Thursday, January 26, 2017

Conflict of Interest in Promoting Google's Own Products in Search?

This is a very interesting article, the subject of which will likely get more press in the future as Google expands into different revenue areas:

The article discusses the apparent conflict that could be happening as Google's own products, such as Nest and Home, seem to be appearing as the top paid result in the majority of related searches. The article even points out how the WSJ called Google out on a specific search and saw the results drastically change just a week later. Google claims that each one of their products have marketing budgets, just like any other product, and they effectively bid on ads just as others do. Even if this is accurate, it begs the question if this is enough as they are paying themselves for the service and benefiting from the effect this has on raising the average bid prices for keywords. Facebook faces a similar problem.

It is not uncommon for a company to offer its own products as well as those of others (think Department store that has their own brand in addition to others) but Google is a little different because of the veil that exists masking the algorithm. As Google moves into other new products, this will likely become a bigger issue and perhaps will lead to them needing to completely separate their search business from their various products.

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