Deadline passes for European Commision probe into Google

UK travel companies had until last Friday to complete a questionnaire from the European Commission which is investigating whether Google has abused its dominant position in online search.

The commission is investigating the search giant on the basis of four “allegations”, according to a covering letter sent with the questionnaire.

It says the allegations relate to i) the demotion of competing online search vertical search services in Google’s natural search and the preferential treatment of Google’s own vertical search services.

ii) the demotion of the Quality Score of advertisers using Google’s AdWords platform iii) the imposition of exclusivity obligations of publishers participating in Google’s AdSense  programme and/or on Google’s distribution partners.

iv) the imposition of restrictions on the storage and use of the advertisers’ AdWords campaign data with regards to competing online advertising platforms.

The letter states it is “currently investigating allegations that Google has breached article 201 of the Treaty in the Functioning ofthe European Union and Article 53 of the EEA (European Economic Area)  Agreement “.

Among other things the questionnaire asks respondents specify “the amount of traffic you have received through clicks on (i) Google’s search results and (ii) on search results provided by other horizontal search engines (e.g. Bing or Yahoo!) during the last 6 years”.

It also asks a series of questions about Google AdSense agreements and about online advertising revenue and advertising strategies employed by different companies.



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