Google noted it competed with other general search sites such as Microsoft’s Bing, DuckDuckGo and specialised services such as WebJet, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook and True Local.
The ACCC’s conclusion that Google was not constrained by other forms of advertising was false, argued the tech giant, saying it again faced tough competition across the advertising market, with search being part of that market.
“Advertisers allocate their advertising budgets amongst a wide spectrum of outlets such as TV, radio, outdoor, print media and digital. Google must compete with players from all of these formats for its share of the overall advertising budget,” it said.
No proof of favouring
Google said the argument of market power in news media referrals was a moot point because it did not compete in that market.
“The traffic news sites receive from Google is undoubtedly valuable to those sites, but our focus is not on referring traffic to those sites. Rather, our focus is on providing relevant search results to users, which we must do to attract the users who in turn click on news publisher sites,” said the search and advertising giant
“As such, the discussion of ‘market power’ in ‘news media referral services’ is beside the point given that we are incentivised by our users to provide high-quality referrals via search results.”
Google said the ACCC’s report did not prove new regulatory oversight was needed to address fears of anti-competitive behaviour or how algorithms ranked news content.
“First, preliminary recommendation 4 calls for regulation to address potential anti-competitive favouring by digital platforms, but the preliminary report provides no evidence of such favouring by Google. Any investigation of claims of anti-competitive favouring would be possible under existing laws and regulations,” Google said.
“Second, preliminary recommendation 5 calls for regulation to address digital platforms’ news ranking and display practices, yet the preliminary report makes no finding that Google’s news ranking practices are harmful to users, news publishers, or the quality of journalistic content generally.
“To the contrary, the preliminary report highlights the quality and relevance of Google’s news results. To the extent the ACCC is concerned about support for public-interest journalism in Australia generally, there are other ways to address those concerns; regulation of ranking is not the answer.”