Is it a coincidence that Google products are favoured in Ad searches?
There is nothing like self-promotion and a race to be the best. According to a recent study it would seem that Google are well aware of this.
An article published by a Wall Street Journal study found that over 9 times out of 10, Google’s own products were being promoted high up on ad searches. The process by how this is reached is a little complicated but essentially Google are competing against other competitors to ‘buy the adverts for their own products.’ The study found that certain items or areas in particular were more likely to yield a Google product. For example, a simple search for “phones” would lead to advertisements for Google Pixel, or searches for “laptop” would seem to favour the showing of Chromebooks etc. This might appear very narrow and specific but the study did research into over 20,000 terms! When you take this, plus the earlier statistic of 9 times out of 10 you really do get a flavour and a scale for how much this is really going on.
We must point out that there is nothing wrong with this of course – it is all perfectly legit but it certainly raises some moral and perhaps ethical considerations? Google have been keen to point out that there are mechanisms in place to ensure that competitors are not disadvantaged by this process regarding their own products. For example, when Google does bid on these adverts, it doesn’t automatically push up the price for the other competitors, but you would think this is part of how the whole process works? Google also states a quite simple reason as to why their ads always appear either high up, or at the top – simply because they are willing to pay more and their ads are of better quality.
There appears to be no direct conflict of interest as we have already mentioned, but if this same thing were happening with respect to organic search results rather than paid adverts, then this might be a totally thing altogether. One thing Google does say about this issue which seems to make sense, is they can do this because they are such a big brand / company and have a seemingly endless budget verses other ‘normal’ competitors. Again, this is perfectly true and legit, but does raise monopoly issues which have been discussed in previous postings. It would seem a bit hard and paradoxical to get ones’ head around, that Adwords are for Google’s benefit rather than anyone and everyone else. However, this is something that can be argued to the contrary also – competitors do have budgets and they do appear in ad results aswell.
This issue isn’t necessarily about what is right or wrong (and certainly not in the literal or legal sense of the matter.) It is more about principles underpinning the concept. Remember that Google is a business too, and shouldn’t it be allowed to function at and to its best if it has the capacity and resources to be able to do so – just like anyone else?
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