Twenty-nine MPs have signed an Early Day Motion outlining their concerns. It urges ministers to “consider measures to prevent the monopolisation of the online search advertising market”. Google has increased its share of the market to almost 90 per cent in the last year. The motion, tabled on February 11, has the support of 25 Labour MPs, one Conservative MP, two Liberal Democrats, and a member of the Scottish National Party. “A monopoly is unhealthy,” said Andrew Dismore, one of the Labour MPs backing the motion. “Google cornering the market is not good for competitive pricing or quality of service. The Government should recognise that there is a potential problem.
“The Competition Commission should draw up recommendations to protect consumers – in this case, the people buying the advertising.” Google, however, has defended its position, arguing that market dominance does not necessarily constitute a monopoly. It has also emphasised that Google does not set the price of online adverts, which are determined by auction and therefore driven by the market. “On the internet, competition is literally one click away,” said a Google spokesman. “We have to prove our value to our users and advertisers every day, because if they’re unhappy with Google, there’s nothing preventing them from switching to another search engine.” A recent report from industry analysts Forrester Research found that 55 per cent of internet users use more than one search engine every week. It’s the second time in a month that Google has been the subject of an Early Day Motion. Around 70 MPs backed another motion criticising Google’s decision to run online adverts for gambling websites despite the economic crisis. ( www.telegraph.co.uk )