The Sherman Antitrust Act was passed by Congress on July 2, 1890 to prevent the use of trusts by major corporations in the United States and create a more equal and competitive market. As such, massive brand names have been broken up by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating this.
While Google may be the ultimate destination for banner advertisements as part of targeted internet marketing campaigns, it is currently under close scrutiny as it toes the line between legal and illegal practices regarding its competition.
According to the New York Times, every move the FTC makes toward investigating Google's practices is a sign to the giant that it should begin taking steps to alleviate these allegations before the issues reach court. This was sparked by the release of a memo regarding the company. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz did tell the media, though, that the commission will make a final decision on whether to sue Google before the end of the year.
Should the FTC sue Google, its effects are unknown. Google's main source of criticism comes from its expansion into fields beyond its initial business – internet search and search advertisements. Such initiatives into other oceans involve the development of smartphone software, online commerce and the newest Google product – Project Glass, which is a headset consumers will wear that connects the world the viewer sees to the search engine.
But the real crux of the suit would be whether AdWords, Google's advertising marketplace, discriminates against advertisers from any competing online commerce services, according to the source. Essentially, the FTC is investigating whether Google manipulates search engine results and advertisement postings to harm competitors.
While the effects of these investigations and the potential lawsuit may not be known, small business marketing campaigns may benefit from implementing a wider array of sources then just Google AdWords as its future is uncertain. This can be done by partnering with an experienced digital advertising company.