Basecamp CEO Accuses Google Of Ransom And Shakedown In Rigged Search Results

Basecamp CEO Accuses Google Of Ransom And Shakedown In Rigged Search Results

search results
Basecamp CEO Jason Fried at SXSWi 2010. Fried is unhappy with Google’s advertising practices which he considers to be unfair. (CC) Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com: Flickr

Basecamp CEO and co-founder Jason Fried accused tech giant Google of “shakedown” advertising practices that let competitors’ ads using the Basecamp brand name show up in search results above his company’s ads.

In a tweet that went viral, Fried said the practice known as “conquesting” is like having to pay a ransom to be seen in search results using your own brand name as a keyword.

“Conquesting” on Google Ads is an aggressive marketing strategy where one company bids on keywords targeted towards a competitor’s brand name.

This allows for a competitor of a certain company to show up in results when potential customers are searching for the actual company by its name. This is common practice on many different platforms including Amazon.

In protest, Basecamp put up an ad on Google’s search results and titled it: “Basecamp.com | We don’t want to run this ad”. Basically, Google got trolled on Google for greedy advertising practices.

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Google is facing scrutiny for its practices in search and advertising and Fried’s complaint magnified the tech giant’s predatory advertising that makes it hard for small companies to get true organic clicks on the search engine.

The company could face billions of dollars in fines from the U.S. Justice Department antitrust investigation in more than 30 states and from competition authorities in Europe. It could even be forced to spin off business units like YouTube, according to a CNBC report.

Ads are the biggest source of revenue for Google on its search engines with companies and individuals paying to be ranked ahead of others.