Competition Commission Orders Formal Probe Against
Media Nama, May 08, 2012
Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered for a formal
probe against Google in India for its Adwords service, reports
Hindustan Times. The report quotes Ashok Chawla, Chairperson of
the CCI as saying that the investigation has been formally
initiated and the report is expected to be ready in three or four
months; the CCI found in a “prima facie evidence” that Google has
abused its dominant market position by being discriminatory in
allotting keywords to matrimonial site Bharatmatrimony.com. This
follows a move from Bharatmatrimony a few months ago, wherein it
formally filed a complaint against Google, citing discriminatory
trade practices; a report on that here in The Economic Times.
In August 2011, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) had filed a
Preliminary Information Report (PIR) with the Competition
Commission of India to examine the anticompetitive practices
indulged in by Google. CUTS’ PIR states that Google’s dominant
position in online advertisement has impacted the growth of Indian
search and advertising space.
Not The First Time For Bharatmatrimony
In 2009, Chennai-based Consim Info, that runs Bharatmatrimony.com,
had petitioned the Madras High Court against Google for displaying
their competitors ads on Google search result page when someone
searches for ‘bharatmatrimony’, and taken Google, Shaadi.com and
SimplyMarry.com to court. Do read our interview with Consim Info
CEO Murugavel Janakiraman then.
Not The First Case Against Google At CCI
In February 2011, CCI reviewed (PDF) a complaint filed by Eximorp
India Pvt Ltd against Google India Pvt Ltd for alleging abuse of
the dominant position by Google for its Adwords service. Eximorp,
which trades wood and wood panel products, filed a complaint
against Google India with following allegations:
Google’s Business practices are inappropriate and discriminatory
Bidding process introduced by Google to place advertisements on
Adwords is non-transparent.
Google doesn’t provide information on vistors.
Google refused to accept payment via credit card, a
discriminatory practice on Geographical location.
However, CCI considered the case and ruled it in favor of Google
stating it could not find any evidence that Google has been
indulging in any kind of anti-competitive pracitices. CCI also
stated that seeking information on visitors ID cannot be called as
lack of transperancy and that Google did acept credit card payment
for post-pay options.
Antitrust Proceedings Against Google At The European Union
While not specifically related to AdWords, Google has has been
under investigation from antitrust authorities in EU for
manipulating its unpaid or Algorithmic search results, exclusivity
contracts with advertising partners, and restricting online
advertising campaign data. Google has also been under the radar in
the US for the same.
Nextag CEO, Jeff Katz appeared for a testimony before Subcommittee
on Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights where he said
that, “But Google abandoned these core principles when they
started interfering with profit growth. Today, Google doesn’t play
fair. Google rigs its results, biasing in favor of Google Shopping
and against competitors like us,”. Nextag, an internet comparison
shopping company said in the testimony that Google is no longer
just a search engine and that it favors Google’s favorite vendors
This news item can also be viewed at: