Among its first moves after being required to delist certain “irrelevant” search results was to remove a posting critical of a large bank executive for his role in the 2008 mortgage derivatives crisis, as previously reported in ValueWalk.
Yelp charging Google for manipulating search results
Now a new line of attack is forming, as Google is being charged with manipulating search results to favor its in-house products or affiliated partnerships.
Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP), a local services review site, has formally submitted a complaint against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s search business to Brussels’ competition officials. This comes at a time when European Commission’s antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia moves to bring an end to a lengthy probe of the search giant by sealing a proposed settlement deal with Google, even as political pressure could be growing against that plan.
Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) getting into the fray could add weight to complaints over Almuna’s current proposal, according to reports. Yelp is proposing that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) must place links to three rivals‘ services whenever it promotes its own specialized search services, such as local search or shopping, areas where it competes with Yelp. Until the agreement becomes legally binding, Google wont indicate when it promotes its own services and thus cannot be tracked.
Google’s current proposal addresses concerns over its dominance of the European search market
Almunia was reported as “all ears at the moment” after recently sending “pre-rejection” letters to those who had lodged antitrust complaints with the EC, hoping to convince the companies that the current proposal devised by Google sufficiently address concerns over its dominance of the European search market.
Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman formalized his complaints in a letter to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso.
“I truly fear the landscape for innovation in Europe is infertile, and this is a direct result of the abuses Google has undertaken with its dominant position,” wrote Stoppelman, according to the New York Times.
While Google’s Europe search settlement may be nearing an end, Almunia’s office is currently looking into complaints about other aspects of its business, including objections to Android, its App Store, and YouTube.