Google’s constant improvement of their ads continues to catch the attention of the European Commission. The EC are concerned that the way in which Google has improved their ads with a prominent page position, image and eye-catching text is harming both consumer choice and retail competition, specifically the price comparison sites. But, Google argues that the EC’s strict definition of online shopping is too narrow and excludes the competitive significance of companies like Amazon.
Google contends that Amazon is very much the market leader and is very much the largest player in the e-commerce field. Consequently, the search engine claims that the electronic commerce company is, in fact, most benefiting from Google’s developments due to their impressive field dominance. Yet, Google still has the priority data that will help them test and improve where and how the ads appear, and how web user’s respond. But, despite this, they are asserting that they are not ‘favouring’ their own e-commerce ads. However, this is the sort of data control that is not available to other sites and certainly gives Google a clear advantage.
While some independent evidence supports Google’s argument by confirming the prominent position held by Amazon and other large online retailers, Google’s use of algorithms, potentially to their advantage, will continue to be subject to the close scrutiny of the EC.