Google offers to auction off shopping ad spots to rivals – CNET

EU and Technology

The EU and Google’s troubles aren’t over yet.

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Google could soon be offering its rivals the opportunities to bid for ad spots in its shopping sections, Reuters reported on Monday.

The offer is being made to appease the EU, said Reuters, citing four people familiar with the matter, due to an ongoing antitrust case against Google, in which the European Commission accuses the company of favoring and promoting its own shopping services in search.

The EU slapped Google with a 2.4 billion euro ($2.87 bn) fine in June for not rectifying the problem, which it claims is unfair to rivals and denies consumers a choice of different shopping services. By putting its own services front and center in what are known as the “Product Listing Ads”, it knows shoppers are more likely to click on them, the Commission argues.

It ordered Google to treat rivals and its own service equally. Google is appealing the EU’s ruling.

The search giant made a similar offer to try and settle the case three years ago, except it insisted on reserving the top two ad spots for itself — something the EU did not go for. Now it is proposing that all spots are up for grabs, although is insisting that it set the floor price with its own bids.

Google did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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