Forbes.com just wrote a pretty scathing article on Google based off the Senate antitrust hearing on Thursday saying “Google has perpetrated what maybe the largest bait and switch scheme ever.”
“Simply, Google has baited over a billion users to implicitly trust Google Search by continuously promising that its search engine is unbiased and “always does what is best for the user.”
“However, as Google’s market power has grown over time, the evidence shows Google has increasingly switched its MO to biasing Google Search rankings by putting Google’s interests over users’ best interests by ranking Google-owned properties over competitors’ properties — without fairly representing this major business model shift and new clear financial conflict of interest to those affected. ”
“This core deceptive ‘bait and switch’ business practice of Google’s was effectively the overarching and recurring theme of the Senate Judiciary antitrust hearing on Google’s monopoly power.”
“The artcile cited testimony of the Jeremy Stoppelman the CEO of Yelp, who testified that Google offered to work closely with Yelp as a partner (the bait), but then learned Google was really interested in learning the intricacies of Yelp’s business so that it could compete with Yelp’s business (the switch).”
“Yelp’s CEO concisely described the switch in Google’s business model: “Google is no longer in the business of sending people to the best sources of information on the Web,” “It now hopes to be a destination market itself”
“The hearing will be remembered as a turning point in the Google antitrust story. Everyone naturally knows that saying one thing and doing another, like Google is doing repeatedly to users and content suppliers, the classic bait and switch con, is deceptive and wrong. A bipartisan panel of U.S. Senators knows it and the media who reported on the hearing increasingly “get it.”
The testimony was damning to Google and it will be interesting to see how Congress reacts.