Let’s end Big Tech’s anti-competitive behavior

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You.com joined 40 other companies this week in supporting the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a bipartisan bill that cracks down on self-preferencing and other behavior by Big Tech that stifles competition and innovation.

This week, I signed an open letter addressed to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to show my support for improving consumer experiences and curbing monopolies abusing their power through self-preferencing tactics that prevent competition.

Read the full letter here >>

The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), is slated for a markup on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it comes at a critical moment in the internet’s history as the entire economy moves online.

Like many other signatories, You.com has experienced the ways that self-preferencing tactics undermine competition and consumer choice. For example, many of our YOUsers who’ve made You.com their default search engine via our privacy-preserving Chrome extension have encountered manipulative design tactics to steer them back to Google Search. We’re not alone. Other upstart search engines have experienced this too.

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As my peers and I outline in the letter, “for too long, dominant technology companies have made it difficult for other businesses to compete in the digital marketplace by abusing their gatekeeper status to give themselves and their partners preferential treatment and access on their platforms.”

There’s never been a more important time to foster competition in the digital economy, especially in search.

I’ve spent more than a decade researching artificial intelligence, deep learning, and natural language processing. I believe that search — specifically helping people explore and summarize information to make decisions on the internet — is the single highest impact application of these technologies today.

Search today is broken, and ads and search-engine-optimized pages overrun the first page of search results. Right now, a single gatekeeper controls almost 90% of the search market, dictating what you see, read, watch and buy. It also keeps the bulk of search traffic to itself — nearly 65% of searches worldwide (on desktop and mobile combined) in the fourth quarter of 2020 were “zero-click,” ending without that traffic going to another website, according to a SimilarWeb study. In the U.S., 68.3% of searches were zero-click in the quarter, the study found.

For society to thrive in this digital world, it’s imperative to create a fairer search system that gives people real agency in their information diet and privacy. It’s also essential to provide an opportunity for organizations of all sizes and budgets to have a fair shot appearing on the first page of the search results when their content is relevant without paying what’s effectively a tax just to exist online.

This is one of the many reasons we started You.com, a private search engine that summarizes the web and gives users real agency over their information diet through preferred sources while offering best-in-class privacy.

Thank you for your support.

Many wishes,

Richard Socher

We’d love to hear what you think of You.com. You can message us directly at [email protected], or better yet, join our community on Discord to connect with other You.com users to share your ideas and suggestions. You can also follow You.com on TwitterRedditFacebookInstagram, and TikTok.