May 14, 2010

Google: Agreement With Italian Antitrust Authority

Following an investigation by the Italian Antitrust authority, Google agreed to change its terms of use regarding AdSense and to allow more transparency in the rev-sharing with publishers and content providers.  Also, considering the alleged abuse of dominant position with respect to Google News, Google agreed to maintain separation between News and Search indexing.  Accordingly, Google will keep deploying separate set of crawls to feed into its News aggregator.  As a result, publishers and content providers will be able to pull-out of Google News while keeping their visibility intact on Google Search.
Here is the document with the details (in Italian...). 
In fact, I believe that this agreement underscores the powerful connection between Google's two products AdSense and Google News.  Another way to look at the issue could be considering the ongoing negotiation between Google and content providers as to achieve a fair rev-sharing deal with respect to Google News ads revenues.
Probably, AdSense was not considered a viable solution anymore, given the little transparency allowed by Google's trade secrets.  However, it seems that Google and the newspaper industry are moving forward and coordinating their business models since Google is now willing to disclose information about the revenues generated out of the publishers' content.
I have the feeling that more open policies in AdSense may also cast some light on the existence of price discriminations amongst different kinds of content and content providers (i.e. AdSense affiliates).  If this is the case, the ads market will surely benefit from it and even the "little guys" may be able to cut better deals for their content. 

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