Saturday, February 24, 2024

Beware of Google's Monopoly

In this post, I am going to write about issues related to Google's monopoly, especially in the Search and Ad industry.

Initially, I tried taking the help of Gemini to write this post. But it refused to write against Google. So, I used chatGPT to write this blog post. It is another concern, I will write about it later.

First of all, let me tell you the reason behind coming up with this blog post. Basically, I am not that much interested in writing any public awareness posts. I am writing this post because of my personal bad experience with Google.  So, it may be slightly biased. Do your own research/analysis to get the overall neutral picture. A few months back, my 14-year-old Google Adsense account was disabled without giving any warnings or specific reason. The only message provided was "Invalid traffic". My appeal explaining myself not being involved in any invalid traffic was blindly rejected without giving any clarifications. When I contacted YouTube support, they were also not helpful.  This bad incident made me realize many things that I will explain in this post.

Though I am very angry with Google for ill-treating me in recovering my Google Adsense account, I am really thankful 
to Google for making payments without any issues in the past 14 years. Thankful to Google for providing me with Gmail, YouTube channel, Docs, and other services. Even I am writing this post from Google's Blogger. By keeping these things in mind, I am trying to write this post in a balanced manner.

In the vast digital landscape, few entities wield as much influence and control as Google. From search and advertising to email and cloud storage, Google's reach extends far and wide, making it an integral part of our online experiences. However, as Google's dominance grows, so too do concerns about the implications of its monopoly power.

Google's monopolistic tendencies have become increasingly apparent in recent years, raising alarms among consumers, regulators, and competitors alike. One of the most significant areas of concern is Google's stranglehold on the search engine market. With an estimated market share of over 90% globally, Google effectively dictates what information users encounter online. This level of control over access to information raises questions about censorship, bias, and the manipulation of search results for commercial or political gain.

Moreover, Google's dominance in online advertising is equally troubling. Through its advertising platform, Google Ads, the tech giant commands a lion's share of the digital advertising market. This dominance not only stifles competition but also raises privacy concerns, as Google collects vast amounts of user data to target ads with pinpoint accuracy. The sheer volume of data Google collects gives it unprecedented insights into consumer behavior, further solidifying its position at the top of the advertising food chain.

But Google's monopoly extends beyond search and advertising. The company's suite of products and services, including Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Drive, among others, enjoys widespread adoption and integration into daily life. While these services may offer convenience and utility, they also contribute to Google's overarching dominance and raise concerns about data privacy, security, and anticompetitive behavior.

Critics argue that Google's monopoly stifles innovation, as smaller competitors struggle to compete with the tech giant's vast resources and entrenched market position. This lack of competition could ultimately harm consumers by limiting choice, suppressing innovation, and driving up prices.

In response to mounting concerns, regulators around the world have taken aim at Google's monopoly power. Antitrust investigations and lawsuits have been launched, alleging various anti-competitive practices, including favoring its own services in search results, imposing restrictive contracts on device manufacturers, and stifling competition in digital advertising.

While Google has faced regulatory scrutiny in the past, the outcome of these latest investigations remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the growing chorus of voices calling for greater scrutiny and regulation of Google's monopoly power underscores the need for a concerted effort to promote competition, safeguard consumer choice, and protect the integrity of the digital marketplace.

In conclusion, Google's monopoly power poses significant challenges to competition, innovation, and consumer welfare. As the tech giant continues to expand its reach and influence, it is imperative that regulators, policymakers, and consumers remain vigilant and proactive in addressing the risks posed by Google's dominance. Only through concerted action can we ensure a fair, competitive, and vibrant digital ecosystem for all.

I personally realized the real danger of monopoly when I tried to find Adsense alternatives and YouTube alternatives. I put in a lot of effort and spent a lot of time searching for them. But my experience was horrible. In the case of Adsense alternatives, I shortlisted around 10 products and I implemented them one by one.  Their ad quality is very poor or payment period is very long and payment methods not supported. It raised a question like "Why we are not able to find a decent AdSense alternative?" I did more analysis to get the answer to this question. I couldn't find any valid answer. So, obviously, Google's monopoly should be the answer. If you could think of any other answer, tell them through the comments. We know Google's hunger to swallow potential competitors in the name of acquisition.  Another fact is, even if I could find some good ad network, it can not be used with my YouTube channel in which I have uploaded more than four thousand videos since 2009.  In those days YouTube team used to personally ask me about video uploading and even encouraged me to monetize my channel with AdSense, even they sent me emails asking me whether I needed a camera or any other gadgets to improve video quality. But now YouTube support is not ready to help me to sort out the AdSense issue. This much changed in the 14 years. I couldn't imagine what will happen in the coming days if Google's monopoly continues to expand. All these things made me realize the fact that I was affected by the Monopoly power of Google/YouTube without any fault from my side. I do not see it as a simple AdSense account recovery issue. It is an indication of a monopoly issue, even we can see it as a step toward slavery. Blocking all other opportunities will lead to slavery. Let me know if my understanding is wrong. The obvious evidence is, just search for "How to fill Google AdSense appeal form", and you will come to know about a large number of articles/discussions/videos that explain to you how they got their appeal approved. Mostly everyone is saying that they got their appeal approved by saying that they corrected their mistakes even if they haven't made any mistakes knowingly. Can you explain why they are saying that Google expected them to say they made some mistakes when they haven't actually made any mistakes?  

I know that writing this post is not going to correct the Monopoly issue immediately. Anyway, I am writing it as sometimes a small fire from a simple stick is enough to burn a big forest. 

Actually, I directly recommended YouTube to many people, even through writing a book. Now, I feel guilty because I fear that these recommendations may have led them to face harsh treatment from Google, and they might blame me. When I contacted YouTube about my concerns, their response was dismissive and seemed arrogant. They simply stated that they wouldn't be affected as long as the users follow the terms and conditions. This offended me because it implied that I had intentionally violated the guidelines. However, they didn't provide any specific details about the alleged violation, only stating "invalid traffic," which could potentially be generated by anyone with malicious intent.

This experience has led me to believe that their behavior might be driven by a monopolistic attitude. If Google and YouTube were truly separate entities, I wouldn't need to appeal my Google AdSense account termination. If YouTube were independent, it would offer options to monetize with other ad networks besides Google AdSense. I don't know whether breaking up Google is realistic or not, but atleast forcing regulators to address its potential monopolistic practices could prove beneficial in resolving many issues. Let me know if you have any suggestions to do it.

I have created a Change.Org petition to create awareness about Google's monopoly. You can sign the petition here and share it with others to create awareness.

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