Upset you were penalized by Google? You are not the only one. Tons of sites are penalized by Google each day, on some level. But this time the European Union is opening an antitrust investigation to make sure Google is not penalizing web sites for their own gain.
Over the years, Google has got into business lines that compete with normal webmasters. From web analytics to selling mortgage leads, Google on some level, competes with the sites they rank, unbiasedly, in the search interface that made them so popular.
The Telegraph reports:
The European Commission has launched an anti-trust investigation against Google after three online companies alleged that the internet giant’s search functions were penalising their businesses.
The investigation comes under the Lisbon Treaty’s “abuse of dominant position” powers and is the first time that Google has been targeted by the European Union.
Foundem claims that Google lifted the “penalty” in December, resulting in an increase in traffic from Google searches of “10,000pc overnight”.
Foundem is owned in part by Microsoft and Ciao is owned by them, which is why Greg Sterling suggests that Redmond is the puppet master behind this investigation. Greg does an excellent job taking you through many of the points and angles of such a claim. The Google EU policy blog also comments:
Though each case raises slightly different issues, the question they ultimately pose is whether Google is doing anything to choke off competition or hurt our users and partners. This is not the case. We always try to listen carefully if someone has a real concern and we work hard to put our users’ interests first and to compete fair and square in the market. We believe our business practices reflect those commitments.
Google comments specifically about Foundem and Ciao as well.
As you can imagine, something like this drives a lot of SEO and webmaster discussion.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.