Google uses paid search results to shake down businesses, says Basecamp CEO

"When Google puts 4 paid ads ahead of the first organic result for your own brand name, you're forced to pay up if you want to be found," tweeted Basecamp CEO and co-founder Jason Fried, yesterday, along with the funny ad he bought to show up in Google's search results.

From CNBC:

In a statement, a Google spokeswoman said the company prohibits the use of trademarked terms in the text of an ad if the owner files a complaint. "Our trademark policy balances the interests of users, advertisers and trademark owners," the statement said. "To provide users with the most relevant ads, we don't restrict trademarked terms as keywords. We do, however, restrict trademarked terms in ad text if the trademark owner files a complaint."

The CEO of Shopify, Tobias Lutke, shared and weighed in on Fried's tweet.

"It's totally crazy for google to get away with charging what's basically protection money on your own brand name," he wrote. "'Nice high intend traffic you got there, would be a shame if something were to happen to it.'"