It’s never good for business if one company controls the market, hence the Competition Commission. Evidently, though, things work a bit differently when you trade online.
As our Blagger’s Blog quoted recently, some experts claim Google has contravened several legislative measures that safeguard competitiveness. By no means the first accusations of this kind, despite this the firm continues to expand its influence, often causing a minor furore amongst smaller rivals in the process.
Of course I’m not saying this is a monopoly. When a critic rounded on Google Play recently after it emerged that highly sensitive data about users is being given to developers for no good reason, the firm made him tone it down. As such I’d prefer to avoid rash statements, especially given a U.S. court absolved the world’s biggest search engine of antitrust back in January, and the UK is a libel hotbed.
John M. Simpson of the American advocacy group Consumer Watchdog feels differently, mind. Following the legal ruling he told TechCrunch: “Google clearly skews search results to favor [sic] its own products and services while portraying the results as unbiased. That undermines competition and hurts consumers.”
Elsewhere, Business Insider ran a story on forced Google+ sign ups to access services like Gmail and Docs. Whether David Beckham would have 4,846,384 UK followers, more than any other celebrity on the network, without the gun-to-head incentive is unclear, unlike the reason for this policy. Google-dominated online advertising increases in value as public targeting gets more accurate. The best way to do that is by cross-referencing search habits with online social behaviour.
Google’s Penguin algorithm update, used to rank pages, has also been the subject of controversy. By actively penalising sites that fall foul of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines with ‘black hat SEO’ tactics, the hard and fast rule seems to be fall in line with what the search giant wants or drop off the world wide web altogether. Plummeting traffic and absence in results being terribly bad for non compliant businesses. That said a push towards better quality content on websites and more naturally earned, relevant links makes sense for general internet users.
So we need Google more than Google needs most of us, and at least for now we’re stuck with the status quo. This means trying to fool the monolith with unapproved optimisation tricks or opting out altogether aren’t viable options. Instead, on-brand digital storytelling via regular creative content- built for people rather than machines- is the only policy I ever advocate. Unless, of course, you want to play an expensive, perpetual game of cat and mouse with the powers that be. Trust me, there can only ever be one real winner.