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AdSense, nonsense: Does Google have too much power?

AdSense, nonsense: Does Google have too much power?

When Google sneezes, thousands of small businesses catch pneumonia. Does the search giant wield too much power over the online ad market?

Savage believes Google saw his site as a competitor and was jacking up its prices to put him out of business. The more likely reason is that Google didn't like Sourcetool's business model; it's an "ad arbitrage" service that acts as a middle man between Google ads and consumers. Its profit is the difference between what it pays for ads and what it collects from clicks. Along with malware and data collection sites, ad abitragers fall into Google's blacklist for "poor landing page quality." Of course, Google is still happy to take their money, it just wants a lot more of it.

I'd have more sympathy for Savage if Sourcetool wasn't so godawful. It's really just a series of nested directories, with unalphabetized listings that are often incomplete or inaccurate. It took me seven or eight clicks on average to reach an actual URL for a company. You could find them all a heckovalot easier using -- yes -- Google.

Still, thousands of online businesses are totally dependent on Google. When the search giant changes its policies or even its search algorithms, entire companies can get chewed up in the process. But the problem is not with Google's algorithms as much as its accountability --- or lack thereof. Google makes its decisions, and we either obey or suffer the consequences. Case closed.

This is one reason Microsoft and others are lobbying so heavily against the Google-Yahoo ad deal -- because it would remove the last barrier to Google world domination.

In other words, it's Google's world, we just click in it. And if you don't like it, well, go start your own Internet.


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