Feeds

Google antitrust? Ask the one man who can (almost) answer

To know the unknowable

Security for virtualized datacentres

Does Google set prices?

So we asked the larger questions. Given what we do know about AdWords, is it really an auction? Given that Yahoo!'s Panama mimics the AdWords setup — and given the added wrinkle of something like squashing — is it an auction? At what point do these complex online auctions cease to be auctions?

He didn't answer these questions directly. "The way we tend to think about this is a little bit different," he said. "We're often trying to juggle many different objectives: make money, help user, deliver value to advertisers. That leads to complex systems. That's not necessarily fatal to the system. If I'm a search advertiser, I can change my bid a little and assess what happens. The system can give optimization tools that will help [advertisers] make sensible choices.

"The American economy is an immensely complex object...But does that mean you can't achieve an effective life in the system? Not necessarily."

A sensible answer. But it doesn't get to the heart of the antitrust issue. So we asked point blank: Does Google set prices?

"I think it's substantially true that they don't set prices. Yes, they have a reserve price, but that has a minor effect on the overall volume of commerce...I buy that argument. They don't substantially set prices. Could they? Maybe. But they don't." Then he paused. "Transparency would obviously help," he added.

What McAfee does say that ultimately Google — and Yahoo! — benefit more from competition among bidders than from straight price settings. The competitive bidding is what makes AdWords so successful. "They could be cheating in some sense and we would have a hard time knowing it because they're so opaque," he said. "[But] if I could have two bidders or one bidder and a reserve price, I'd be better off with two bidders.

"Am I standing up and swearing in court? No."

But perhaps one day he will. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.