Google Hires 12 Lobbying Firms Before FTC Antitrust Investigation

Twelve! Count 'em up. In light of the Federal Trade Commission's forthcoming antitrust investigation into Google, the search behemoth is reportedly hiring a dream team of D.C. lobbying might, including Akin, Gump; Bingham; Capitol Legislative Strategies; Chesapeake Group; Crossroads Strategies; Gephardt Group; Holland & Knight; Normandy Group; Prime Policy; The First Group; The Madison Group; and the Raben Group, reports The Hill.  "We have a strong story to tell about our business and we've sought out the best talent we can find to help tell it," a Google spokesperson tells the newspaper. Of course you do, Google. So what does the Internet search company really need twelve independent firms for? Here's a look at the regulatory hurdles that could be keeping K Street busy in the coming months:

The FTC investigation  As we reported previously, the FTC's investigation could apply to any number of Google's businesses, but primarily, it's concerned with its core business: search and advertising. It's inspired by the complaints of Internet businesses whining that Google privileges its own web services in search results and downgrades the results from smaller competing firms. "By making a site more or less likely to rise to the top of its search results, Google theoretically could affect how much traffic a Web site got and therefore how much it could charge for advertising," reported The New York Times last week. A major group pushing for this is Fair Search, a coalition of Internet companies including Microsoft, Expedia and Trip Advisor "taking a stand against Google's unfair practices."

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