European Commission publishes targeted online survey on the ranking transparency guidelines in the framework of the EU regulation on platform-to-business relations

The European Commission is seeking feedback and suggestions on the broad objectives of the ranking transparency guidelines.

The new Platform-to-Business Relations Regulation (2019/1150/EU) requires online intermediation services, such as ecommerce marketplaces, app stores, online travel agents, to set out in their terms and conditions the main parameters determining ranking and the reasons for their relative importance. A similar obligation applies to online search engines.

The Commission says that it will produce guidelines to help online intermediation services and online search engines understand this obligation before it starts to apply on 12 July 2020. It would like feedback and suggestions on the broad objectives of the guidelines. It also wants respondents to identify possible sectoral specificities, illustrative examples, industry best practices and future trends.

The guidelines have the following objectives:

  • to elaborate on the main elements included in Article 5 such as “ranking”, “relative importance”, “main parameters” and “adequate understanding”;
  • to provide guidance on balancing giving meaningful transparency and preventing bad faith manipulation of ranking;
  • to identify existing sectoral rules and industry best practices which may be of relevance;
  • to provide guidance on the complementarity and relationship between requirements in the Regulation with consumer protection/marketing legislation and the fight against illegal content online;