U.S. FTC report details how Google skewed search results in its own favor

“A previously undisclosed report by staffers at the Federal Trade Commission reveals new details about how Google Inc. manipulated search results to favor its own services over rivals’, even when they weren’t most relevant for users,” Rolfe Winkler and Brody Mullins report for The Wall Street Journal. “In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC’s bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and ‘scraping’ content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals.”

“For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options,” Winkler and Mullins report. “Google’s shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn’t click on them at the same rate, the staff found.”

“The staff report lends credence to longstanding complaints by Google rivals that the search giant was unfairly discriminating against them. Local-listings site Yelp Inc., for example, complained publicly during the FTC’s investigation that Google copied its reviews to give its own local listings more heft,” Winkler and Mullins report. “Marissa Mayer, who was then a Google vice president, said Google didn’t use click-through rates to determine the ranking for its own specialized-search sites, because they would rank too low, according to the staff report.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Do know evil.

Google’s “don’t be evil” mantra? “It’s bullshit.” – Steve Jobs

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Steve Jobs: Adobe is ‘lazy’, Google can’t ‘kill iPhone,’ ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra is ‘bullshit’ – February 1, 2010


    1. Junk = advertising. Google is no longer a search engine but an advertising engine. I hate using Google because it doesn’t find what I want half of the time, and I often have to go to the 3rd or 4th page to find anything remotely relevant. DuckDuckGo is so much better.

  1. Isn’t that what the ‘business’ of search is all about? This is how Google makes money off of their search service. They have every interest in catering to the highest bidder, even if that bidder is Google itself. Not surprised by this at all.

    1. It is news because the REPORT is now officially for all eyes, yours included.

      There is now also no doubt (if there ever was any) that Googles mantra IS INDEED bullshit as SJ so masterfully put it.

  2. Google’s business model from day one. Bait and switch. First provide reliable search results and make a big deal about ethics, then substitute advertising for true results.

  3. Haven’t used anything Google for a long time – no gmail – no google – nothing Google.

    DuckDuckGo is the search engine to use if you want privacy.

  4. I don’t get the outrage. As far as I know their search results and page ranking are proprietary. I don’t recall them ever making assurances that they will rank stuff only with the user’s best interest in mind.

    If you don’t like the quality of their search results, move along to the next search engine.

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