06.20.2012 0

Should Government Dictate The Results Of Your Google Search?

NRD Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at Forbes.com.

By Howard Rich — At a U.S. Senate hearing last September Nextag CEO Jeffrey Katz testified that nearly “30 million shoppers” used his online marketplace each month, sending “over $1 billion of sales to our merchant partners.”

Does that sound like a struggling business to you?

Katz believes so – which is why he wants governments around the world to assist him in regulating Google, a so-called “brand killer” that he insists has a monopoly over “internet freedom.” Of course Katz’s real complaint has nothing to do with “internet freedom” and everything to do with the fact that Google isn’t featuring links to his website as prominently as he would like.

“The company has used its position to bend the rules to help maintain its online supremacy, including the use of sophisticated algorithms weighted in favor of its own products and services at the expense of search results that are truly most relevant,” Katz wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal.

Katz also alleges that Google “often uses its prime real estate to promote its own (often less relevant and inferior) products and services, prohibiting companies from buying its best advertisements.”

Let’s examine these claims for a moment. Katz is accusing Google of using its own platform to promote its own services – not unlike when a television network uses a major sporting event to promote its new lineup of shows.

Assuming this is true, how is such self-promotion in any way considered sinister? It isn’t – unless you’re afflicted with Katz’s hyperactive sense of entitlement as well as the belief that government should interfere with a private company’s right to market its own offerings.

“Why would any third party think they deserve more prominence on another company’s website, particularly when they’re not paying for such a privilege,” writes Mike Grehan of Search Engine Watch.

Not only that, Katz’s anti-free market screed neglected to mention that Bing and other search engines employ nearly the same self-promotional methods Google is accused of using in compiling their own search results.

Nonetheless, Katz is on the warpath against Google. Specifically he has suggested that the company be required to “grant all companies equal access to advertising” while disclosing those instances in which “a search result is a Google product and when advertisers get preferential placement.”

Get full story here from Forbes.com.

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