Money spent on lobbying efforts by major internet companies run in the millions per annum, with Google spending $ 1.2million in the third quarter of 2010. In fact Google is on track to spend over $5 million on lobbying efforts in 2010.
Google pushes to influence government policy in a number of areas, including immigration, patent reform, online consumer protection, privacy, advertising regulation and so on. Congressional rules on internet service usage and broadband access is also in the line of fire.
The search giant is also putting efforts into lobbying for openness and competition in the online services market, which came into play especially when the company acquired travel software company ITA. However this deal is still under investigation by the US Department of Justice.
It is not only Google that spends substantial sums of money on lobbying. Facebook is also increasingly spending money on efforts to push its interests on cyber security policy, internet privacy regulations as well as FCC regulations on internet neutrality. Internet privacy in particular is a big topic of concern for the social networking company who has run into trouble about its privacy policies.
The sum Facebook is spending is much smaller than that of Google, but it is likely to increase over time. In the second quarter of 2010 Facebook dedicated $60,000 to lobbying efforts which increased to $120,000 in the third quarter.
The US Senate publishes a database of the quantity of money companies spend on lobbying online, companies are required to log their spending with US officials.