Despite being fined in 2017, Google is still a problem for price comparison services

In 2017, Google was fined a record-breaking (at the time) €2.42 million by the European Union due to anti-competitive practices related to the abuse of its dominant position as a search engine. Specifically, Google was promoting its own price comparison service, Google Shopping, and demoting its competitors, driving traffic away from those websites.

Despite the massive fine, though, it seems these comparison shopping services (CSS) are still being affected by Google's stranglehold on the search engine market. As reported by Reuters, a number of companies from around Europe have written a joint letter to the EU's Competition Commisioner Margrethe Vestager, urging regulators to crack down on Google for its anti-competitive behavior.

In total, 41 companies from 21 countries in the EU signed the letter, claiming Google isn't complying with the order made in 2017. The companies claim that Google's idea, which allowed competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of search pages, hasn't resulted in more traffic to their websites, and that more CSSs are likely to exit the market because of that. However, the Mountain View giant has suggested that this isn't true, saying that it has seen "positive results" from its measures.

The European Commission confirmed it received the letter and says it's monitoring the situation, but it didn't say if and how the problem will be addressed. Vestager, who had previously remarked on the positive impact of Google's measures after the fine, has recently changed stances, expressing concerns over lack of traffic to Google's competitors.

At this point, Google is well acquainted with antitrust fines from the EU. In addition to the 2017 fine, it broke yet another record with a €4.34 billion fine last year, and it's received another €1.49 billion penalty earlier this year. It remains to be seen if this letter will result in another one.

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