Global Savings Group calls out Google for anti-competitive behaviour after news sites penalised

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The brand behind the world’s largest online shopping community has today called out Google for anti-competitive behaviour after they unfairly penalised news site revenue streams.

Global Savings Group, the company behind household money-saving brands such as hotukdeals, Pepper and Pouch and that also power the voucher portals for the likes of Daily Mail, Metro, and El País, believes recent actions by Google go against their own guidelines and present a major threat to an important revenue stream that supports independent journalism.

The penalisation of the voucher code sections on media sites has the potential to wipe out millions in revenue for news publishers and has had an immediate impact on their web traffic numbers. In the last couple of days, many sites have seen their coupon sections slashed from search results, despite Google’s prior assurances that such content is permissible under proper editorial oversight.

Context: A recent update from Google

In addition to contradicting its own advice and threatening an important revenue stream for media publishers, thousands of people working on the coupon sections of media publishers’ sites could be affected.

Google has effectively decided that this business model is not permissible, a decision they really should not be in a position to make. Should it not be up to the media publishers to decide what content they publish?

It could also be argued that Google appears to be using its monopolistic position to suppress competition, something it has done before. In 2017, the European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion for abusing its market position to give an illegal advantage to its comparison shopping service.

Partnerships between news sites and third-party commerce content providers have played an important role for media publishers for many years, delivering value in multiple ways. These partnerships offer a natural extension of existing content offered by news sites, allowing them to:

Enhance the user experience in the online coupons space; – Readers seeking money-saving offers appreciate the convenience of finding trusted discounts alongside the news content they already consume. Without these sites in the search engine results, the quality of content is objectively worse.
Diversify revenue streams; the move from print to digital media disrupted many publishers’ business models. Commerce content such as coupons, deals, and product reviews provides an additional source of revenue, supporting independent journalism.
Leverage partner expertise; commerce content specialists bring valuable industry expertise, technology, and connections to advertisers, ultimately creating a valuable offering for readers.

The success of these partnerships lies in upholding rigorous editorial standards. News sites carefully vet their partners, maintain editorial control over content, and ensure seamless integration within their overall brand.

When executed responsibly, these collaborations benefit users, advertisers, and publishers alike. The fact that Google has indiscriminately targeted these sites sends a message that they are not focused on content quality but rather on penalising specific business models. It seems that Google thinks it should decide what types of content news sites are allowed to publish.

“News publishers have historically included commercial content alongside their editorial offerings,” says Gerhard Trautmann, CEO of Global Savings Group. “These recent Google penalties create uncertainty and major risk for a legitimate business practice. We urge a clear dialogue on how to maintain a high-quality user experience while ensuring news sites aren’t unfairly targeted.”

Ultimately, Google looks to have majorly overstepped the mark here. Why should they be allowed to dictate what types of content news and media sites can publish, or have a say in which business models are allowed?

By indiscriminately penalising media publishers and wiping out an important revenue stream overnight, they have caused major harm without necessarily improving the experience for searchers.

Our clear message here is that Google should focus on ensuring the results they deliver are high quality and answer searchers’ queries, not on dictating what types of content media publishers can or cannot publish.

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