Last week was a banner business moment for search giant, Google. The Federal Trade Commission ruled to drop any further action against Google after a two year long antitrust investigation.
According to Edward Wyatt, writing for the New York Times:
Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the F.T.C., said that “While not everything Google did was beneficial, on balance we did not believe that the evidence supported an F.T.C. challenge to this aspect of Google’s business under American law.”
The five-member commission voted unanimously to close its investigation without bringing charges, although some staff members argued vigorously that Google should face sanctions for using online search results to draw consumer traffic to its own services. The F.T.C. said it had found that Google’s practices improved its search results for the benefit of users and that “any negative impact on actual or perceived competitors was incidental to that purpose.”
The FTC’s decision has stirred much ire within the ranks of Google competitors. The major complaint is that the FTC focused more on the impact on free search users rather than on the impact to paying advertisement customers. Of course there is also a great outcry about Google’s marketing and lobbying efforts. According to a recent post in the Wall Street Journal, “The Internet company spent years on lobbying and other efforts to build up goodwill in Washington, becoming the fifth-highest spender on lobbying in 2012, shelling out more than $14 million related to the antitrust probe and other issues, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and lobbying disclosure statements.”
Similar antitrust suits continue in Europe and at the state level here in the US. This battle is a huge win for Google, with nothing more than a few relatively minor changes promised. Google now can move forward for 2013 secure in its industry dominance. It is now more important than ever that businesses learn how to adapt to the internet marketing game as Google continues to define the rules.
Is the strategic placement of you business as strong as you would like? What plans do you have for the coming year for online business?