25 March 2015 – Global Marketing News
Is Google abusing its market dominance?
A leaked report from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revealed that commissioners had serious concerns over whether Google was abusing its dominance in the search market to manipulate results and damage competitors.
The report contains concerns that Google was deploying tactics to boost the ranking of its own services, whilst pushing rival services offered by competitors further down the search results by demoting the value of their links or simply refusing to list them altogether.
The report also claimed that Google had stolen data from websites such as Yelp and Amazon to help rank items in the search results, a practice which is illegal.
When these websites approached Google to ask them to stop stealing their data, Google is alleged to have threatened to remove the sites from the search results.
The report also raised concerns over the fact that advertisers using Google AdWords were blocked from using any data gathered on rival ad platforms such as those offered by Yahoo or Bing.
The FTC had made recommendations that Google be sued over unfair competition laws for these alleged behaviours, but ultimately no action was taken as Google promised to make changes to resolve the issues.
However, the report comes as EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager makes a decision on whether or not to take legal action against Google in the EU courts over an ongoing anti-trust investigation.
A spokesperson from the Center for Digital Democracy has commented on the leaked FTC report and its potential impact on the EU investigation, saying: “It has helped make the EU’s current investigation of Google more important, and will undoubtedly place new pressure on their regulators to do what our FTC failed to address.”
Sohu plans to spin off search engine Sogou
The Chinese internet company Sohu is planning to spin off its search engine Sogou in an initial public offering in the US, as reported by Bloomberg.
It hopes that Sogou will exceed 3 billion US dollars in valuation, and plans to start selling shares later this year.
Sogou is the third most popular search engine in China, with around 7% of the search market share, behind Qihoo which has around 17% share and Baidu which leads the field with 75%.
Spinning off Sogou would allow Sohu to raise funds it could use to gain ground on Baidu, a boost the company is in need of having lost half of its value since its peak 4 years ago.
Sogou Advertising Account Opening
Sogou is the third largest search engine in China. Although, it doesn’t get quite as much traffic as Baidu, but it often provides an even better ROI, potentially a lower cost-per-click and higher average transaction value compared to Baidu. Sogou is a great choice for businesses wanting to run localised test campaigns to identify and grow opportunities with minimal risk or expand an existing paid search campaign to a new channel. This will give you the opportunity to compare performance with other local search engines. One of our PPC specialists will open a Sogou PPC account for you. We will require your website URL and copies of your business license in order to begin this process.
Only 5% of Italian businesses sell online
Data from the OECD has revealed that only 5% of small to medium sized businesses in Italy sell online, way below the European average of 14%.
While this may be good news for international companies as there is less competition, Italian newspapers have been saying more technological innovation is needed to get more Italian businesses online.
Several reasons have been put forward to explain the low proportion of digital-savvy Italian businesses, including lack of digital skills in the population and slow broadband speeds.
Aldi allegedly plans to launch online shopping platform
The grocery store Aldi is reportedly planning to launch an online shopping platform in some European countries.
The online platform is supposedly set to launch in the UK first, where the store has a strong physical presence of 560 stores.
The ecommerce platform could then also be launched in Spain and Portugal in the future, depending on whether the British pilot was a success.
The information came to light after sources spoke to the German journal Lebensmittel Zeitung. Aldi has declined to comment on the rumours, but has confirmed that there are currently no plans to launch an online shopping platform in its home market of Germany.
Language app Lingua.ly raises $1 million, plans to expand to new languages
And finally, the language-learning website and app Lingua.ly has raised 1 million US dollars in its latest funding round.
The app, which is aimed at intermediate and advanced learners, helps improve users’ language skills through various techniques, such as recorded pronunciations, repetition games, a dictionary and by bringing up news articles containing new words so that learners’ can see words in their natural context.
Lingua.ly has suggested it will use the money to add more languages, possibly Scandinavian, Asian, Hindu and Farsi languages.
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