Commentary

What Will Publishers Tell The Justice Dept. About Google?

The U.S. Justice Department is asking publishers, including Condé Nast, News Corp and The New York Times, for information about Google's business practices as part of a broader antitrust probe, Bloomberg Newsreported last week.

While those publishers wouldn't comment on their meetings with investigators, it's likely they have a litany of complaints to share. Google not only controls how most of the world finds publishers' digital content through its search engine, but it also runs much of the infrastructure that brings media buyers and sellers of ad space together.

While publishers sell ad space directly, many also use Google Ad Manager to oversee auctions of their ad inventories. On the buy side, brands might rely on Google Campaign Manager or Google Display & Video 360 to host their digital ads and manage bidding for inserts.

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Publishers and advertisers have complained about the lack of transparency in the digital ad market, as Bloomberg News notes. It's not always clear how prices get set and ad placements are made.

Google has made amends to publishers in the past, and claims that it shares 70% of digital ad revenue with media outlets. Two years ago, it ended its "first-click-free" policy, letting subscription-based publishers determine how many articles they wanted to show before putting up a paywall.

Google last week formalized a long-rumored plan to end support for third-party cookies, a technology to track individuals as they visit different websites. As part of an effort to give consumers more privacy protections, it will phase out third-party cookie support in its Chrome browser in the next two years.

It's too early to tell how the plan will affect the digital advertising market -- publishers, media buyers and ad-tech companies have two years to figure out another tracking technology.

The move may help publishers that collect first-party data about their reader, and don’t have to worry about any restrictions. They can keep on delivering those audiences to advertisers.

As for any antitrust actions by government, regulators may determine that Google needs to undo certain acquisitions -- such as its purchases of DoubleClick, YouTube or Android -- to prevent a single tech giant from controlling too many media platforms.

1 comment about "What Will Publishers Tell The Justice Dept. About Google?".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, January 20, 2020 at 2:38 p.m.

    There is another side of Google that if your competition to them, they will find a way to beat you down. For my website, I publish sweepstakes for many Fortune companies and their agencies. I took the top spot on the first page of Google Search for the vanity keyword, sweepstakes for three years. This was based on over 100 million pages. Then Google made a major change. They reclassified a online sweepstakes website and placed us in the "Gambling" category. 
     
    Having consulted to Las Vegas casinos in location expansion, online sweepstakes is neither class 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the gaming laws. No cash cash exchange hands in the form of a wager or bet. Some websites do charge a subscription fee, we don't.However in Google legal position a subscription fee is gambling. What this means is Google has been eliminating us as a legit competitor when we turn the advertisers sweepstakes into entertainment. At the same time eliminating our ability to earn revenue from text link URL's.

     Now Google is taking the subscription fee service to the extreme to control the competition and the ad market. Is this what you want?

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