[UPDATED] Wall Street Journal finds Google products top Google search results 91% of the time

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Google has long been accused of showing favoritism to its own products and services in Google search results and a new report says it happens 91% of the time. Google controls what some would call “the door to the internet,” the Google search engine. It is now common to call an internet search a “Google search” and we are programmed to respond to people who are looking for something online with, “just Google it.”

UPDATE (1/20/2017 13:30EST): Google reached out to us to clarify that the WSJ article is referring to Google Ads above search results and not actual Google search results themselves. We regret the confusion and have also included Google’s official statement below.

We have consciously and carefully designed our marketing programs to not impact the ad auction. All our bids are excluded from the auction when determining the price paid by other advertisers, and we have strict rules and processes – set to tougher levels than our customers – to govern the use of our own ads products.

Original article continued:

Before Google made phones, thermostats, tablets, and laptops, they were just a simple search engine that sold ads to make ends meet. Now the company has its hands into everything from self-driving cars, robotics, and everything in between. With this consumer product growth comes the necessity to market those products to consumers and what better way than Google Ads, but some claim a conflict of interest.

A Wall Street Journal analysis found that ads for products sold by Google and its sister companies appeared in the most prominent spot in 91% of 25,000 recent searches related to such items. In 43% of the searches, the top two ads both were for Google-related products.

The analysis, run by search-ad-data firm SEMrush, examined 1,000 searches each on 25 terms, from “laptops” to “speakers” to “carbon monoxide detectors.” SEMrush ran the searches Dec. 1 on a desktop computer, blocking past web-surfing history that could influence results.

The results show how Google uses its dominant search engine to boost other parts of its business and give it an edge over competitors, which include some of its biggest advertising customers.

A Google spokesman said the company has “consciously and carefully designed” its marketing programs not to affect other advertisers.

The Wall Street Journal claims that when they tested Google search for terms like phone, laptop, and smartwatch, the results almost always returned a Google product as the top hit. This is the fine line Google must walk and from what the WSJ is reporting, Google is walking a dangerous path.

Google search
Courtesy Wall Street Journal

What do you think of the WSJ’s results? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

*link below may or may not be behind a paywall.

[button link=”http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-uses-its-search-engine-to-hawk-its-products-1484827203″ icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: WSJ[/button]

Last Updated on January 23, 2017.


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