EU regulators scrutinise Google's web ranking process

 

Does it block competitors?

EU antitrust regulators have sharpened their scrutiny of how Google ranks its web search results, asking rivals whether their lower rankings affected the number of visitors to their sites, a European Commission questionnaire showed.

The two-page document came after the EU competition authority demanded more concessions from the world's most popular search engine earlier this month to allay concerns that it blocks competitors in search results.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Google's offer earlier this year to label its own products in search results, provide links to at least three rival sites and make it easier for advertisers to move to rival platforms was not enough.

His comments echoed those of Google's complainants, such as British price comparison site Foundem, a group of German publishers and online travel site Expedia, which said the concessions could reinforce Google's dominance.

The list of six questions focused on the last two and a half years, as EU regulators sought evidence of any possible link between the complainants' lower rankings in Google search results and lower traffic to their sites.

"In the period from January 2011 to June 2013, have you ever noticed a decrease in the number of users reaching your vertical search sites via Google's natural search, which cannot be explained by a change in your web site?" the questionnaire asked.

"Did it coincide with a significant change in the ranking of the pages of your web site in Google's natural search results?"

Respondents were given until August 16 to reply to the questionnaire.

Google, which has more than 80 percent of the European search market, could not be immediately reached for comment. It could face a fine as much as US$5 billion if it does not resolve the issue.


EU regulators scrutinise Google's web ranking process
 
 
 
Top Stories
NSW Govt gets ready to throw out the floppy disks
[Opinion] Dominic Perrottet says its time for government to catch up.
 
iiNet facing new copyright battle with Hollywood
Fighting to protect customer details.
 
The CISO’s dilemma: Do you trust your partner’s partner?
[Blog post] How far down the chain do you check?
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest Comments
Polls
In which area is your IT shop hiring the most staff?




   |   View results
IT security and risk
  25%
 
Sourcing and strategy
  12%
 
IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networking)
  22%
 
End user computing (desktops, mobiles, apps)
  15%
 
Software development
  26%
TOTAL VOTES: 321

Vote
Would your InfoSec team be prepared to share threat data with the Australian Government?

   |   View results
Yes
  57%
 
No
  43%
TOTAL VOTES: 126

Vote