March 24, 2012

Temporary reduction in the breadth of Foundem's service

Please note that we have temporarily suspended our flight, hotel, rental car, property, job, book, music, motorbike gear, and DVD search domains.

In common with many of the World's leading vertical search services, Foundem's traffic has been severely impacted by Google's recent "Panda" update. As a result, since the introduction of Panda to the UK in April 2011, we have struggled to maintain aspects of our service to the exacting standards that we have set ourselves. We have therefore reluctantly taken the decision to temporarily suspend some of our search verticals, pending the outcome of the European Commission's antitrust investigation into Google.

So far, few have made the connection between Panda and the EC's investigation. But Panda isn't just relevant to this investigation; it is central to it. Despite being widely touted as an attack on content farms—which are almost the polar opposite of vertical search services—Panda's assortment of changes included an aggressive escalation of the vertical-search-targeted, "lack of original content" penalties described in Foundem's EC Complaint. Prior to Panda, Google's anticompetitive demotions of rival vertical search services were primarily reserved for emerging, and therefore still largely unknown, competitors. With Panda, Google has significantly upped the ante by also penalising many established vertical search players.

We are confident that the European Commission will uphold our contention that any Google policy that systematically demotes rival vertical search services for the "lack of original content" that is inherent to all search services (including Google's own) is unacceptable for a company in Google's dominant market position.

With a Statement of Objections (a preliminary guilty verdict) from the European Commission now expected imminently, it is vital to devise practical and robust remedies that will restore the level playing field required for innovation and competition to thrive. We look forward to actively participating in this crucial process.

If you are interested in learning more about these important issues or about the various antitrust investigations into Google currently underway around the world, please visit our Search Neutrality campaign site at www.searchneutrality.org.

We thank our users for their continued support, understanding, and patience.


Search Neutrality

 








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