Google Marketing Practices Deemed Legal, Media Starts Slinging Mud

From: Sinai Marketing
Published: Sun Feb 17 2013

Ali Husayni gets fired up in his latest blog post about the media’s response to the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling in the Google investigation.

"I’m getting sick of our media’s blatant bias and lack of journalistic integrity," says Husayni, the owner of Sinai Marketing, a website optimization firm. "Google and Microsoft are engaging in unethical behavior in online search but what’s worse, they cover it up by paying the media and attacking each other."

He is referring to an op-ed written by Thomas B. Leary published on USA Today’s website on Jan. 12 and an op-ed in the New York Times by Pamela Jones Harbour on Dec. 18. Both are lawyers, but Leary has ties to Google and Harbour is connected to Microsoft.

"A Microsoft lawyer writes an article that lauds Microsoft and attacks Google, and three weeks later a Google lawyer pops up with an article that does the exact opposite," says Husayni. "This is just one more example of sponsored side-taking articles from the media and tit for tat behavior from major search engines."

The FTC’s 19-month investigation was to find out if Google had violated antitrust laws. Competitors accused Google of using its Internet search dominance to unfairly favor its own services in search results like passing off Yelp consumer reviews as their own and pulling data from Wikipedia for their Knowledge Graph.

The agency found that Google’s practices were similar to competitors and that they were attempting to improve search results rather than demote competitors in search ranks. The investigation was closed, but Google announced two voluntary product changes, giving websites more control over their content showing up on specialized search results pages and allowing businesses that use Google marketing tools like AdWords to mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services.

"When the media takes sides, it only distracts people from the real problem and prevents a meaningful dialogue about solutions," says Husayni.

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