Making Results Better For End Users Isn't Acting Like A Monopolist

from the and-again-and-again-and-again dept

With the Justice Department getting closer and closer to going after Google for supposed antitrust violation, we're going to see more and more articles like the one in the New York Times this weekend that tries to highlight the story of a company "harmed" by Google's market power. In this case, it's the story of a guy who runs a directory site that was based entirely on Google arbitrage. He bought ads on Google's search engine to drive people to his directory page, and then littered the page with AdSense to collect revenue from people clicking through. The NY Times presents this as being somewhat harmful, but I have to side with Jeff Jarvis who doesn't see what Google did wrong.

Google arbitrage sites are a problem for the end user. They're based on the simple concept of forcing people to go an extra click to siphon some money away. If I'm looking for a particular site on Google I don't first want to go to a directory -- I want to go directly to the site. That's true for many, many users -- and Google's efforts in punishing arbitrage sites isn't anticompetitive, it's about improving the user experience, which is something that should be praised, not sued. The only problem noticed in the scenario was that the guy chose a bad business model, where he was totally reliant on a single company for both all of his traffic and all of his revenue. He made the decision to base his entire business on a single supplier, and that supplier has every right to change the terms of its deals in an effort to make a better consumer experience. This isn't Google being anticompetitive -- it's Google serving its customers.
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Filed Under: antitrust, arbitrage, monopoly, search results
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    bobbknight, 15 Sep 2008 @ 1:31pm

    Not A Monopolist

    I can't see how Google can be called a monopolist.
    Maybe close to a monopoly, certainly a market leader.
    I always have the option of Yahoo or Microsoft for search and other things. But to try to live of Google by making those web sites where there are all kinds of crap links to junk sites. Sites that I just don't need to go to. Then this guy starts bitching about it when Google changes things to allow me to not have to see that crap. That's just gall. Very much like the burglar who sues you for a broken leg when he falls through a hole on your porch during a robbery attempt.

    Show of hands, who remembers WebCrawler, Infoseek, Excite, HotBot the list goes on and on...... Google is better.
    In the olden days I had to search with 2 or 3 different search sites at times to find what I wanted.
    Now with Google I often find it on the first page. If this makes Google a monopoly, then thank god for the monopoly.

    Now I just want to point out that I never trust the old gray lady when it come to markets and financials, that I turn over to the WSJ and Barons.

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