- Google Placed its Own Ads First, Study Claims
Adverts for Google products occupied 91% of the top ad slots on the firm’s search results pages, in a study done for the Wall Street Journal.
Advertising data firm Semrush analysed 25,000 pages for the study.
It looked at 1,000 results for 25 search terms including laptop, watches, speakers and smoke detectors on Google.
Products sold by Google’s parent firm Alphabet dominated the top of the results. Google said it had strict rules for buying its advertising space.
A spokesman said that the firm’s marketing policies were “consciously and carefully designed” so as not to intervene with ad pricing.
“All our bids are excluded from the auction when determining the price paid by other advertisers and we have strict rules and processes – set to tougher levels than our customers – to govern the use of our own ads products,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in all 1,000 searches for the term “laptop” in the study, the top result was for Google’s Chromebook.
Additionally 98% of searches for “watches” resulted in links to Android smartwatch retailers appearing on top.
Android and Chromebook are both owned by Alphabet.
It also noted that alarm products by another Alphabet firm, Nest, featured highly in searches for smoke detectors.
The paper added that after sharing the results with Google many of the ads disappeared – and a BBC test found that other brands including Apple, Lenovo and Apollo now appear to dominate the top of results pages for these terms.
In July 2016 the European Commission alleged that Google had abused its dominance in internet shopping and restricted competition – which the firm denied.
“We think when we look at the screen that Google is placing its ads above others but advertising doesn’t work in that way,” said Daniel Knapp, senior analyst at IHS.
“It may be that Google is willing to pay more than others or that it has better targeting data for identifying users. The method of the [Wall Street Journal] experiment may also be flawed.”
The advertising auctions are automated and run by algorithms, he added.
“We live in an algorithmic world. How are these algorithms making decisions on our behalf and how is that distorting markets and society in general?” he said.
“This is an example of a much bigger underlying issue.”
Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus
Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.
On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.
OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”
Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.
“The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.
Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.
But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.
OPEC Says Uncertainties Remain High in 2021
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Thursday said global uncertainties remained high going forward in 2021 but kept its oil demand forecast unchanged.
In the cartel’s latest oil outlook for 2021, oil demand is expected to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to 95.9 million barrels per day. The prediction was unchanged from December’s assessment.
However, OPEC and allies, said: “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
Crude oil rose to $57 per barrel this week after incoming US President Joe Biden announced it would inject $1.9 trillion stimulus into the world’s largest economy.
But the recent rally in the commodity and stimulus announcement is expected to boost US crude oil output and disrupt OPEC+ production cuts strategy for the year.
“The 2021 supply outlook is now slightly more optimistic for U.S. shale with oil prices increasing, and output is expected to recover more in the second half of 2021,” OPEC said.
Still, OPEC, in its forecast “assumes a healthy recovery in economic activities including industrial production, an improving labour market and higher vehicle sales than in 2020.”
“Accordingly, oil demand is anticipated to rise steadily this year supported primarily by transportation and industrial fuels,” the group said.
Brent Crude Oil Rose to $56.25 Per Barrel
Oil price surged following the declaration of Joe Biden as the President-elect of the United States of America last week after Trump’s mob invaded Capitol to disrupt a joint Senate session.
Also, the large drop in US crude inventories helped support crude oil price to over 11 months despite the second wave of COVID-19 crushing the world from Asia to Europe to America.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian Crude oil is priced, rose to $56.25 per barrel on Friday before pulling back to $55.422 per barrel on Monday during the London trading session.
Experts attributed the pullback to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Asia with about 11 million people already locked down in Hebei province in China.
“Covid hot spots flaring again in Asia, with 11 million people (in) lockdowns in China Hebei province… along with a touch of FED policy uncertainty has triggered some profit taking out of the gates this morning,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said in a note on Monday.
China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, has joined the United Kingdom and others declaring full or partial lockdown to curb the second wave of COVID-19.
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