ACADEMIC ARTICLE SUMMARY
Internet Nondiscrimination Principles: Commercial Ethics for Carriers and Search Engines
Article Source: University of Chicago Legal Forum, pg. 263, 2008
Publication Date:Time to Read: 2 minute read
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This article asks if search engines should observe certain rules to maintain their integrity and transparency.
A dominant search engine like Google should be required to reveal how it ranks the results of its searches to avoid stealth marketing and problems with competition.
- Net neutrality advocates have argued that net neutrality rules are important to stop broadband carriers from unfairly blocking or delaying some Internet traffic in order to harm competitors.
- Those who argue that no regulation is needed fail to realize how complex network management issues are.
- A dominant company can harm competition even if it is not a supplier of network infrastructure like a broadband carrier, but an intermediary.
- Microsoft was said to impede competition among providers of different browsers.
- Google is the dominant search engine and is in a position to harm consumers, libraries, and others who rely on their services.
- Google keeps the method it uses to rank the results of a search secret. If the method were known, web sites would know exactly how to manipulate their content to get a higher rank, gaming the system.
- The secrecy of Google’s search method can harm consumers because it might be used for “stealth marketing.” Google could make some search results more prominent than others in exchange for a share of profits. Stealth marketing has always been considered harmful.
- The FTC has said that search engines should keep paid results separate from other search results, but they should be more aggressive in regulating Google.