Google faces new charges in EU antitrust case

One of the three companies that had filed antitrust complaints against Google with the European Union broadened their list of accusations on Tuesday, sending a supplementary complaint to the European Commission's antitrust regulators regarding AdSense.

French company 1plusV claims that Google's advertising system was blocking one of its sites -- legal search engine Ejustice.fr -- from competing in the market place. From 2006 to 2010, Google prevented vertical search engines from using the AdSense product on their sites.

AdSense provides targeted ads based on the content of the page that they are located on. Obviously, a vertical search engine would be perfect for this type of advertising, as it is much more likely the ad will be relevant, and thus more likely it will be clicked. In the end, this means more ad revenue for the participating site.

While Google has since reversed the decision, its move prevented competition in the search space. When companies complained, 1plusV alleges that Google removed them from search results. The Mountain View, Calif. company denies this, saying its move to remove these sites had more to do with violations on how to be included in Google's results.

The way Ejustice and other themed search sites are set up causes results within Google to lead to another page full of search results, a violation of Google's terms of listing. However, these sites argue that the reappearance of their content in Google results following the opening of the EC inquiry indicates the move was "arbitrary."

The EC plans to take no immediate action on 1plusV's complaint, saying it would let Google respond first. However, it continues to investigate charges by the company and others leveled last November. It did not share the progress of the investigation on those fronts.

A Google spokesperson would not comment on the charges but said Google was "working closely with the European Commission" to make sure the agency understood the "many different parts" of its business, although admitted the search engine could always make improvements.

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