Is Google Gaming Search Results? E.U & Now India Fines $1.4b.
Quite recently Google has been clouded with gaming its search results by the E.U. Now, Indian companies are making serious accusations and filing to CCI, the Competitive Commission of India.
The Competition Commission of India had received complaints from BharatMatrimony, online arranged marriages promoting website and another non-profit organization Consumer Unity & Trust Society. Following the complaint a survey was conducted by CCI with some 30 major internet companies and some of them like Flipkart, MakeMyTrip, Facebook, Nokia Maps Division and Hungama Digital corroborated the fact.
Flipkart said that it has found a direct correlation between its advertisement expenditure and the search results, which means that irrespective of its popularity Google will show its links only if it pays for it. A similar situation has been found for others where despite of higher hit rates some services and website are not retrieved in the Google search results.
- The sponsored links in the search results also depend on the amount of money spent on advertising rather than popularity or relevance.
Such offerings and gaming of search results might be advantageous for the ones that spend money on advertising, but seems to pose danger to those with more original content, more popular among people and higher hit rates. It is a matter of concern for startups and growing websites because they seem to have no chance of being visible at all in these results because of very minimal expenditure on advertisements compared to large firms and organizations. Similar cases have been under investigation in the E.U nations in the past. As law entitles, if found guilty, Google will be fines nearly 10% of its income and having made about $14b in 2014, that translates to a fine of $1.4b.
The Google record does not seem to be clear with just recently been fined $166,000 for not cooperating with antitrust investigation proceedings, in March 2015. In the E.U case, Google denied of having gamed the search result, but a decision is till pending towards the year end and it looks like it will be imposed a fine of $6.7b, which is nearly 10% of its total income. The fine is not humongous but the outcome of the rigging is definitely one. Thus, CCI charges Google of rigging the results corroborated by Flipkart and alikes. It is yet to see how things turn up in the court of law.