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New evidence of Google search bias -- Its relevant to DOJ investigation of Google-Yahoo ad-deal

Does Google anti-competitively leverage its dominance in search to disadvantage its competitors, including Google's media competitors? New evidence suggests yes.

  • A nod of thanks must go to GoogleBlogoscoped and innovator Timo Paloheimo who invented a derivative search engine, Google Minus Google, for the clever purpose of offering "Search with Google without getting results from Google sites such as Knol, Blogger and YouTube."
    • Mr. Paloheimo explains that he was inspired to create Google minus Google by the New York Times important article by Miguel Helft: "Is Google a media company?"
    • This suggests that a lot of people, when they connect-the-dots of Google's dominance in search and Google's aggressive competitive forays into everyone else's business, will have a similar eureka moment that Google is anti-competitively extending its dominance in search to other market segments.

The evidence shows Google is not a neutral search engine or a neutral wholesaler of search services.

As I will show below:

  • Search results for Google-owned affiliates routinely appear ahead of competitors despite having less share and popularity than their competitors; and
  • Google Adword sponsored listings (to the right of search results) also routinely go to Google because noone can outbid Google "the house" in an opaque Google "auction" where whatever Google bids is like "monopoly play money" because Google's auction "payments" are just paid to... Google.

Let's see what evidence we find when we search on some important competitive keywords that are necessary to build a competitor's online market share -- and where Google has an inherent and undisclosed conflict of interest.

  • For readability of this post, I put the screenshot evidence for each assertion/search evidence at the very bottom of this post.
  • I use screenshots rather than links because Google could alter their algorithm to cover-up this anti-competitive bahavior.

Media competitors should search 'news' and see that Google is the only sponsored link, and that Google is also second in search results, behind only CNN which partners with Google in search and debate sponsorship. (Also note that YouTube is the top Adwords sponsored listing too.)

  • If Google is not a media company or competitor, why would Google News in a search for "news" rank higher than MSNBC, Yahoo News, CNET, ABC News, CBS News, USA Today, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Reuters, AP, etc.?

Media competitors should search for 'video' and note that YouTube is the top Adwords sponsored link, and the top Adsense sponsored link, in addition to Google Video being the top search result.

Search on 'health' and Google Health is the top Adwords sponsored listing.

Search on 'Maps' and the top search result is Google Maps, and the top Adword sponsored link is... Google Maps too.

Search on 'traffic' and the top two AdSense sponsored links are Google maps.

Search on 'product search' and Google product search is the top two search results.

Search on 'blog' and the top search result is Google's free blogger service.

Search on 'email' and Google's Gmail is the top search result.

Search on 'talk' and Google Talk is the top two search results.

Search on 'calendar' and Google calendar is the top two search results and the top Adwords sponsored link.

Why is this a big deal and evidence of anti-competitive behavior?

  • Google's offering in these categories is not the top product/service in the category or the most popular. Google's algorithm is pretty clearly being tweaked to goose Google's search rankings to favor Google despite Google's longstanding representation to the public that Google does not skew search results for any reason.
  • Google has 60-70% search share in the US and rising depending on the measure, and 90% share in Europe.
  • Google and Yahoo jointly control ~90% of US online advertising revenues and ~99% of US online advertising profits.
  • Increasingly, if a competitor to Google hopes to succeed online, they depend on Google's search advertising essential facility, or the Google-Yahoo advertising "partnership's" cooperation and good graces, in order to effectively reach the US or global online audience.
    • Google's competitors simply do not have a viable alternative to Google's search platform or Google-Yahoo's advertising "partnership."
  • If Google then runs supposedly 'competitive' auctions, where Google has uniquely deep knowlege of its competitors demand, pricing and ad budgets, and where Google can bid limitless 'house' money to 'win' an auction because it is only paying itself, Google has the market power to anti-competitively defeat many related competitors in the online market of the future.

Bottomline: Google increasingly has the ability to foreclose competition in many adjacent online markets over time.

  • Will Google's competitors be like the proverbial frog that will jump out, if put in hot water?
    • Or will Google's competitors be like the frog that gets put in warm water that is rising in temperature, falls asleep and gets cooked?

Search on 'News'


Search on 'Video'


Search on 'Health'


Search on 'Maps'


Search on 'Traffic'

Search on 'Product Search'


Search on 'Blog'


Search on 'Email'

Search on 'Talk'


Search on 'Calendar'