Google Faces U.K., EU Class Action Suits Over Claims It Deprived Publishers Of Ad Revenue

Google is facing a threat overseas through class action lawsuits alleging that it deprived publishers of advertising revenue.  

Complaints are pending in the U.K. and EU totaling £21.68 billion in claims. They are being pursued by British law firm Humphries Kerstetter and Belgian firm Geradin Partners. The EU case would be filed in the Netherlands.

The complaints have not yet been filed. But they apparently will assert that Google has harmed publishers by using its ad auction technology to pull in advertising on its own behalf and deprive them of revenue. 

“Publishers, including local and national news media who play a vital role in our society, have long been harmed by Google’s anticompetitive conduct,” said Damien Geradin, of Geradin Partners, according to The Guardian.  



Geradin added, “It is time that Google owns up to its responsibilities and pays back the damages it has caused to this important industry. “

The class actions would include newspapers, magazines, blogs and other publishers that carry banner advertising, the Telegraph reports. 

“This includes news websites up and down the country with large daily readerships as well as the thousands of small business owners who depend on advertising revenue, be it from their fishing website, food blog, football fanzine or other online content they have spent time creating,” said Toby Starr, a partner in Humphries Kerstetter, according to The Guardian. 

A Google spokesperson made this statement to The Guardian: “Google works constructively with publishers across Europe – our advertising tools, and those of our many adtech competitors, help millions of websites and apps fund their content, and enable businesses of all sizes to effectively reach new customers. These services adapt and evolve in partnership with those same publishers. This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. When we receive the complaint, we’ll fight it vigorously.”


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