In a highly significant development, BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation has published a letter that it sent to the European Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia. BEUC’s letter marks itself as the first consumer focused organisation to publically address issues of competition in the online marketplace.
The letter itself expresses the organisation’s concerns that Google may have abused its dominant position in the online search marketplace, specifically that the company may have directed “users to its own services and secondly to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services”.
The letter continues to state that “Given its role as gatekeeper to the internet, Google is in a unique position to restrict access to its competitors and direct traffic to its own services” and that it “regularly places its own services at or near the top of search results”. BEUC continues to note that these claims, “are confirmed by the findings of the SearchMetrics study”.
ICOMP welcomes this letter and joins BEUC in urging “the European Commission to take a strong stance and protect the principle of search neutrality according to which search results should be impartial and based solely on their relevance to consumers’ queries”.
The ICOMP Secretariat