Antitrust lawsuit against Google regarding its advertising practices
You all know I hate writing about legal topics in research, but I have to at least document these big cases here. And there's a lot going on. A lot of it has to do with alleged anti-competitive practices, with Facebook, that hurt advertisers on their platforms.
10 states accuse Google of abusing its online advertising monopolyAccording to Wednesday's NY Times: "State prosecutors said Google overcharged publishers for ads it ran on the Web and shut out rivals who tried to challenge the company's dominance. They also claimed that Google had struck a deal with Facebook to limit the social network's efforts to compete with Google on advertising. Google said the lawsuit was "baseless" and that it would fight the case."
Then, yesterday, the NY Times reported that. Google's legal peril worsened with a third antitrust complaintOn Thursday, more than 30 states added to Google's list of legal problems, accusing the Silicon Valley titan of illegally organizing its search results to crowd out smaller rivals The article adds that Google "downplayed the importance of websites that allow users to search for information in specialized areas such as home repair services and travel reviews." Prosecutors also accused the company of using exclusivity agreements with phone manufacturers like Apple to prioritize Google's search service over rivals like Firefox and DuckDuckGo. According to the States, this suppression has enabled Google to retain a dominant position of almost 90 % in the search market and prevented smaller companies from becoming formidable competitors. Google has sought to extend this dominance into new areas such as home voice assistants."
There are a ton of very well-done reports on these legal topics that you can read on Techmeme. I'm really not good at covering these subjects, probably because they don't really interest me. But it's important and should be highlighted here.
Google's response, which has been communicated to Search Engine Land and others, is: "Attorney General Paxton's allegations about ad tech are baseless, but he went ahead despite all the facts. We've invested in cutting-edge ad tech services that help businesses and benefit consumers. Digital ad prices have fallen over the past decade. Ad tech costs have also fallen. Google's ad tech costs are below the industry average. These are the hallmarks of a highly competitive industry. We will defend ourselves firmly against its baseless claims in court."
And on the subject of eliminating competition, Google has a full article on his blog. Last week, the Google blog was dedicated to how Google helps us and why Google matters.
There is a thread on WebmasterWorldHere's what some people have to say about it:
I wonder what repercussions this could have for publishers. Every time someone takes a swipe at Google, I worry that they'll just end Adsense out of spite. Kind of like the childish tantrum Amazon's affiliate program triggered when states started hinting at levying duties on Amazon products purchased by their residents.
The rancor isn't likely because G depends on its advertising and search business ... but there are other aspects of Alphabet (and its acquisitions) that are problematic - and a growing number of GOVERNMENTS are beginning to realize this, not just for competition issues but for other influences/controls that threaten other civil and national/international concerns.
Time will tell whether the current wave of government investigations will bring significant change in the future.
Another lawsuit, this one filed by 38 states that did not participate in yesterday's lawsuit, concerns the way Google puts its own products and answers ahead of those of its competitors in its results. : https://t.co/WBSJ6OIpHe
I'd be pretty nervous if I were them. pic.twitter.com/hSVozFzLzZ
- Rand Fishkin (@randfish) December 17, 2020
for a company that routinely downplays the importance of its display advertising business, it was willing to break a lot of antitrust laws... like the state AGs against Facebook, I'm also thrilled here, this is exactly the case I wanted against Google. As promised, Texas had the experts.
- Jason Kint (@jason_kint) December 16, 2020
Discussion forum on Twitter.