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Google Reportedly Facing FTC Probe on Display Advertising Tactics



google-antitrust-110723_620x350Google looks like it will probably be hiring yet again in their legal department. Well, there is no announcement to that effect but considering the number of countries stepping up to the plate to take a swing at the company for search and display tactics they are probably going to need the help.

Bloomberg is reporting that the FTC is looking into Google’s way of promoting its DoubleClick platform vs the other display ad platform options that exist. Once again there seems to be this idea that Google is a public utility even though it is a private company but anyway.

From Bloomberg we get the following.

Google Inc. is facing a new antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission into whether the company is using its leadership in the online display-advertising market to illegally curb competition, people familiar with the matter said.

The fresh inquiry, which follows the FTC’s decision to close a review of Google’s search business in January without taking action, is in the preliminary stages and may not expand into a larger probe, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter hasn’t been made public.

If you would like a quick chuckle take a look at the video version of the Bloomberg report. Toward the end of the segment, the use of off-topic video of Google Glass really enhances the report ;-).

Will this turn into anything for real? That remains to be seen. The political climate is what drives this and Google has played an interesting game in that they have been staunch supporters of President Obama (actually uncomfortably so but that’s just my opinion).

Many ex-Googlers have had various government positions during this administration. When you see things like this you have to wonder how much is for show which makes it even worse. Is Google protected by the government because of its political leanings? That’s for the conspiracy theorists to argue about but it’s something to consider.

As far as true free market principles go many wonder just why Google gets attention at all. Could it be just as an example that is used to scare other companies ‘into line’ while knowing full well that nothing will happen to Google, at least not in the US? That would be tragic but is it out of the question? I don’t think so.

Lots of speculation. Lots of questions. In the end, it’s a distraction that proves once again that the less government involvement in most businesses the better and vice versa.

Your thoughts?

  • http://www.jamie-anderson.com/about-me/ Jamie Anderson

    Will be yet another case of Google buying their way out of trouble no doubt.

    • FrankReed

      I get that Jamie but I am beginning to wonder if it’s not just a show. Google is deep into this administration in monetary support as well as just the basic ideology. I am a staunch free market guy so I don’t feel there is any reason to have to ‘cover’ something like this but since it happens we do. As a result the cynic in me wonders just how much this is for show? So Google gets off but not because of free market principles but because of manipulating the system and playing into government games. I don’t have any true evidence to support any of this. it’s simply my observations and a possible conclusion. Either way it stinks.

      Oh and as for Google buying their way out of trouble? They did that long ago with their cozying up to this president form the very beginning.

  • cult.ref

    Good article Frank, But let’s not forget Hanlon’s razor “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” I think your initial analysis is telling “Once again there seems to be this idea that Google is a public utility even though it is a private company but anyway…” The federal government in general, and more specifically the FTC have shown that they are woefully slow in educating their staff when it comes to internet related issues. It would be interesting to conduct a survey of Congress, the Senate, and FTC employees as I suspect many of them hadn’t ever used the internet prior to Google’s dominance and may very well mistake it for a public utility or non-profit organization.

  • singerobras

    I was never a big Foursquare user

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  • Titanium metal

    Hai..good post…very informative blog..thanks for posting