Google’s proposal to create a level playing field for price-comparison shopping rivals to stave off fresh fines has not led to more traffic for its competitors and Dropbox updates its third-party extensions with Gmail, Outlook, WhatsApp and more.
“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan
In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent digital marketing news:
- European antitrust chief says Google’s auction-based shopping remedy is not working
- New Dropbox extensions for Gmail, Outlook, WhatsApp and more
Let’s dig in.
The EU May Require Google To Make Additional Changes to the SERP
European antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said that Google’s efforts to drive more traffic to European comparison shopping rivals have essentially failed. This is a reversal of her previous, qualified support for the changes Google made in response to a European Commission finding in 2017 that the company had “abused its market position” in shopping search.
In 2017, the EU determined an antitrust penalty of nearly €2.4 billion which Google appealed, of course. In addition to the fine, Google was required to provide “equal treatment” to European shopping comparison competitors on the SERP. That turned out to be a sort of a ‘remedy’ involving bidding for placement in Product Listing Ads (PLAs). It required Google Shopping itself to compete for placement with the comparison engines with no dedicated or reserved slots.
Google Shopping – newly operating as a stand-alone business unit – was also required to maintain a profit (20%) and submit to regular review by the European Commission to ensure it’s competing on equal terms.
Complaints from Google’s shopping competitors.
While Vestager offered early support for the approach and was encouraged by initial results, the comparison engines vociferously complained about what they perceived to be ongoing unfairness. Among their criticisms were the following:
- There was no material difference between the auction and the previous system – which violated EU antitrust rules.
- Google’s pledge to operate profitably is “just meaningless internal accounting, paid from one Google pocket into another.”
- The auction forces comparison engines to “bid away the vast majority of their profit.”
- Users who click on comparisons engines’ PLAs go directly to merchant sites and not the comparison engines themselves. They have no opportunity to “derive value from the process.”
- Consumers are harmed because the auction-based approach is not based on relevance and “all but eradicating” a “thriving online comparison shopping market in Europe.”
Fourteen comparison engines that signed a November 22, 2018 letter to Vestager urged “the Commission to enforce its Prohibition Decision by rejecting Google’s non-compliant ‘compliance mechanism’ and demanding an effective remedy that adheres to the principle of equal treatment set out in the Decision.”
Furthermore, at least one competitor in Europe is asking the EU Commission to initiate a “non-compliance case” that could bring further penalties to Google.
Why should you care?
If the appeal Google filed is resolved in their favour, the company may get the last laugh. However, the timing of any decision could still be far away. Nevertheless, in the immediate future, Commissioner Vestager could seek further changes in the SERP to help drive meaningful traffic to shopping comparison sites.
If google’s auction-based shopping solution is rejected that casts a shadow over another antitrust remedy – search choice for Android users. Google was planning to use an auction to determine which search sites to present to Android users as their potential default engine. The three highest bidders were to appear along with Google. However, that approach could be undermined by the determination that the PLA shopping comparison auction is fundamentally unfair.
Dropbox’s New Extensions For Gmail, Outlook, WhatsApp and more
Dropbox announced an expansion of its third-party extensions to help customers more easily get work done.
Dropbox App extensions debuted almost exactly a year ago with partners such as Adobe, DocuSign, Autodesk, Vimeo and more. This new update will take the company’s third-party integrations and possibilities even further than before. Take a look:
- Add files to messages. Easily send work to Gmail, Workplace by Facebook. Microsoft Teams, Outlook, WhatsApp and LineWorks.
- Capture feedback and distribute videos. Use Vimeo to streamline your feedback workflow and distribute videos.
- Edit and publish videos. Use Clipchamp or WeVideo to edit, create and publish videos.
- Create designs. Bring media files into Canva to design and create beautiful graphics, infographics and pretty much everything you can think of and saved the finished work back to Dropbox.
- Submit expenses. Simplify expense tracking by sending scanned receipts directly to FreshBooks.
- Manage document workflows. Track file interactions with DocSend and sign and notarize documents with Notarize.
All of these new extensions are live today for all Dropbox plans in both the app and Dropbox.com
You can read more about all available Dropbox Extensions here.
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