Report: Google Proposes to Display Rival Shopping Comparison Sites via Auction
After a long investigation and multiple reports, The European Commission claimed Google was abusing their market dominance as a search engine to promote their Google Shopping service. This led to the EU saying Google needed to pay the biggest antitrust fine they have ever issued out ($2.7 billion). While this case plays out, the company decided to comply with their initial demands and make changes to their search engine so they could avoid racking up additional fines.
However, they haven’t admitted any wrongdoing and are just following protocol that is laid out for these types of cases. Google has been working on its defense for the case and one week ago they formally filed for an appeal against the EU’s antitrust fine. This means they still have to keep the changes they made to their Google Shopping service so that it complies with EU law, but they are now able to state their case and try to work things out.
Today, it is being reported that the company is now offering to display rival shopping comparison websites via auction. The report cites “four people familiar with the matter” and it is actually quite similar to a failed proposal they made to the European Commission three years ago. The idea here is to let competitors bid for any spot in its Product Listing Ads shopping section. So not only would it allow for competitors to get a prime spot, it would also open it up so it encourages even more competition.
There is a change from this proposal than to what we saw previously though. Before, Google had reserved the top two slots for its own ad places but this new proposal would also have them set a floor price with its own bids (minus the operating costs). Now we must wait to see if the European Commission agrees to this so the issue can move forward.