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EU: Google Shopping still not playing fair, claim competitors

 |  November 25, 2018

A group of European comparison shopping services have penned an open letter to European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, complaining that Google isn’t playing along with the Commission’s ruling attached to its June 2017 antitrust fine.

“While rivals are compelled to bid away the vast majority of their profits, Google Shopping’s bids cost it nothing,” the open letter claimed. “Its bids are just meaningless internal accounting, paid from one Google pocket into another.

“The harsh reality is that a pay-for-placement auction is fundamentally incompatible with the concept of comparison shopping (or, indeed, any other form of vertical search).

“As a result, few rivals have chosen to participate in Google’s CSS (comparison shopping services) auction and, when they have, genuine CSSs that employ a consumer-friendly paid-inclusion model have struggled to outbid services like Google Shopping that, since 2013, employ a consumer-unfriendly pay-for-placement model.”

In 2017, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager issued Google a €2.42 billion (US$2.7 billion) antitrust fine for artificially promoting its own price comparison service on its online shopping platform ahead of rival services.

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