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Google hit with record-sized EU fine!!

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by sturose, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. sturose

    sturose Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Google has been fined 2.42bn euros ($2.7bn; £2.1bn) by the European Commission after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results.
    The amount is the regulator's largest penalty to date against a company accused of distorting the market.
    The ruling also orders Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty.

    The US company may decide to appeal.
    If it fails to change the way it operates the service within the three-month deadline, it could be forced to make payments of 5% of its parent company Alphabet's average daily worldwide earnings.
    Google had previously suggested that Amazon and eBay had more influence over the public's spending habits and that the commission's views "failed to fit the reality of how most people shop online".
    However, the decision could set a precedent that determines how the EU's civil service handles related complaints about the prominence Google gives to its own maps, flight price results and local business listings within its search tools.

    Fast growth
    Google Shopping displays relevant products' images and prices alongside the names of shops they are available from and review scores, if available.
    The details are labelled as being "sponsored", reflecting the fact that, unlike normal search results, they only include items that sellers have paid to appear.
    On smartphones, the facility typically dominates "above-the-fold" content, meaning users might not see any traditional links unless they scroll down.
    Google also benefits from the fact the Shopping service adverts are more visual than its text-based ads.

    One recent study suggested Shopping accounts for 74% of all retail-related ads clicked on within Google Search results. However, the BBC understands Google's own data indicates the true figure is smaller.
    Seven-year probe

    The European Commission has been investigating Google Shopping since late 2010.
    The probe was spurred on by complaints from Microsoft, among others.
    The rival tech giant has opted not to comment on the ruling, after the two struck a deal last year to try to avoid such legal battles in the future.
    But one price comparison service has welcomed the fine.
    "An entire industry has suffered because of Google's unlawful, anticompetitive behaviour, and it has become a genuine struggle for survival for the likes of [us]," the chief executive of Kelkoo Richard Stables told the BBC.
    "At the same time, Google's abuse has raised costs for merchants, and it has meant higher prices for consumers and much more limited choice."
    Although the penalty is record-sized, it could have been bigger.
    The commission has the power to fine Alphabet up to 10% of its annual revenue, which was more than $90bn (£70.8bn) in its last financial year.
    Alphabet can afford the fine - it currently has more than $172bn of assets.
    But one expert said the company would be more concerned about the impact on its future operations.
    "If it has to change the appearance of it results and rankings, that's going to have an impact on how it can monetise search," said Chris Green, from the tech consultancy Lewis.
    "Right now, the way that Google prioritises some of its retail and commercial services generates quite a lot of ad income.
    "When you consider the sheer number of search queries that Google handles on a daily basis, that's a lot of ad inventory going in front of a lot of eyeballs.
    "Dent that by even a few percentage points, and there's quite a big financial drop."

    Europe v US tech:
    This is far from the first time the European Commission has intervened to penalise US technology companies for what it views to be bad behaviour.
    Others to have been targeted include:
    Microsoft (2008) - the Windows-developer was fined €899m for failing to comply with earlier punishments, imposed over its refusal to share key code with its rivals and the bundling of its Explorer browser with its operating system. Five years later, it was told to pay a further €561m for failing to comply with a pledge to provide users a choice screen of browsers

    Intel (2009) - the chip-maker was ordered to pay €1.06bn for skewing the market by offering discounts conditional on computer-makers avoiding products from its rivals. Intel challenged the fine, and a final court ruling in the matter is expected in 2018
    Qualcomm (2015) - the chip-maker was accused of illegally paying a customer to use its technology and selling its chipsets below cost to push a rival out of the market. If confirmed, it faces a fine that could top €2bn, but the case has yet to be resolved
    Apple (2016) - Ireland was ruled to have given up to €13bn of illegal tax benefits to the iPhone-maker since 1991, and was ordered to recover the funds plus interest from the company. However, Dublin missed the deadline it was given to do so and has said it will appeal

    Facebook (2017) - the social network agreed to pay a €110m fine for saying it could not match user accounts on its main service to those of WhatsApp when it took over the instant messaging platform, and then doing just that two years later
    The commission is also investigating Amazon over concerns that a tax deal struck with Luxembourg gave it an unfair advantage.

    The European Commission continues to pursue two separate cases against Google.
    The first involves allegations that the technology company has made it difficult for others to have their apps and search engines preinstalled on Android devices.
    The second covers claims Google took steps to restrict rivals' ads from appearing on third-party websites that had installed a Google-powered search box.

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40406542
     
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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  2. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Will it make Google act differently ?

    Could be an interesting outcome to this, as people have said for years they are dominating / abusing their position.
     
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  3. sturose

    sturose Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    It'll be interesting to see if they do appeal, do they have any grounds?

    Don't think it will make much difference to us little guys though even if the ruling is upheld.
     
  4. BackY

    BackY Senior Member

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  5. Nut-Nights

    Nut-Nights Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    That what you get when you penalize sites of innocent affiliates. Piece of shit Google. F*ck you.
     
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  6. roki4ka

    roki4ka Senior Member

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    Google Wars
     
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  7. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    It's time the big players who avoid tax and perform unfair practices are hit by fines.
     
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  8. NLhead38

    NLhead38 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Let's see if this will change Google's behaviour, let's hope so! Almost no room left for normal shops now that Google Shopping and Google Adwords are everywhere..
     
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  9. HoNeYBiRD

    HoNeYBiRD Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Apart from the little "adjustment" in everyone's Adsense earnings. :)
     
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  10. roki4ka

    roki4ka Senior Member

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    hell no

    They won't do this with all these other networks, not until they bring Chrome 2.0 in 2018 when they can control the parade with their "Adblock"
     
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  11. Nam Hai

    Nam Hai Registered Member

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    So this should be a good news for those who actually have little ecommerce/affiliate review websites right? But what do you think will happen now? Honestly I don't think google will stop earning so much money from adwords just for let us nameless people earn money for "free" (free from google's point of view)... They will find another way to earn money over us right?
     
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    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  12. virtualpurity

    virtualpurity Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    They already did !! :) No more account banning for copyright violations , now they just disable the ads on page level.

    Things are looking up, google needed this kick in the ass to come to their senses. Great News.
     
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  13. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Great news indeed. Google has been dictating rules for small merchants that they themselves don't follow.

    Funny checking page speed and the slowest loading part of all pages is Adsense LOL. And Google penalizes you for that.

    Also ads everywhere on their SERPs and if you do the same they fuck you.

    Google just lost in one go all the pennies they took from webmasters. And more fines will come. The US is looking into gender inequality and other practices within Google. They'll get fine after fine.

    Karma is a bitch.
     
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  14. queenjude

    queenjude Junior Member

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    Yeah great news for anyone with review sites. This means more real estate up for grabs and big companies needing SEO consultants.

    It's like net neutrality for SERPS.
     
  15. martinbm

    martinbm Newbie

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    I'm not so sure this is a good thing. I have a really hard time to see how Google can comply with the rueling without removing the shopping ads. My company personally rely a lot on google shopping, it is our biggest channel. So would really hate for it to be shot down.
     
  16. curiouskt

    curiouskt Regular Member

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    agree with you about the karma thing, but it is interesting to note the defence,
    "Google believes the regulator has a weak case and has failed to provide evidence that either consumers or rivals have been harmed.
    In essence, it sees this as a political move rather than one based on competition law.
    You can be pretty confident that the Trump administration will share that view.
    There's mounting anxiety in European capitals about something called Gafa - Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - the four American giants that play such a huge role in all of our lives."

    and this just in
    http://newscorp.com/2017/06/27/stat...-european-commission-decision-to-fine-google/
     
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