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TechCrunch: Small Business Sues Google, "Fears Annihilation"

Last week, TechCrunch reported that buySAFE, which offers a safe-shopping service for online retailers and shoppers, has sued Google over Google’s strikingly similar product called “Trusted Stores.”

TechCrunch highlights a number of concerns raised by buySAFE in its lawsuit documents, but here are our top three allegations:

1.  Google stole the business model and is using it to drive buySAFE out of the market.

“According to buySAFE, Google has been seeking a partnership, and has even explored the possiblity of a joint-venture with them since 2006. In the lawsuit, the company claims: ‘Google exploited those discussions to learn about buySAFE’s business.’” “According to buySAFE, ‘Google’s acts and practices have a dangerous probability of driving (the company) from the market’. In fact, buySAFE says Google’s actions have ‘already succeeded in drastically slowing buySAFE’s annual growth rate’. And to think almost no one knows Google Trusted Stores even exists today.”

2.  Google is manipulating its algorithm to preference certain results (in this case, its Trusted Stores e-retailers).

“BuySAFE also accuses Google of offering higher search result rankings to e-retailers that participate in the Trusted Stores program.”

3. Google is forcing Trusted Stores customers into exclusive deals.

“One merchant was even told that they could not participate in both Trusted Stores and the buySAFE program and thus had to make an exclusive choice. [buySAFE says] they’ve learned this from a few of their customers who were pitched by Google.”

Stealing business models and launching similar products? Favoring its results over those of its competitors? Engaging in exclusive dealing that eliminates choice in the marketplace? Using brute force to drive companies out of business? All stuff we’ve seen before.

Check out the full article and the filings for yourself.