Online Advertising: US Government Sues Google for Monopoly

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Advertising ; online: US government sues Google for monopoly

Led by Merrick Garland, Attorney General of the United States, the Federal Department of Justice as well as eight American states, including California and the State of New York, are asking the courts to condemn the Californian group Google for violating the right to competition. (File photo)

The US Department of Justice sued internet search giant Google on Tuesday for its 'monopoly' in the online advertising market , according to a court document.

Google has used anti-competitive, excludable, and unlawful methods to eliminate or significantly reduce any threat to its dominance over technologies used for digital advertising, this document asserts.

The Federal Department of Justice and eight American states, including California and New York, are asking the courts to condemn the Californian group for violating competition law, to make it pay damages and to order the sale of its activities related to the sale of online advertising space.

The complaint explains that Google controls both the technologies used by almost all websites to sell banners or entry windows to brands and the tools advertisers use to buy these spaces, as well as the market where transactions take place.

The damage is obvious: website publishers earn less and advertisers spend more, claim the plaintiffs.

“Although Google has been dealing with increased competition in recent years, its market share remains unmatched.

— Evelyn Mitchell, Analyst at Insider Intelligence

According to Ms. Mitchell, the group garners more than a quarter of all digital ad spend and more than half advertising revenue backed by online searches.

The Department of Justice is trying to pick winners and losers in the already highly competitive digital advertising industry, a Google spokesperson said.

The company says he believes that if the Justice Department prevails, its approach would slow innovation, drive up advertising costs, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.

Competition for ad revenue is fierce online and offline, argues Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) in a statement.

The trade association that represents the industry believes the Department of Justice should consider the entire market advertising, not just the digital part.

“The government's position that online ads do not compete with print, radio, television and street signs undermines reason. »

— The Computer & Communications Industry Association

However, for the department and the eight states, it is indeed the Internet.

An open Internet is essential to American life, states the introductory complaint.

The plaintiffs argue that digital advertisements are necessary to fund websites and are bought and sold in huge volumes in fractions of a second, working very differently from how print newspapers or TV channels operate.

More than 13 billion ads are sold every day on the web in the United States, the plaintiffs add.

They claim that Google abused its dominant position to exclude rivals, including by systematically taking control of a wide variety of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and other actors. market.

“We accuse Google of capturing publishers' revenue for its own profit and punished those who sought alternatives. These methods have weakened the free and open Internet and increased costs for businesses and for the United States government, including the military. »

— Vanita Gupta, Deputy Secretary, quoted in a statement

This is the second complaint filed by the Department of Justice against the California group since the President's inauguration Joe Biden, two years ago. The first, which concerns the domination of its search engine, is due to go to trial this year.

Google has already been fined in the past for violating the competition law, in particular by the European Union.

In the United States, this company is already facing lawsuits launched at the end of 2020 by a coalition of States led by Texas.

According to their accusations, Google has sought to foreclose competition by manipulating ad auctions, that is, the state-of-the-art system that determines which ads are displayed on web pages based on the user's anonymized profile.

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