Google’s Senate antitrust hearing is today, and rivals Yelp, Nextag, and Expedia are ready to do some complaining. The three companies intend to tell lawmakers that Google is exploiting its search dominance by promoting its own services at the expense of theirs in its results, they tell the Wall Street Journal. Nextag goes further, complaining that Google has banned it from buying the prominent photo ads that show up next to search results for products.
“Google is the dominant digital advertising resource in the world, and Nextag is restricted from marketing itself” on it, Nextag’s CEO complains. Google says those ads are reserved for sites that sell products, while Nextag only links to other sites that sell products. Indeed, Google’s general defense is that its search is designed to serve its users, not websites. “We understand that with success comes scrutiny,” the company said, “and we’re looking forward to the hearing, and answering any questions senators may have.”