Google files lawsuit over fake review scams

Google is facing another lawsuit, this time from Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, who accuses the search engine of monopolizing the digital advertising market and violating antitrust and consumer protection laws. Gannett claims that Google controls 90% of the market for publisher ad servers and over 60% of the market for ad exchanges. This control allegedly results in a significant drop in advertising revenue for publishers, including Gannett, who heavily rely on digital ad revenue to survive.

Gannett’s CEO, Mike Reed, explains that Google’s practices have negative implications for news publishers, as it depresses revenue and forces the reduction of local news. Without fair competition for digital ad space, publishers are unable to invest in their newsrooms. However, Google’s vice president of Google Ads, Dan Taylor, denies the allegations and states that publishers have many options to choose from when it comes to advertising technology. Taylor also asserts that when publishers choose to use Google tools, they keep the majority of revenue.

This is not the first time Google has been accused of violating antitrust laws. Just last week, the search engine was charged by the European Union for antitrust violations. The European Commission suggested that a “mandatory divestment” is the only effective solution to resolve the issue. In addition, nine U.S. states, including Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, and Washington, have joined forces to bring a similar lawsuit against Google, claiming that the company’s ad business violated antitrust regulations. Google has denied these claims and requested the dismissal of the case.

In 2020, Google was also accused of breaching antitrust laws in order to maintain its position as the leading search engine. This case is set for trial in September. Overall, these lawsuits against Google could force the company to implement major changes, such as divesting its ad business, which could lead to increased transparency, more campaign control for advertisers, and better innovation. It could also potentially result in the creation of new ad tools.

However, it is important to note that the impact of Google’s practices on the digital advertising market is still debatable. This year has been challenging for digital advertising in general, with slow growth due to various factors. It remains to be seen how much of the blame can be attributed to Google specifically. Nonetheless, the outcome of these lawsuits could have significant implications for the digital advertising industry and the power dynamics within it.


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