January 17

Google is the biggest name in internet search by a long shot and, sometimes, companies have an issue with that. In a Congress hearing Friday, Basecamp is set to testify against Google’s “monopoly on internet search” (via Reuters).

To summarize what’s happening, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee will meet Friday to consider the question of whether tech giants such as Google, Apple, Amazon, and others are abusing their dominant market position. At the hearing, 4 smaller companies are set to testify including Tile against Apple and Basecamp against Google.

Basecamp’s complaint against Google relates to how Google handles ads in Search. As it stands today, Google allows competing companies to advertise on keywords of their competitors and those ads may appear above the product that’s being searched for.

To defend its trademark in Search, Basecamp has been forced to spend more than $70,000 yearly on an advertising campaign. A Google spokesperson said that this policy “balances the interest of both users and advertisers.” Basecamp has started multiple trademark infringement investigations through Google, calling the process “onerous and slow.”

Another company testifying on Friday is Basecamp, which sells an online project management tool, and has raised concerns about Google’s advertising and search practices. Google makes up more than 40% of Basecamp’s traffic.

Google allows competitors to purchase ads on Basecamp’s trademark, and then blocks consumers from reaching its site, Co-Founder David Heinemeier Hansson told Reuters in an interview.

“Google’s monopoly on internet search must be broken up for the sake of a fair marketplace,” Hansson said.

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said for trademarked terms like names of a business, the company’s policy balances the interest of both users and advertisers. Google allows competitors to bid on trademarked terms because that offers users more choice when they are searching, but if a trademark owner files a complaint, Google blocks competitors from using their actual name in the text of the advertisement, Castaneda said.

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