Bad Day At Mountain View

It's been an eventful 24 hours for Google's antitrust lawyers. First, Google got hit with a lawsuit by frustrated search marketer TradeComet. Then, President Barack Obama announced that he wanted Christine Varney, who has gone on record calling Google a monopolist, to head the antitrust division.

The TradeComet lawsuit alleges that Google improperly increased the minimum cost of pay-per-click ads.

While Google has won other similar cases in the past, the company can't be happy about having to defend a new lawsuit -- especially when it backed out of a deal to power Yahoo's paid search results precisely to avoid facing antitrust charges in court.

Google likewise can't be thrilled that Varney has been tapped to head the country's antitrust division. Last summer, she publicly said that she was troubled by Google's purchase of DoubleClick, according to Bloomberg. At the same time, while she said that Google monopolized search, she also acknowledged that the company didn't come into its position through predatory or other unlawful means.

In fact, Google grew to dominate search because users liked the results they got with Google. The company maintains its position for the same reason. It hardly seems fair to criticize Google for drawing a lot of traffic when it does so is because it gives people the information they want.

Companies who find themselves priced out of Google's ad program might have good reasons to be upset. But that doesn't mean they have valid antitrust lawsuits.

4 comments about "Bad Day At Mountain View".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 18, 2009 at 8:01 p.m.

    Varney, eh? A Clinton re-tread (change?) and a lobbyist (ethics?).

  2. Cherry Blossombottom from, February 19, 2009 at 1:07 a.m.

    "In fact, Google grew to dominate search because users liked the results they got with Google."

    It is an opinion but I'd agree wholeheartedly with the first sentence. We all flocked to Google in the early days because the results were generally so much better than searches done elsewhere.

    I would however expand upon the second sentence and say that Google quite logically use their monopoly profits to defend and maintain their monopoly.

    For the average user a very large proportion of the results visible on a search page are either paid advertisements or free services provide by Google (e.g. Shopping Results).

    It's hugely convenient that these results are not only the most relevant for searchers but also ensure that those who pass the most revenue to Google are at the top of the page.

    With an ever increasing range of useful and FREE products like gmail, calendar, analytics, documents, etc. we all continue to flock to Google.

    It's hard to believe that anything other than monopoly profits would allow a Company to offer this amount of free stuff.

  3. Daralene Cimino from Web Advantage, February 19, 2009 at 9:49 a.m.

    Google is the best hands down, of course they dominate. They have the best information, the best resources, the best interface, the best tools, need I go on. I wish I owned Google stock, the people who do are the smart ones. Why are we always talking about Google monopolizing. Why not talk about how Yahoo and MSN have failed to step up to the plate.

  4. C. Phillipps from Yoohooville, Inc., February 19, 2009 at 4:59 p.m.

    @W Austin

    "Google It" was big WAY before they went public. As a child I used the Google search engine. That's why they became big - an entire generation became used to "Googling It" rather than "Yahoo-ing it" or worse, "AOL-ing it"

    They also came to power during the tech boom, and because they made some smart moves, their stock prices soared.

    You sound very bitter. I'm not "Googleyed". I don't own stock in them. I don't even think anyone I know has their stock.

    The company came to power because they provided a service that was better than the competitors at the time, had some luck in getting into consumers, had some luck with the stock market, and now have plowed all of that into being that gorilla in the market.

    And there's lots of times that Google has gotten into trouble. Its not like its a starry-eyed love affair in the media with them.

    Christine Varney is an interesting choice. Best? Maybe. Maybe not.

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