Google hit with fresh French antitrust claims

A search company has made fresh antitrust complaints against Google to the European Commission, alleging that Google blocked some of its rivals from using its Adsense advertising platform.On Tuesday, 1plusV — the publisher of legal search engine eJustice.

A search company has made fresh antitrust complaints against Google to the European Commission, alleging that Google blocked some of its rivals from using its Adsense advertising platform.

On Tuesday, 1plusV — the publisher of legal search engine eJustice.fr, which has a longstanding complaint against Google — said Adsense was "the only truly effective way of obtaining targeted advertising on a search engine", and Google's refusal to allow vertical search engines such as eJustice.fr access to Adsense was designed to stifle competition.

According to 1plusV, when eJustice.fr complained to the Commission over other practices in February 2010, Google delisted it, severely curtailing the traffic the site received. However, the company said, Google then relisted it in December — shortly after the Commission began its investigation into the giant — which contradicted Google's claim that eJustice.fr was not of much value to users.

Marie-Cecile Rameau, a lawyer at the firm representing 1plusV, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying "vertical search engines are specifically dangerous competitors because they give more added value; they are kind of a last bastion competition to Google".

More soon.

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