Clearly something wasn't quite clear enough. i mean, a record fine and an order to stop prioritising your own companies in search results. It's such a mixed message, isn't it?
I've certainly been surprised this Christmas while searching for presents, just to ease Santa's load. Google Shopping results are consistently topping my results. There I was scratching my head, wondering how this could still be when I chanced on an article.The Telegraph has called out Google on its lack of change on search, and it reads like a pretty damning indictment.
Apparently, the same type of rivals who got Google investigated and fined are now lining up to point out to the European Commission that very little has changed. They still maintain that Google is prioritising its own services, namely Google Shopping.
One rival from Kelkoo points out that in their estimation, Google Shopping is still coming out on top in 99% of search.
Under Google's supposed changes, the spots where items are typically framed at the top of the search results now need to be bid on and any company can now join in the auction. Ironically, this is exactly how I predicted Google would get out its hole -- turn a problem in to a new revenue stream.
The thing is, Google Shopping, in particular, just keeps on winning these bids. It's enough to make you scratch your chin and think a suspicious "ummm."
The Telegraph further reveals that the European Commission is due to release a "prohibition report" in the next few weeks that will examine how well Google is keeping to its promise to mend its ways. The lobbying by a multitude of rivals is set to intensify over the next few weeks as the report is finalised.
The fine for noncompliance, by the way, is a particularly massive GBP3.5bn or $4.5bn. Readers will not be surprised to hear that Google both contests the original fine and insists it has met the European Commission's requirements that it does not favour its own companies.
True -- it has allowed a problem to become a new revenue stream and any company may now bid to go in those shopping square windows at the top of the results page. It's just that Google nearly always wins this auction.
If Google cannot see that it is a problem it is continually winning its own auctions, then it is either ridiculously stupid or trying to pull a fast one. I know which of those two scenarios I, and its rivals, believe is the more accurate picture.
Trust me -- the way things are in Europe right now, Google is looking at another massive fine even before the Commission looks more deeply in to its AdWords and Android investigations.