FTC Workshop Will Examine Competition and Consumer Protection Issues in the Rooftop Solar Business # 00203

Submission Number:
00203
Commenter:
Aggarwal
State:
Massachusetts
Initiative Name:
FTC Workshop Will Examine Competition and Consumer Protection Issues in the Rooftop Solar Business

Google is increasingly driving solar-related search traffic to its proprietary solar lead generation service called Google Project SunRoof. They are unfairly positioning links to their own service at the top of the search results - between the paid links and organic search results. Given Google's powerful, near monopolistic position in the online search business, they seem to be limiting consumer choice to their service that directs search traffic to large, deep pocketed solar companies who are bidding the highest advertising amounts on Project SunRoof, their proprietary solar lead generation service. Below are the key issues related to their actions: - By inserting Project Sunroof "above the fold", Google has dramatically decreased the visibility and value of the top organic search results which otherwise would be visible to consumers - By inserting the words "Source: Project Sunroof" in every search result, Google is giving its own lead-generation tool free advertising - By having the call-to-action button "Search for solar providers near you" auto-populate a new Google search for the words "solar providers near me", Google forces the registration of businesses in Google Maps so they can be seen as results, and also disadvantages national companies that serve multiple states and thus won't appear as "near" the consumer searching.