How Digital Marketing is Changing Law
Google, the name of an organization, has quickly become the verb synonymous with “to search for information on the Internet”.
And, in searching for information on the Internet, Google ranking became a type of autonomy for truth in advertising. If a website’s information garnered pole position on Google, it was assumed the information was better than that which did not make the first 10 entities listed.
Eventually, dishonest practices such as keyword stuffing were exposed to be the real reason many pages were making their way to high rankings in Google Search.
A new method of determining hierarchy in the search engines, labeled Search Engine Optimization, was introduced to those marketing online.
New rules, meant to protect The Little Guy, were also supposedly geared toward improving the quality of content while providing legitimate information that pointed to authorized sources. Content providers for website pages and online marketing soon learned how to be rewarded and avoid being penalized by the now giant platform, Google.
There are different types of SEO, and structures and hierarchies within SEO.
Similarly, there are different types of Google Ads, and structures and hierarchies within those.
In this document, Google provides tips and information regarding SEO practices, how you can learn to apply SEO, and the services skilled SEO providers offer. The reader is also assured that, “Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results…”
In another document, Google explains how to Get Your Ads Above Google Search Results with improved CTR (click through rate) and Assets.
Obviously, free ‘organic’ ranking within Google Search is one thing. Paid Ads are another.
FTC AND DOJ
The Federal Trade Commission, founded September 26, 1914, is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC shares jurisdiction over federal civil antitrust enforcement with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Wikipedia
The FTC, founded by Woodrow Wilson, has the ability to implement trade regulation rules defining with specificity acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive and the Commission can publish reports and make legislative recommendations to Congress about issues affecting the economy.
Interestingly, the STATES often have resources and the ability to make more of an impact or expedite the process of protecting their residents and aiding consumers who are dealing with fraud and loss.
The digital age has presented new challenges for the FTC in protecting consumers and providing assistance with the deep threats to our economy, as well as U.S. democracy.
In 2020, a Cnet.com article reported: In 2013, the US Federal Trade Commission wrapped up a two-year investigation into Google after allegations of biased search results. The agency concluded that Google hadn’t violated antitrust laws.
Highlights From The 2023 DOJ LIVE Event:
Tim Wu: “There have been times when the antitrust laws have gone into a quiet mode.”
Jonathan Kanter: “Our vision, first and foremost, is to protect pursuit of competition. The public demands competition. Opportunity and competition go hand in hand.
We have more open investigations and litigation under section 2 of the Sherman Act (criminal monopolization) than ever before.
We need to give people the chance to compete. It’s about making sure that everybody is invited to compete in the game.”
Kanter, The Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Antitrust Division also addressed the challenging new technologies – including AI – about which he said, “The opportunities, just like the challenges, are boundless. And that’s a good thing, but also can be used for a force of good and for bad.”
US vs Google 2023
The DOJ filed a second antitrust lawsuit against Google over the company’s advertising market practices in 2023. The lawsuit has been described as the most important federal antitrust lawsuit since United States v. Microsoft Corp. was launched in 1998.
The case is expected to go to trial in September 2023.
The Justice Department and the states, which include New York and California, said Google had built its monopoly by buying up crucial tools that delivered ads to publishers. As a result, advertisers paid more for space on the internet and publishers made less money, as Google took its cut, they said. https://www.wsj.com/ (report dated Jan 24, 2023)
The NYT reported on Jan 26, 2023: The Department of Justice is seeking to break up part of Google’s digital advertising business. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the government says the tech giant has taken actions that ‘severely weaken, if not destroy competition in the ad tech industry.
You’ve probably seen articles surrounding the reports that Google collects a frightening amount of data about you.
In 2022, an article on CNET by Dale Smith offered: “There’s a way to delete the frightening amount of data Google has on you. We’ll walk you through how to delete the information Google collects about you, from what you search to your location.”
A monopoly is a market structure where a single seller or producer assumes a dominant position in an industry or a sector. Monopolies are discouraged in free-market economies as they stifle competition and limit substitutes for consumers. In the United States, antitrust legislation is in place to restrict monopolies, ensuring that one business cannot control a market and use that control to exploit its customers.
Monopolization requires (1) monopoly power and (2) the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident.
The antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power. Most Section 2 claims involve the conduct of a firm with a leading market position, although Section 2 of the Sherman Act also bans attempts to monopolize and conspiracies to monopolize.
Courts do not require a literal monopoly before applying rules for single firm conduct; that term is used as shorthand for a firm with significant and durable market power — that is, the long term ability to raise price or exclude competitors.
THE LITTLE GUY
There are those who are trying to make money online legitimately.
There will always be the ‘bad guys’ who won’t adhere to the regulations and rules.
As a result, there are, some would say necessarily, ‘The Enforcers’; those entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing and managing – of governing – the use and misuse of current laws.
Ultimately, who will ensure that The Enforcers don’t monopolize how online business is done?
It may be worthwhile to remember that the David and Goliath saga was decided by the little guy – and the giant fell.