Bloomberg News

Google Wins Dismissal of Price-Shopper Site’s Antitrust Case

September 01, 2011

(Updates with defense lawyer’s comment in sixth paragraph.)

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., the biggest Internet search company, won the dismissal of antitrust claims filed against it by a price-comparison website that accused it of anticompetitive practices.

MyTriggers.com Inc. had responded to a 2009 Google lawsuit seeking $335,000 in advertising payments by accusing the Mountain View, California-based company of raising the minimum price for keywords that would lead Google users to MyTriggers.com, effectively eliminating it as a possible competitor.

Judge John P. Bessey in Columbus rejected the countersuit in a 14-page ruling yesterday.

“The counterclaim only alleges harm to MyTriggers itself,” Bessey wrote, noting the company concedes Google does business with other price-comparison websites. “Such an allegation undercuts MyTriggers’ argument that competition as a whole within the relevant market is being injured,” the judge said.

MyTriggers’ legal team was aided by Charles F. “Rick” Rule, who has represented Microsoft Corp., and its claims were supported by Ohio’s then-Attorney General Richard Cordray.

“Mytriggers is reviewing the decision and considering its next steps,” Jonathan Kanter, a law firm partner with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, said in a telephone interview. He declined to comment further.

Google declined to comment, a spokesman for the company, Adam Kovacevich, said by phone.

According to a MyTriggers website, the company is based in Redwood City, California, and has an office in Columbus.

Cost Per Action

It charges clients on a cost-per-action, or CPA, basis, meaning that it gets paid only after a purchase is made, according to court papers. Google and other search engines operate on a cost-per-click, or CPC, basis under which advertisers pay each time a user clicks on an advertisement.

“The innovative CPA approach represented a disruption to Google’s pricing model,” MyTriggers said.

In 2008, Google allegedly increased MyTriggers costs by 1,000 percent to 10,000 percent, resulting in a decline in traffic to its sites and forcing the company to fire almost all its Ohio staff and “exit in near entirety from the search advertising market.”

The case is Google Inc. v. MyTriggers.com Inc., 09-cvh-10- 14836, Franklin County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas (Columbus).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Mary Romano

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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