back to article Look out, Brussels: Google's moving the goalposts, barks price comparison rival

Google’s leading European competition critics say its search results are a “significant leak in its money-making machines,” drawing regulators attentions to the ad giant’s conflicts of interests. The FairSearch founders, Adam and Shivaun Raff, accuse Google of moving the goalposts in the battle over price comparison engines, …

  1. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    Interesting idea

    I'm not quite following Foundem's arguments, but from what I understand, Shopping results are just ads.

    If Google marks these results as ads and separates them clearly from search results, doesn't that solve the competition problem? On one side, you would have organic results, where Google must not favour its own products in any way. And on the other side, you have ads, where Google has every incentive to favour the highest bidder. If they put ads for their own product, they lose the money from other advertisers; which is equivalent to Google outbidding other advertisers on its own ad network. Sounds fair?

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Interesting idea

      The problem comes when Google lists the ad at the top of the page, with a great big hyperlink, and has a very small [ad] tag listed at the start of the site description. People will first of all look at the hyperlink, and click on it without ever noticing that it's a paid product placement.

      Have 2 or 3 ads, and the delineating mark between ads and organic result might not even appear on screen.

      1. ratfox

        Re: Interesting idea

        The problem comes when Google lists the ad at the top of the page, with a great big hyperlink, and has a very small [ad] tag listed at the start of the site description.

        Which is why I started my post by If Google marks these results as ads and separates them clearly from search results. The point being that if those are clearly ads, it stops being a competition problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting idea

      But Google, Yahoo and Bing don't do that.

      Have you ever played "Where's Waldo"? Once you find Waldo, it's clear that you've found Waldo. Until you find him, you take notice of everything that isn't Waldo. Google is backing that the longer it takes you to find him, you'll give up and click on something that interests you other than Waldo.

      However, it's worse. Let's say you find Waldo quickly, what you may not understand is that there's dozens of Waldo's to find, all with little prices on there hats, and none of those Waldos represent the best price, they represent what you're told to buy.

      Waldo is probably a bad example, but it boils down to you either A. being impatient. or B. believing you're seeing the best you can. You're shopping habits are being controlled wether you give in to impulse or find exactly what you want.

  2. whoseyourdaddy

    Ever wonder why I choose Apple products over Google?

    Course you don't, you hippie.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I've just tried to find Apple search engine.

      Can to point me to it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What on Earth did I type there? Need more beer to make me fingers work better.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RegTard Alert on High Status

    Prepare as RegTard Fanboii's of the fruity firm, come to bash Mountain View. Forgetting the fact that the Walled Garden of no intrusion is the single biggest Anti-Competitive environment in play today, and that people can simply use a different search engine.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      Re: RegTard Alert on High Status

      Actually you can't.

      Ever wonder why Google has such an accurate search engine?

      Ever wonder why companies like El Reg use Google Analytics on their web pages even though they could write their own? ;-)

      When you start to understand that... you will learn why Google has a monopoly on search. ;-)

    2. tr1ck5t3r

      Re: RegTard Alert on High Status

      The US Tech giants are a law unto themselves working in cahoots, I keep finding their code in their hardware and software that does things and thats before you take into their actors.

      Edward Snowdon is a bit of a false flag as well on some of the stuff he has mentioned.

      Bottom line is some in the US are hacking their allies whilst claiming ignorance.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For older people, this is déjà vu all over again..

    It's like it's the late 90s and I'm reading about Microsoft.

    The same pretty blatant abuses, the same protestations that we are mistaken black for what is clearly white, the same (pathetic and transparent) attempts at deception and, and, and.

    It's kinda weird, really. Do they teach that in US schools that there is no honest way to make money? Just curious.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      @AC Re: For older people, this is déjà vu all over again..

      They teach it... but most students either skip that lesson or sleep in class. Of course this is most true of the ivy league schools and that one in Silicone Valley.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: @AC For older people, this is déjà vu all over again..

        Have an upvote for mentioning Silicone Valley. Brought a smile to the Breakfast table.

        I did think that the real Silicone Valley was down near LA, where all those 'plastic' Surgeons ply their trade. Thanks for correcting us.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC For older people, this is déjà vu all over again..

          So they have tits up events with totally different causes, but low accident mortality rates.

          Yes, I'll be here all day..

        2. Ian Michael Gumby

          @ Steve Davies Re: @AC For older people, this is déjà vu all over again..

          No its Silicone Valley.

          In tech, women know that sex sells.

          Also there are some of both sexes (and those who are sexually confused) who have enhanced their craniums by removing parts of their brains to place one or more of those Bulgarian Air Bags sub cranium.

          There is also another disease that has been getting worse since the 90's. Its called Silicon Valley Syndrome. Its where you feel your self worth, importance and technical skills set grow as you get closer to the valley. (This is real, I kid you not. I and a buddy have a mutual friend who could have been patient 0)

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    This does appear to have an effect on Google. I remember the days when I'd search for something, e.g. how to set bracketing on a camera, and the "results" would be pages of where-to-buy ads for either that camera or photographic equipment in general completely unrelated to my search.

    Sometimes it'd be 3 or 4 pages before I found actual web pages related to the camera.

    I hope they smack Google with a big stick.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good

      I also remember those days when every product comparison start up spent more on dodgy SEO than building sites worth using. Also the squealing when Google went to war to ensure you'd see a real result somewhere on the 1st page, not buried behind hundreds of link farm generated adverts.

      What really pissed off Foundem is not being able to leach of SEO manipulation, unfortunate timing for so many companies joining the gold rush to no effort riches.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foundem?? Are they the site that uses Google to find sites that they then scrape and put on their site? If so, they should be paying Google for doing the heavy lifting for them.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I fear this case will go on forever without resolution... Why don't EU politicians just recommend Startpage or DuckDuckGo or Qwant or something else?... (Lets strike off DuckDuckGo, as they seem to be in bed with Yahoo who are in bed with the devil)...

  8. John Crisp

    Ads on Google (if I ever use their awful 'service'). Really ? Never see any :-)

    Actually, despite relevant blocking, what you do see are quite clearly sponsored/paid for 'links' aka results, most of which are irrelevant.

    And hence why I only use Google when I am desperate, knowing I'll have to wade through pages of crap in the hope of finding something relevant. All a far cry from their glory days.

    They really do need a good slap.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    is the new Microsoft.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fairsearch - paid for by Microsoft?

    Foundem - gets funding from Microsoft?

    So this boils down to Microsoft having it in for Google and using a proxy war to try to force the EU to slap them down the same way they did with Microsoft.

    The listings of those sites in the graphic were all a bunch of parasites that were just meta-searches for the real products. Often doing exactly what they are accusing Google of - having bids from companies to buy higher listings (in this case via affiliate networks). You used to not be able to search for any product or brand name to find results because they would be clogged up with these meta search engines and the update to stop that was one of the best that Google did.

    So F'em is just a really crappy site - poor search, layout etc. If they wanted to be big then they could have worked on their brand to become the de-facto site for shopping search with the best results of anyone. People would use it - in the same way that people go straight to Amazon for shopping, E-bay for auctions or, go forbid, El Reg for tech news. I don't spend each day searching in Google for "tech news" and happen to often click on the link for The Register.

    Google shopping does appear to be paid for advertising links which is Google's actual business model and they also have the ability to show you the actual shop and price directly without having to click down through several pages. I think you have a bit of a better case with Google Maps as any place name does come up with a small Google maps image, still not clear cut as they would not be able to show maps directly from third party sources.

    Google are too big a payer in search and therefore harms advertisers who look to buy paid ads - double click purchase should not have been allowed. However this doesn't necessarily help consumers and trying to make Google rubbish by allowing meta-searchers to flourish and forcing you to click down several pages to get information rather than presented directly to you is not the way to do it.

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