the browser market. Every large multi-market company uses their products to enhance their other products (e.g. Apple = iPod + OSX + iTunes). The difference is that Google does not have a monopoly on search or advertising.

And what about TV networks? (1)

Nethergoat (597008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131212)

His line of thinking would suggest that the likes of NBC, ABC, and CBS shouldn't be allowed to advertise for their own shows, either. There's a significant difference between an ad slot and an embedded browser. He might have a slightly stronger case if Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" results for those keywords went straight to its products, but this is not the case.

Grey area (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131218)

While I don't have a problem with Google placing it's own services at the top on it's own site I am concerned with the fact that they make it appear as if their adverts are like any other. This may lead people to believe they can in fact compete whereas the reality seems to be that they can't. This could easily lead to people paying far more for ads than is necessary. It would be more acceptable if Google were to indicate that your ad will always feature below their ad so that you can make a more informed decision about whether it is worth your money.

AdSense feature (2, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131230)

In AdSense you can block ads from competitors. Every AdSense client uses it, well most of them anyway, so why wouldn't google use that feature either?

More on this feature: Competitive Ad Filter [google.com]

In other news... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131246)

Walmart refuses Target's request to advertise in Walmart stores.

Monopoly? Rly? (1)

wiz31337 (154231) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131252)

First of all trying to relate Google's free services to Microsoft is just an all around bad comparison.

When I do a search for "email" on Google the first sponsored link that comes up is of course Gmail, this shouldn't be any surprise. I'd put my services on the sponsored link section too, its just good business. Saying that Google wouldn't put anyone else in the top spot for any amount of money is probably correct, but it makes sense. Pepsi, wouldn't plug coke on their website for any amount of money either. They are choosing to use a spot someone else could pay millions for put themselves there.

It should be noted that the first result that shows up in the general results section is "Yahoo! Mail." If it was rigged, don't you think that would be Gmail too?

There is a big difference between something showing up first in the sponsored section versus the general results location.

Restaurants? (1)

CodeMonkey22 (861014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131262)

Since when is Google in the food service industry? Remember this: If Google chooses to *pay itself*, it has every right to choose to miss out on potential additional revenues. If they decide it is a better value for them to shamelessly plug their own email service, rather than receive cold, hard cash from Yahoo to advertise Yahoo's email, so be it. Free market... free world.

Analogy Time (1)

old_skul (566766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131278)

Comparing Google to Microsoft for something like this is like comparing Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader.

Oh, wait a second.....

Thats the great thing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131290)

About owning your search engine. You can do whatever the hell you want with your searches. whats the point of owning something if you cant make youself better with it?

whole 'story' flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131294)

due to a lack of substance...it's not even NEWS
uggg...

That is really important... (1, Insightful)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131302)

Jesus Cunt Punching Christ, what the fuck is with you people? This kind of shit actually gets placed as a story?
If you don't want to see commercials get a tivo or don't watch tv;
if you don't like microsoft products, DON'T USE THEM;
if you don't want to see googld ads, DON'T USE GOOGLE.

BTW Google does not have a monopoly on the search market, just ask yahoo, or microsoft (don't ask balmer, he may heave... a chair).

This is a non-issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17131380)

Google is a private company that offers a service to its customers- they are free to do what they want with this service, including giving themselves preferential treatment. If other companies think this is unfair, let them create their own search engines and advertising tools, giving themselves un-preferential treatment.

Rubbish! (1)

kooky45 (785515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131434)

Google doesn't even appear on the first page for searches on intranet and documents!

Screw Google (1)

Reverend99 (1009807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131484)

The only direction all of these threads are going to go is in complete and total support of Google and anything and everything they do. Every nerd and financier on this planet has an engorged hard-on for this company, and to even hint at any disrespect will mean instant ostracization. Even though I use Google (much like an abused wife who won't leave her husband), there's something about the company I just can't stand. Every time they come out with another me-to product or buy up some other company the whole world celebrates and rejoices them. You may all now begin your long-winded dismantling of my post in every esoteric nerdly way that you will in the defense of the all-mighty Google.

How can it be a monopoly? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131486)

According to Alexa, Yahoo! is the most visited site on the net, followed by MSN* and then Google. You could say then that Google is the third most popular search engine and therefore not a monopoly.

*This is probably only true because Microsoft attempts to set the default homepage to MSN with every update to IE.

one billion dollars (0, Redundant)

Jerom (96338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131510)

per hour. That's how much google pays itself for the topspot.

Who the hell should they be giving the money they pay too? The author of the [sarcasm] intellectual masterpiece [\sarcasm] linked to?

No of course not, for advertising on google you should pay to ... (wait for it) ...

that's right, google

So let us see how this works out

Googles money = Googles money - [advertising cost] + [advertising revenue]

in case they are paying themselves, these two numbers are of course equal,
thus after minimal simplification we get

Googles money = Googles money

or

1

In other terms

the question "how much does x pay itself" is NOT EVEN WRONG.

*sigh*

this has to be one of the most fucked up, sensationalist articles about google on the front page for quite a while.

J.

Two ex-CNET boo-hooing over Google? (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131576)

please.

This is Horribly Wrong..... (1)

Puls4r (724907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131622)

I mean... It should be illegal for ABC, CBS, NBC, and all the other networks to decide who gets their key time slots for advertisement, right? Or not.

How different is it than MSFT... (1)

sim82 (836928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131694)

I didn't have to pay google for a product (+free advertising) I didn't need, when I bought my laptop. That's the difference. They can advertise for anything they like on their page, as long as no one is forced to use (as in 'pay for') it.
End of the story.

Nosense (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131798)

So wait, google needs to bias their search to advertise his own products?

If they wanted to bias people to use their products wouldn't they clutter instead their front page (the most visited frontpage on the internet) with advertising of their products?

Haven't you still realized that if google keeps their front page clean is because they want people to use their products based in how users like their products, not in how much google encourages people to use them?

They still have to deliver what they're paid for. (1)

Stopher2475 (780930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131804)

When you make an adbuy with Google aren't you paying for impressions. I used to work in outdoor and that's what they did. Google may get it's own product for free but that doesn't mean they can't deliver what someone else pays them for.

The rules for a monopoly are different (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17131822)

Why is it so hard to understand that the rules for a monopoly are different? People are constantly trying to compare what MS does with other company's and they keep saying "well they can do it, why can't MS?"

What really bothers me is the slashdot editors continue to allow this shit to get posted. They are geeks, they damn well know better. Oh but they have to get ad hits :P

1) Monopolies have an overwhelming power on the market. They can set prices, muscle suppliers and customers, they can have a "do it or else" attitude, and generally are the bully on the block. Monopolies can do almost anything they want without repercusions, if the government did not step in.

2) Microsoft is a convicted monopoly. While the penalty phase dried up after Bush took office, and nothing is curtailing their behavior now, they were convicted and that has not been overturned. So that is not in question.

3) The next step is that you have to argue that Google is a monopoly or has too much influence. I Think at this stage that's still a tough argument to make, because Yahoo, ask.com, and MSN, despite crappy performances, are at least trying to catch up to Google. I will say Google has a huge mindshare, so anti-monopolists should keep an eye on them, but searches are still happening frequently on the other engines.

4) That's not to say that such a practice isn't sleazy. Frankly, I find this violates googles "do no evil" slogan. This is evil. If I as a small time developer were to introduce one of these types of products and I need to advertise, Google's ads will show up higher ranked and my product will get fewer viewers. In terms of large companies, this isn't as big a deal, because MS and yahoo can turn around and do the same thing with their engines. But when the big boys step on the small boys, I cry unfair.

However, that's a more complicated problem than being a monopoly.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?