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Des Moines Register Op-Ed: "The Unchecked Power of Google Threatens Rural, Small Businesses"

In Sunday’s Des Moines Register, guest columnist Dan Kelley, an Iowa state representative and realtor, described how the Internet has revolutionized the real estate business. But he also raised concern over the amount of power Google has over Internet search and how it affects small businesses.

“A relatively recent phenomenon threatens to upset the level playing field. Google, with control over more than 70 percent of Internet information searches in the U.S., has been exerting its enormous power to direct Internet traffic in ways that have hurt many small, rural businesses.”

Kelley goes on to say:

“It should concern every small business in America that Google has the power to change its ranking of your site without warning, explanation or any sort of appeals process. Your business’ search ranking might go from first to 500th in the blink of an eye, and there’s nothing you can do about it… Google’s unchecked power to literally flip a switch and cut off the Internet traffic that small and rural businesses rely on to support real jobs raises important questions.”

Kelley closed by noting the upcoming Senate Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on Sept. 21 and urging Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and other committee members “to ask Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt the difficult questions that will help ensure the internet remains a level playing field for everyone.”

Between this story and the story in Monday’s New York Times about to Google’s ability to shut down brick and mortar shops across the country,  it’s no doubt that small business owners will be eager for answers from Google.