Media Giant Gannett Takes on Google's Ad Monopoly 

Google faces lawsuit over ad tech monopoly:

  • Gannett, the largest US newspaper publisher, files a lawsuit alleging Google ad tech monopoly lawsuit in the online advertising industry.
  • Gannett aims to restore competition and claims Google’s practices have impacted revenue and local newsrooms adversely.
  • Google controls a significant portion of the market for “publisher ad servers” and “ad exchanges.”

Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the United States, has filed a lawsuit against Google in a Manhattan federal court, claiming that the tech giant has established a monopoly over the online advertising industry. The lawsuit, announced on Tuesday, accuses Google of monopolizing advertising technology markets and engaging in deceptive commercial practices. 

In its legal action, Gannett aims to restore competition in the digital advertising marketplace and put an end to Google’s alleged monopoly. The publisher argues that Google’s practices have suppressed revenue and negatively impacted local newsrooms by controlling important software and technology products used by publishers and advertisers to buy and sell ad space. 

According to Gannett, Google exerts control over 90 percent of the market for “publisher ad servers” and over 60 percent of the market for “ad exchanges.” The publisher claims that this control allows Google to manipulate all aspects of online advertising transactions, unfairly influencing the selling, buying, and exchange processes. 

As said in Silicon publication Gannett emphasized the significance of digital advertising revenue for publishers, stating, “Without free and fair competition for digital ad space, publishers cannot invest in their newsrooms.” The publisher seeks substantial damages, including actual, punitive, and triple damages, to address the alleged harm caused by Google’s actions. Highlighting the scale of Google’s dominance, Gannett pointed out that the tech giant earned over $30 billion in revenue from the sale of ad space on publishers’ websites in 2022, which was six times the digital advertising revenue of all US news publications combined. 

This lawsuit is not the first legal challenge faced by Google concerning its ad-tech business. In December 2020, a bipartisan group of 17 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Google, raising similar allegations of ad tech monopolization. The US Department of Justice and an additional 17 states also filed their own ad-tech lawsuit against Google in January 2023. 

Both the European Commission (EC) and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have been investigating Google’s dominance in advertising technology. The EC has accused Google of antitrust violations, while the CMA is conducting a separate probe into the company’s advertising practices. 

In response to the lawsuit, Google’s Vice President of Global Ads, Dan Taylor, refuted the claims made by Gannett. He stated, “Publishers have many options to choose from when it comes to using advertising technology to monetize,” adding that Gannett itself uses multiple competing ad services, including Google Ad Manager. Taylor emphasized that publishers retain most of the revenue when they choose to use Google tools. 

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