One of Google's digital advertising services is reportedly under fire in the UK.
Google Comparison Ads is under investigation by the UK financial services industry regulator Financial Conduct Authority following complaints from UK price comparison sites Google is placing its own product at the top of rankings.
Comparison Ads was designed by Google to simplify the search process and get users quickly to the latest offers on their search query.
It operates on a Cost Per Action (CPA) where the advertiser pays for each specified action, such as a form submission. Internet browsers simply have to type a search string such as best credit card offers to view this type of ad.
Google has been running a comparison service on everything from car and travel insurance to credit cards and mortgages since it acquired BeatThatQuote.com for a reported £38m in 2011.
Google's offering is feared to be made more attractive by the complainants as it allows things such as a car's registration number to be entered for a much quicker quote process.
These in-built tools are one of two main complaints over Google's price comparison service. The second revolves around the fact, in the complainants eyes, Google is boosting its own services above competitors and not applying the same stringent quality control algorithms to itself.
The issue is very similar to many complaints Google has faced before, with the search engine giant certain to feel a sense of deja vu over the latest complaint: It has only just negotiated an antitrust settlement in Europe over various vertical search complaints.
Even in its latest form however, the settlement is still being criticised by many politicians as being somewhat over lenient on the Internet firm.
Google and the FCA have yet to comment on this latest complaint.
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