Google hit by second UK antitrust probe into dominance of online ads

The entrance to Google’s UK offices in London.

Olly Curtis | Edition of the future | via Getty Images

The UK competition regulator has opened a new investigation into Google, targeting the company’s role in the ad tech market.

This is the second major antitrust investigation into Google’s advertising practices in the UK. The Competition and Markets Authority launched a separate investigation with the European Union into Google and Facebook parent company Meta earlier this year, over concerns that a 2018 pact between the two companies – known as “Jedi Blue” – restricted competition in digital advertising.

The CMA said Thursday it was assessing whether Google’s role in the ad tech industry could distort competition. The internet giant is a dominant player in the online advertising market.

Google acts both as a demand-side platform, which offers publishers’ ad inventory to marketers, and as an ad exchange, which allows advertisers to compete for ad space on publishers’ websites. publishers, said the CMA. It also runs ad servers that manage publisher inventory.

Regulators fear Google has illegally favored its own ad exchange services over rivals. The CMA is also concerned that Google has limited its ad exchange’s compatibility with third-party ad servers to make it harder for competing ad servers to compete.

“Weaker competition in this area could reduce advertising revenue for publishers, who may be forced to compromise the quality of their content to cut costs or put their content behind paywalls,” said Andrea Coscelli, chief executive. of the CMA, in a press release.

“It can also increase costs for advertisers, which trickle down to higher prices for advertised goods and services.”

It comes after an earlier UK and EU competition investigation into “Jedi Blue”. The deal allegedly involved Google and Meta rigging bids for online ads and illegally fixing prices.

The CMA wants more powers to review the anti-competitive behavior of tech giants under a new regulator called the Digital Markets Unit. The new regulator, proposed in 2020, would have the power to impose fines of up to 10% of tech companies’ global annual revenues for breaking new digital rules. However, the government has not yet given the watchdog the power to impose these fines.

About Ricardo Schulte

Check Also

Shell gift card offers on social media are a scam

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved. Facebook posts claim that, amid soaring gas prices in …