Small businesses now get more of a say when it comes to Google. Last week, the search giant agreed to alter some of its business practices, including its policy on search advertising, in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
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The results of the settlement can be summed up in two points, according to Greg Ferenstein, policy writer for TechCrunch. One, that Google is not a monopoly, and two, that it doesn’t unfairly favor its own products.
Also under the settlement agreement, businesses can opt out so they do not show up on sites like Google Products. They will still appear in standard Google searches. This change is thanks to the FTC’s request that Google restrain from “misappropriating online content” from sites like shopping and travel for use in its own search.
Small companies may consider taking their name off Google’s product pages, in order to promote hits to their own Website instead, however Ferenstein said it is unlikely that would be the end result.
“It would be silly to opt out of Google,” Ferenstein said. “Some people and whole countries, like France and Brazil, are protesting Google’s snippets of data on search results pages. But the alternative is non-existence on the Internet.”
Michael Steinhart, editor in chief of the ITPro.com, said small companies would likely not even be impacted by the opt-out portion of the ruling, which found Google was not acting in an anticompetitive manner.
“Unless we are talking about a small company that specifically opted out of being listed on Google Maps, for example, and was then unfairly penalized by being scrubbed from Google’s general search results. This [settlement] would be good news for them,” Steinhart said in an e-mail message.
And for a small business, most likely you want all the Google love you can get.
“Unless you really have a philosophical disagreement with Google,” Ferenstein said, there wouldn’t be any reason to opt out.