Washington, DC (Feb. 24) — Connected Commerce Council (3C) President Jake Ward made the following statement before Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee antitrust hearing.
“Tomorrow, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will launch another series of hearings about Competition, Online Gatekeepers, and Barriers to Entry. This is an utter waste of time.
“At this moment, millions of American small businesses are surviving largely or entirely due to their online presence. The barriers to online entry have never been lower, thanks in large part to affordable and easy-to-use digital tools and services that help small businesses, including:
- Online Presence: Wix, Squarespace, Google, Shopify, Facebook, Instagram, GoDaddy, and many more companies help get businesses online, provide marketing tutorials, and secure e-commerce tools.
- Marketing/Marketplaces: eBay, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Yelp, Etsy, Instagram, HomeAdvisor, Handy, Shopify, Google, Amazon, and many more marketing and e-commerce platforms are available for free or very small financial investments and costs that grow only as your business grows.
- Advertising: Facebook, Google, and Amazon compete fiercely for small business online advertising dollars by keeping prices low and providing easy-to-use self-help tools that allow small businesses to compete with each other, with larger companies, and even with the platforms that host their advertisements.
“The Digital Safety Net has saved millions of small businesses during the pandemic. Government imposing its will on digital platforms’ operations and pricing threatens to undermine platforms’ support of tens of millions of small businesses. What small businesses really want from their government is laser-focus on vaccines, stability, and growth so the world can get back to normal.
“History repeatedly demonstrates that today’s so-called “gatekeepers” will either look very different or be only found in museums or history books in a decade.
- Microsoft couldn’t stop the browser or the cloud.
- Clear Channel couldn’t stop Pandora or streaming music.
- Dominant movie studios and theaters couldn’t stop Netflix.
- MySpace couldn’t stop Facebook.
“Historically, government concerns have focused on consumer harm inflicted by single dominant providers, e.g., Standard Oil and Microsoft, or demonstrable oligopolists that march in lockstep, like airlines colluding on prices. It is ludicrous that the House Judiciary Committee focuses on four diversified competitors in the so-called ‘attention economy,’ while billion-dollar companies are competing against them or building platforms within them. It is reckless that the Committee and advocates ignore digital platforms’ foundational support of small businesses, and that much of the small business support is possible and affordable because of the platforms’ size and integration across business units.”