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No Google Deed Goes Unpunished: Opinion

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the European Union's contention (and possibly the Federal Trade Commission's, too) that Google (GOOG) needs regulator involvement before it can display any content on its site.

We live in a world where the nearest search engine competition is only a click away; yet, some bureaucrat made the decision to hold Google's feet to the fire. The leading search engine is apparently agreeing to display competitor content within its search results to appease the bloodsuckers.

It's as if McDonald's (MCD) was told to display and serve hamburgers from a restaurant next door that can't attract enough customers to keep the lights on. It's impossible for Google to make anyone's life uncomfortable if it chooses to use Yahoo! (YHOO), Microsoft's (MSFT) Bing or any other search engine.

Unlike Exel Energy (XEL), the one and only source of electricity to my home, Internet users have many easy choices. The regulators either know or should know the only reason someone selects Yahoo! over Google, or the other way around, is personal preference.

Why punish innovation and leadership? What purpose does it serve to have failing Web sites propped up by government regulators?

It's not as if the barrier to entry is high. Twitter, Facebook (FB) and Linkedin (LNKD) are notable examples of new sites that allow advertisers to get their message out in a highly targeted way and allow users to search for content. The regulators would like us to believe that all technology innovation is dead and that it's unfair for a Web site to provide the best experience for so many people.


To be totally objective, the regulators have a thankless job. Think how embarrassing it must be for them to meet new people. The conversation probably develops along the lines of, "Oh, what do I do for a living? Well, I seek out the most productive and accessible Web sites and harass them into supporting other sites that people don't want to use."

If I were a regulator, I wouldn't be able to shave because it would be too hard to look at myself in the mirror. It's one thing to say that consumers need regulators because barriers to entry prevent competition -- we all understand that.

But it's a whole different discourse to declare that if too many users favor a Web site, it's unhealthy for all users.

Regulators, leave Google and their users alone.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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