Google proposes a new version of ‘rival links’ to remedy shopping search antitrust violation


In June, Google was fined $2.7 billion by the EU for “favoring its own content” in shopping search results. The company is reportedly appealing the decision.

In the interim, Google has been compelled to propose an alternative presentation of search results to remedy and respond to the EU decision. According to Reuters, the company “has offered to display rival shopping comparison sites via an auction.”

While we haven’t seen any specific details of Google’s proposal, this approach is conceptually similar to the “rival links” proposal that was proposed and failed to settle the antitrust dispute before the formal Statement of Objections (antitrust case) was filed in 2015.

Reuters reports the Google proposal would permit alternative providers of shopping content “to bid for any spot in its shopping section known as Product Listing Ads . . .  [and Google would also] set a floor price with its own bids minus operating costs.”

Given that the the earlier “rival links” proposal was met with objections from European shopping sites and Google competitors, it’s highly uncertain that this Google proposal will pass muster.


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