The European Union is fining Google a record $2.7 billion due to an anti-trust allegation. Google apparently has been manipulating their search results to favor their own services–more than it’s rival competitors. One of the main issues lies in the unexplained sudden drop in traffic to competitors’ websites and services.
In a Bloomberg article, I find it interesting that the European Union is pointing out this sudden drop in traffic to competitors’ websites, and it’s clear to me that this would be manipulation by Google, done on purpose:
“The EU’s declaration that it had found evidence of sudden drops in traffic to rival websites of 85 percent in the U.K., up to 92 percent in Germany and 80 percent in France will “hearten” Google’s rivals, Bar-Isaac said.
“These sudden drops could also not be explained by other factors,” the EU said in the statement. “Some competitors have adapted and managed to recover some traffic but never in full.”
Since it started changing its search function in order to promote its own comparison shopping service, traffic to Google’s comparison shopping service increased 45-fold in the U.K., the EU said in the ruling.”
These sudden drops in traffic aren’t just small drops in traffic. The EU is declaring that it found evidence of traffic drops up to 85 percent, and even a whopping 92 percent in Germany. That’s not right.
As you might recall, I have written before about how certain business owners claim they’ve been manipulated by Google. While the case I wrote about was in the United States, I don’t see any specific evidence that Google has been manipulating search results beyond what is being claimed by the EU. I have seen drops in traffic, but in the cases I’ve seen it’s been because of changes in Google’s algorithms, not necessarily specific things that Google has done to cut off traffic to its rivals.
Google has responded to the fine, saying “We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections.”. So, it sounds to me like they’re blaming the fact that other websites like Amazon and eBay have grown over the past decade. In Google’s response, they say nothing about the unexplained “sudden drop in traffic”.