Google hit by second UK antitrust probe into online ad dominance

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  • The Competition and Markets Authority is assessing whether Google’s role in the advertising technology industry could distort competition.
  • This is the second major antitrust investigation targeting Google’s advertising practices in the UK.
  • The CMA seeks power from tech giants to more closely examine anti-competitive behavior under a new regulatory body.

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Britain’s competition regulator has launched a new investigation into Google, noting the company’s role in the advertising technology market.

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This is the second major antitrust investigation targeting Google’s advertising practices in the UK. The Competition and Markets Authority earlier this year launched a separate investigation with the European Union into Google and Facebook parent company Meta, a 2018 agreement 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 be distorting competition. The Internet giant is a major player in the online advertising market.

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CMA said Google serves as both a demand-side platform, which provides marketers with publishers’ ad catalogs, and an ad exchange, which lets advertisers compete for ad space on publishers’ websites. It also runs the ad server that manages the list of publishers.

Regulators are concerned that Google may have illegally endorsed its own ad exchange services to the detriment of rivals. The CMA is also concerned that Google has limited the compatibility of its Ad Exchange with third-party ad servers to make it harder for competing ad servers to compete.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coselli said in a statement, “Weak competition in this area can reduce advertising revenue for publishers, who need to compromise on the quality of their content to cut costs or put their content behind pay. can be forced.”

“It can also increase costs for advertisers who are passed on through higher prices for the goods and services advertised.”

This follows earlier competition investigations into “Jedi Blue” from both the UK and EU. The deal allegedly involved rigging Google and Meta auctions and illegally setting prices for online ads.

The CMA wants more powers to check anti-competitive behavior from tech giants under a new regulatory body called the Digital Markets Unit. The new regulator, proposed in 2020, has the power to fine tech companies up to 10% of global annual revenue for violating new digital regulations. However, the government has not yet given powers to the watchdog to impose these fines.

Credit: www.cnbc.com /

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