BEUC urges the European Commission to scrutinise the online marketplace

In a highly significant development, BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation has published a letter that it sent to the European Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia. BEUC’s letter marks itself as the first consumer focused organisation to publically address issues of competition in the online marketplace.

The letter itself expresses the organisation’s concerns that Google may have abused its dominant position in the online search marketplace, specifically that the company may have directed “users to its own services and secondly to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services”.

The letter continues to state that “Given its role as gatekeeper to the internet, Google is in a unique position to restrict access to its competitors and direct traffic to its own services” and that it “regularly places its own services at or near the top of search results”. BEUC continues to note that these claims, “are confirmed by the findings of the SearchMetrics study”.

BEUC represents 42 independent national consumer organisations from across 31 European countries (including from EEA and applicant countries). This is the latest voice to publicly express opposition to Google’s practices. In recent weeks both CNIL and the Article 29 Working Party have penned letters expressing concern at the introduction of a new privacy policy.

ICOMP welcomes this letter and joins BEUC in urging “the European Commission to take a strong stance and protect the principle of search neutrality according to which search results should be impartial and based solely on their relevance to consumers’ queries”.



The ICOMP Secretariat