Alphabet’s Google has been pushing the advertisements for the company’s own products and affiliate products into the prime online real estate, raising a conflict with other advertisers. This has recently been leaked by the investigation by the Wall Street Journal.
In more than 25,000 searches of the terms related to watches, speakers, and phones, the products sold by Google and its sister companies occupied the top ad sport, in 9 out of 10 results.
As a matter of fact, 43% of the test searches, both of the top two ad spaces were occupied by the Google-affiliated products.
Fortune reported in the article,
The analysis, which the Journal said was run by a specialist search ad analytics firm, apparently blocked search history that might have influenced the results. It highlights a potential conflict of interest in an industry worth $187 billion, the newspaper reported.
Google, just like Microsoft and Facebook are among the largest sellers of online ad space, and also one of the largest buyers. To market its array of products, including Pixel Phones and Chromebooks, Google has been paying itself for the advertising spaces.
There is, however, nothing unusual about the media purchasing on the self-owned platforms. Unlike newspaper and television, where there is a fixed price for the advertisement, Google auctions ad spaces, calculated by the internal algorithm. Even though Google strictly says that its own presence does not affect the auction in any way, but it has been a direct competitor to the other advertisers, creating a negative market in online ad-space.
A spokesman for the company told the WSJ that its marketing program has been consciously and carefully designed so as to not influence other advertisers.
Fortune.com has been digging deep into the matter and has reported in its recent article,
Google did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from Fortune on Friday.Soon after the WSJ shared its findings with Google on Dec. 15, the paper reports, many of the ads disappeared. A subsequent analysis carried out a week later showed Google or Nest ads taking the top spot in less than 20% of searches.
Seems like WSJ work has done wonders for other advertisers but this has definitely raised a speculation whether online marketing is now as trustworthy as before.