Marketing Pilgrim's "Legal" Channel

Sponsor Marketing Pilgrim's Legal Channel today! Get in front of some of the most influential readers in the Internet and social media marketing industry. Contact us today!

Expedia and TripAdvisor Bring Claims Against Google to EU


Add TripAdvisor and Expedia to the growing list of companies raising a collective voice against Google to the the European Union.

Reuters reports

Online travel agency Expedia on Friday accused Google of breaching EU rules with a formal complaint to EU antitrust regulators as it joined a dozen other firms that have taken their case to the European Commission in the last two years.

As for TripAdvisor? Bloomberg reports

TripAdvisor Inc. filed an antitrust complaint against Google Inc. with European Union regulators, adding a second set of allegations from an online travel company against the world’s largest search-engine operator.

TripAdvisor’s complaint addresses “anti-competitive and unfair practices by Google that harm the marketplace and consumer welfare,” the Newton, Massachusetts-based company said today in a statement, which didn’t give details of the claims. Streetmap, a British mapping service, also filed a complaint with regulators, the European Commission said.

Greg Sterling from Marketing Land says

My sense is that this is part of a coordinated effort to put more pressure on the EU to bring formal antitrust charges against the company. EU antitrust commissioner Joaquín Almunia has said that a decision about whether to formally charge Google will come after the Easter holiday in Europe.

Well if you are familiar with this kind of story you can quickly connect the dots and point to the FairSearch.org movement, otherwise known as “I will bite the hand that feeds” movement or “Since we couldn’t get it done ourselves we will whine about it and hold our breath until we get what we think is rightfully ours” movement or the more direct “Competition is a dirty word and we deserve to get traffic just because we exist even though it’s not even close to morally or ethically palatable” movement.

This is simply a tired argument that the spineless EU is allowing to play out yet again. Oh happy day!

In case you have forgotten here are some points to consider.

  • Google made a search engine, they are a company and why shouldn’t they control what their product does?
  • Google should not HAVE to do anything that anyone deems as corrective unless they are breaking a law (and not the ones that the EU is making up as they go)
  • Google is not a government entity so it has no “greater good” mandate
  • Google built it so Google should be able to do what they want with it
  • If it is SO bad there is such a thing as options like Yahoo or Bing to get “unbiased” results (Hey Microsoft, this is your “If you can’t beat’em try to strangle them through regulation” strategy, huh?)
  • FairSearch.org is a Microsoft puppet organization and the EU acts like it’s not
  • If allowed to carry out its anti-trust mission the EU will, in effect, tell businesses that the free market is dead and the EU will dictate competitive terms whether its for the better or not

There’s a lot more to this, I realize. I also am not a lawyer so if I have missed points of law I apologize in advance. My strong and practically visceral reaction to this kind of political involvement in any business matter that does not involve the actual physical safety of other people, is simply due to my belief that governments regulating business is an innovation and growth killing activity. Not to mention it gives too much power to bureaucrats who tend to go to the highest bidder. Talk about a competition killer.

Anyway, we have given enough space to this kind of inane business practice. Note to anyone who is a FairSearch.org member – You are not business people. You are simply the kids who can’t earn what you want so you go crying to big brother to get it. Geesh.

Enough from me. What’s your take? Agree? Disagree? Not sure? Let’s hear it!