Google pays about 30 billion yen in antitrust lawsuit and is forced to change the operation of the platform


Marco Verch | Flickr

Google had been sued by French authorities for antitrust violations over its advertising platform, but it was reported on June 7, 2021 that Google responded to the settlement. Google will pay $ 270 million (about 29.5 billion yen) to French regulators and will accept the authorities' proposals to completely review the practices of advertising platforms.

The Autorité de la concurrence hands out a €220 millions fine to Google for favoring its own services in the online advertising sector | Autorité de la concurrence

Some changes to our ad technology

Antitrust settlement forces Google to revamp ad platform | Ars Technica

When a website operator displays advertisements on a website, the main methods are ``selling ad space directly to advertisers,'' and ``various websites sell ad space to many advertisers through auctions. There are two methods of selling at The latter, known as programmatic advertising , has become central to digital advertising in recent years. Programmatic advertising auctions inventory through various “exchanges,” usually with one server coordinating the auction and winning bid.

As of June 2021, Google provides a service called ' Google Ad Manager ' for managing ad distribution. Google Ad Manager is a service that started in 2018, and is an integration of the ad distribution management tool 'DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)' and the exchange 'DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX)'. increase. Regulators argued that the merger gave Google privileges not available to other exchanges.

There are two main claims made by regulators. First, Google realized that working with DFP would make AdX work better, so they integrated and let the two share important data, such as winning bids. Within the Google Ad Manager network, third-party exchanges also participate in the auction, but Google predicts the ``optimal winning bid'' based on the shared data. This data was used when competing with other exchanges.

Also, AdX's platform allows only partial interoperability with competing ad servers on DFP, and despite AdX's privileged access to advertiser demand, it has limited access to competitors. The authorities also said they had adopted 'standards that enable fair competition.' In other words, Google provides the great advantage that website operators can access both 'management tools' and 'exchanges' through Ad Manager, while allowing competing exchanges to fully interoperate on Ad Manager. Not doing so was seen as a problem.

In a settlement with the authorities, Google not only paid a fine, but also accepted a proposal that includes the following three points.

1: Improved data access
Devise a method to make auction data equally accessible to all buyers participating in an ad exchange using Ad Manager.

2: Make Ad Manager more flexible
This includes enabling custom pricing rules for ads in sensitive categories and improving interoperability between Ad Manager and third-party ad servers.

3: Ensure transparency
The agency asked that 'Google not use data from third-party SSPs to optimize its own exchange's winning bids in a way that other SSPs cannot replicate.' Google pledges to 'unify publisher ad servers and ad exchanges into Google Ad Manager and move to first-price auctions, removing complexity and creating a fair and transparent marketplace for all.' .

The above promise made by Google is binding only in France, but this settlement is one example, and it is possible that similar content will be recognized outside France in the future. Apart from the French lawsuit, Google's advertising business is also being investigated for antitrust violations in the United States.

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