Google Rivals Are Readying an Antitrust Assault in D.C.

Published on September 20, 2011
by Amir Efrati and Thomas Catan

Three Internet companies — Nextag Inc., Yelp Inc. and Expedia Inc. — are gearing up to attack Google Inc. on Capitol Hill, claiming the company is taking new profits for itself by unfairly punishing them on its search engine.

In a preview of Wednesday’s Senate antitrust hearing on whether Google abuses its dominance on the Web, representatives of the sites — which help people search for information on consumer goods, local businesses and airline flights — said in interviews this week that Google has increasingly sought to drive people who use its search engine to its own specialized sites that compete with theirs.

One of the companies, Nextag, is going even further. Chief Executive Jeff Katz said Google also prevents his company’s site from bidding on the prominent ads that show up next to search results for products such as running shoes. Instead, he said, because Google sees his company as a threat, Nextag can only bid to appear in text ads lower down on the results page, limiting its exposure to consumers.

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