Following on from Mabo’s recent blog post detailing recent changes to Google shopping this week, more changes are on the horizon as Google is forced to take action in response to an EU Antitrust Order.
In June of this year, Google was hit with a record £2.14 billion fine for “abusing its dominance of the search engine market.” Specifically, this related to the way in which Google runs its online shopping service.
European regulators claimed that Google was artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, denying rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field.
According to an analysis of around 1.7bn search queries, Google’s search algorithm was consistently giving prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service to the detriment of rival services. (wired.com)
Google was given 90 days to stop its illegal activities and explain what changes will be made.
This week, we saw the first of these inevitable changes begin to appear.
A link for “By Google” is appearing below shopping results shown on the search page for certain searches. A click on one of these links takes the user to the Google shopping page.
According to reports, as part of the EU remedies, the company will auction off the 10 slots in this advertising panel to rival sites such as Kelkoo.com or Shopzilla Inc. The link will be replaced with “By Kelkoo” for example, and clicking it will take the user to Kelkoo shopping results.
“While Google Shopping can bid for those slots, it will be run as a separate entity to ensure that its bids reflect its own operating costs and aren’t subsidised by Google.” Bloomberg reported.
As Google is yet to comment, we can only speculate at the extent to which these changes will affect Google Shopping results. But it is certain that changes will be made, or Google could face a daily fine of up to £10.5million.
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