According to a research conducted by The Wall Street Journal, around 91% of the top ad slots in the firm’s search results pages are occupied by Google’s advertisements. For study of the advertising data, 25,000 pages were analyzed by the firm. It included 1,000 results for 25 search terms involving laptops, speakers, watches, and smoke detectors on Google.
The maximum results were occupied by the products sold by Google’s parent company Alphabet. Google stated that it follows strict rules for buying its advertising place. All the firm’s marketing policies are consciously designed so that the ad pricing cannot be arbitrated. According to the spokesperson, all the bids are excluded from the auction while determining the price paid by the rest of the advertisers and in order to govern the use of the ad products, they have strict rules and processes.
Google’s Chromebook was among the top results that were found in all 1,000 searches regarding the term “laptop”. For “watches” 98% of searches resulted in links to Android smart watch retailers appearing on top. Chromebook and Android are both owned by Alphabet. Nest’s alarm products were featured highly in searches for smoke detectors. After the results were shared with Google most of the ads disappeared and other brands including Apple, Lenovo, and Apollo now appear dominating the top result pages.
According to Daniel Knapp who is a senior analyst at IHS, Google is placing its ads above others because it might be willing to pay more than others. It may also be due to the fact that it has a better targeting data for identifying users. The method of experiment by the Wall Street Journal can be flawed that lead to such results. He stated that the advertising auctions are automated and run by algorithms.
He further stated that while living in an algorithmic world, how can these algorithms possibly take decisions on humans’ part and how is that even misrepresenting markets and society as a whole. This actually indicates for other fundamental concerns.