In this week’s roundup of the digital marketing news that matters to businesses with global ambitions: Google Japan stands its ground over allegedly defamatory reviews; Mobile banking apps more common than credit and debit card payments; EU antitrust action against Google now official; Yandex becomes the default search engine for Turkish Firefox; and 1/3 of all Chinese leisure time now spent on Internet.
Google faces a fresh challenge in its Japanese market, after a Chiba District Court issued an injunction against the search giant over two anonymous reviews for a medical clinic on its Maps service. The reviews documented negative customer experiences at the clinic and attracted a defamation suit from a doctor at the clinic in question. The reviews do not violate Google.co.jp’s own user generated content policies.
Though the legal action is likely to attract a negligible fine (just $2,500), more could be at stake for Google, if a precedent is set. The defamation ruling was apparently based only on an affidavit signed by the doctor in question. Unsurprisingly, Google plans to lodge an appeal against the ruling, in the hope of averting future claims from disgruntled professionals who follow a similar procedure.
Research from BuzzCity, (as reported in the The Drum) reveals that 42 percent of mobile owners make financial transactions on their smartphones with a third of those who don’t due to adopt the technology soon. Furthermore, 24 percent use mobile payments, compared to 17 percent who use credit cards and 12 percent who use debit cards – the first time this type of usage has passed more traditional methods.
Nevertheless, BuzzCity points out that Banks were actually spending less on marketing their services on mobile in 2014. Chief Executive K.F. Lai commented “This skewed approach that many banks place on TV advertising is failing to engage their own customers”, before remarking “The banks are clearly missing opportunities.”
After last week’s reports of the EU seeking to publish confidential complaints against Google made by European businesses, an anti-competitive complaint has formally been made alleging that Google has been engaged in unfair practices since 2008. The complaint specifically names the Google Shopping product – positioned and prominently displayed in search results by design – as the offending feature.
In a rather cutting list of preliminary conclusions, the EU asserts that “Google systematically positions and prominently displays [Google Shopping] irrespective of its merits.” It plans to ensure that Google treats the Shopping product with the same algorithmic adjustments as competing results. An internal response memo has already circulated around Google teams, citing in its defence better services for users, increased competition and the effect that mobile has had on the need to change the nature of search listings. The memo also mentions anticipated antitrust action regarding Android.
Users downloading the latest version of Firefox in Turkey will find that their default search engine has changed from Google to Yandex.com.tr. This local version of the Russian search engine was found to offer the best results for more than 10,000 Turkish users in a recent test, prompting a change of approach for Mozilla.
Yandex is already the default search engine for Firefox in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, though Mozilla’s browser currently has just 4.2% of the Turkish search market (Chrome’s share is now over 60%).
China Central Television (CCTV) has issued a study claiming that Chinese average daily leisure time is increasing – 2.55 hours up from 2.16 hours three years ago, while also revealing that one third of that time is spent on the internet, and mobile phones especially.
Unsurprisingly, people in high income groups are more likely to have more leisure time – those earning over 210,000 RMB (22,900 GBP / 33,800 USD) average around 180 minutes of leisure time per day whereas those earning around 50,000 RMB (5,447 GBP / 8,055 USD) have only 160 minutes.
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Life passes by photo by Flickr user Tinou Bao
Rainbow of credit photo by Flickr user frankieleon
Google photo by Flickr user Carlos Luna
Chinese seniors playing cards photo by Flickr user Soctech