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Sourcetool says Google violated U.S. antitrust laws

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - TradeComet.com, which owns the search engine SourceTool.com, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google Inc GOOG.O on Tuesday, accusing it of engaging in illegal predatory conduct to drive them out of business.

“TradeComet was forced to file the lawsuit when Google refused to stop engaging in predatory conduct to block search traffic by imposing massive, unjustified price increases,” the company said in a statement.

SourceTool.com had previously complained that Google had given the site, essentially a directory of products and the companies that provide them, a low rating and began raising pay-per-click advertising rates to direct people doing searches to SourceTool.

SourceTool said that Google raised the rates after deciding that SourceTool was a competitor.

“Google raised my prices by 10,000 percent, which strangled our business, virtually overnight,” said Dan Savage, founder and CEO of SourceTool.com and TradeComet.com, in a statement.

“As a result of Google flexing its monopolistic muscle, SourceTool.com currently averages about 1 percent of the traffic it previously had and is no longer a competitively viable business.”

Google had no immediate comment. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Richard Chang)

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