, comparateur de prix non biaisé

Google influence on the Competition Authorities in the price comparison case since 2010 is very bad for Europe

Frédéric LAMBERT

European Parliament, Chair and Vice of the committees

OCTOBER 17, 2019

Object: Google influence on the Competition Authorities in the price comparison case since 2010 is very bad for Europe.

Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

I would like to apologize for the length of this letter but there is no doubt that the resolution of the Google case on the abuse of dominance over the price comparison market will shape the future of the internet in Europe. The European parliament must know what happen behind the official communication. Following the hearing of Mme Vestager, and after the ethic concern from Mme Goulard, I would like to make sure that the European authorities and the European parliament are aware of the intense Google’s lobbying effort in Bruxelles toward the Competition team under Vestager and the direct effect of this lobbying on the price comparison case, that is still not closed, 10 years after it started. This case is taking so long because of Google’s influence on the European authorities.
We don’t want the Digital age of Mme Vestager for the next 5 years to be again under the influence and domination of Google. We don’t agree at all with what the Competition authorities did in this Comparison case this past 10 years and will expose it to the European parliament and European citizen, so they can make their own judgment. We want also the new commission to act fast, after 10 years now …

Here are the facts:
Google Lobbying in Bruxelles has seen a 500% raise since 2011 according to the Lobbyfacts data

In parallel, Google faces an investigation opened in late 2010 for abuse of dominance in the price comparison market, which resulted in 2017 with a 2.4 Billion euros fine and the obligation to stop abusing his dominance. Google faces a fine of 5% of his turnover a day if it doesn’t comply (Google had 228 meetings with the Commission since 2011. had one in 2018).
An extraordinary thing happened: for the first time of its history, the European Antitrust in Bruxelles let the culprit decide alone what will be the compliance mechanism! What a gift to Google! Google implemented in October 2017 a solution which is simply an Ad System, a sort of Super Adword with pictures: The competitors, Google’s victims, must buy the unfair loss of organic traffic on Google, the culprit of the Abuse! In Mme Vestager and Google compliance mechanism, the victims must buy at the culprit’s shop to survive… The victims have to buy at the robber shop! Can you believe it? For the first time, the compliance mechanism achievement makes the culprit earn more money at the expense of the victims. The intense lobbying of Google since 2011 in Bruxelles makes the illusion of compliance, and the intense lobbying of Google makes the Competition Authorities speak the same way Google lawyers and Lobbyist talk: « Google treats Google Shopping the same way Google treats its competitors » (Translation: has the right to buy click on Google to make up the lost organic traffic it had before the abuse)

It has been 2 years now that we have some sort of political cant from Mme Vestager: she has praised Google two or three times in 2 years for his « progress » because now there is 35% of its competitors in the “Shopping Box », then 65% a year after… Google’s competitor’s money is going back to Google, the culprit of the abuse. Google will recoup his 2.4 billion fines from the competitors, the victims! And never, never, never a word against Google on his real abuse: the demonetization in Google Search, where Google dominate more than 90% in Europe.

In 2018, in the same time that Mme vestager was praising Google for allowing his competitors to buy Ads on Google , we send her and the Competition team letters warning them that Google was still demonetizing in his Search After the June 2017 condemnation for Abuse : Nothing, nothing at all happen, not any warning to Google. Imagine a child murderer who his caught for murderer and sentence but who appeals : imagine that this murderer keeps killing children after his sentencing because the judge says  » he has appeal, he can keep murdering children until the appeal his look at, in 3 years  » ??? This is what is happening in the European Commission, that is what happens under Mme Vestager watch.

Google, by pouring millions towards the competition team, was able to make taboo the simple, immediate solution: stop demonetizing his competitors in his search.

I afraid to say that Mme Vestager was very fast to say that Google compliance mechanism was heading « In the good direction », even before they began to implement it in October 2017! Google has transformed its price comparison engine into an Ad System and the price comparison engine competitors, victims of Google, must become an Ad system to survive.

We thought at that Google will reopen the price comparison market in October 2017, after the 2.4 billion fine but no … didn’t want to sell its soul, to change its business model to the detriment of the consumers and online shops, and closed its website operations in October 2018, one year after the Google mechanism implementation.

Our business model is not the same that the one Google want to impose on everybody: we are not able to buy traffic: no internet pure player can live on traffic it has to buy: Mme Vestager knows that but praises Google compliance mechanism! the competition team knows that real price comparison engine cannot live under this mechanism, but they don’t care, they only listen to big pocket lobbyist.

Google is transforming the Internet into an Ad system, is that the Digital Age Mme Vestager wants? A digital Age where Google influence the commission at the expanse of the European consumer? Should we give Google the power to destroy any internet sector and then offer the companies who lost their business because of Google abuse of dominance to buy advertising on Google?

Here are Google actions to push his interest in Europe with a blind eye from the European Competition Authorities:
The French sites and Kelkoo, leaders in traffic in France years ago, have been bought by an English investment fund . They are now both own by the same very discreet English fund and they are both the main European participant into Google’s compliance mechanism. Google and the Competition team take this example of collaboration to show how the compliance mechanism works well: don’t fall in this trap: the English fund doesn’t care about the European consumers: Google has a secret agreement with this fund to make illusion. It’s a scam, Mme Vestager knows it and she is doing nothing against Google. Leguide and Kelkoo are not price comparison engines anymore but Clicks re-sellers (Leguide and Kelkoo in France lost the right to be call « price comparison engine » by the French DGCCRF in 2007 because of their business model, which is the same as Google Shopping!)

A year ago, suddenly, a lot of false price comparison engines began to appear in Google compliance « Shopping Box »: Google was giving incentives to Ad Companies, and even gave templates to create false participants in the Google Box in 30 minutes! Mme Vestager knows it, but says nothing, and praises again Google.

Google intense lobbying has a direct and noticeable effect you can all see in the past discourse or attitude of the antitrust team: they all speak now of « Shopping” instead of « Price comparison engine« . This is the most important failure of the actual competition team: to let Google makes it a « Shopping » problem when it’s a “Price comparison engine” problem. This distinction is fundamental in Google defense: they want to be able to say that Amazon is their competitor, not or Idealo or other real price comparison engine: they have this argument in the Appeal and if the Judges in the Appeal court goes with Google market
definition, the commission will lose the appeal. It’s important to use the real word and not to fall into Google’s trap again. The Competition team seems to support Google defense points since Mr. Almunia…

The competition team has embrace Google talking point most important talking point: this is a victory for Google but not for the European consumer! This is why Google executives decided to make frenetic lobbying in Bruxelles since 2011 … Where does the 7 millions of lobbying from Google in 2017 shown in Lobbyfacts alone in Bruxelles went to? how much do you expect it is in 2019?

If you listen to the words use by the competition authorities in the Price Comparison case, you will see that they only use Google Talking points: this is the results of the money Google is pouring in Bruxelles, not the fundamental interest of the European citizen who wants to use real unbiased price comparison engine, like 10 years ago…

Please European representative, don’ t let Google win in Europe! Today, two years after Google’s fine, Google dominates more than ever, and Google has pursued his demonetization of its competitors and the competition Authorities praises Google: there is something wrong. Google has to much influence on the European authorities.

What is the solution?
The 2017 decision against Google gives the commission the right to level another fine on Google for non-compliance (5% of the Global turnover a day): that makes 10 Billion today, 15 Billions in a few months…
It looks like Google doesn’t want to put back his competitors ( vertical like him) in its Search, so the only compliant solution in this case is to order Google to sell or shut down Google Shopping in 3 months.

10 Billion fines for non-compliance from 2017 to 2019 and Google ordered to shut down or sell Google Shopping. it’s very simple to implement!

Here are Google talking’s points that the Competition Authorities repeats like parrots:
« The market is changing fast « : does that mean that European Consumers prefer a Google Ad System rather than a real price comparison engine? That is a very common talking point that Mme Vestager always put forward (to help Google?) and its false. People prefer unbiased price comparison engines, but they can’t reach them anymore.

 » Google treats Google Shopping the same way it treats the competitors »: that means that who has never bought Clicks for traffics for 20 years now must buy clicks on Google. When the Competition team uses this talking point, they forget that Google has transformed in the meantime it’s free comparison engine into an Ad system. They don t want to talk about it … they are under Google influence.

I am ready to testify about this case in front of European representatives to demonstrate how the actual compliance mechanism is a gift to Google ad not compliant at all. The European consumer is totally forgotten by the commission, Google real competitors are forgotten by the commission, only Google counts for the commission and this must stop immediately. Google favoritism must stop immediately for the welfare of the European consumers.

Do you want a Google European Digital Age with Google deciding everything everywhere and manipulating the Antitrust Authorities with the money it earns by its abuses? Please Ask Mme
Vestager to act now against Google ultra-dominance, it has been 10 years now because you let him decide his own compliance: Google has to be fined 10 billions and ordered to shut down GoogleShopping.
Sincerely yours,
Frédéric LAMBERT
Gérant d’ Comparateur de prix non biaisé 1998 – 2018

More infos: For the first time in Antitrust history, the victims have to pay the culprit … Google price comparison Case in EU: pouring big money works!

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