Associated newspapers and Mail Media are filing an antitrust lawsuit against Google over advertising

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MailOnline / DailyMail.com is suing Google for allegedly anti-competitive behavior over the search giant’s ability to abuse its dominance in the ad technology industry to harm rivals and manipulate ad auctions and news search results in a way that punishes online publishers.

The antitrust suit against Google was filed Tuesday in the US District Court in New York by Associated Newspapers Ltd. and Mail Media Inc, the parent company of DailyMail.com and MailOnline.

The lawsuit accuses Google of using its market dominance to increase profits for itself by engaging in bid manipulation and search bias that harm publishers and ad rivals.

It is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed against Google by the US Department of Justice and state attorney general accusing the technology company of monopolizing and cutting out competition.

Separately, antitrust enforcement officials in the US, UK and Australia have also investigated Google’s behavior.

DailyMail.com sues Google for allegedly anti-competitive behavior over the search giant’s ability to abuse its dominance in the ad technology industry to harm rivals and manipulate ad auctions and news search results

The new lawsuit filed by Daily Mail alleges that Google has illegally built its dominant position in the ad technology industry over the past decade and now controls the tools publishers and advertisers use to buy and sell online advertising space in what is now an industry of $ 125 billion. .

These tools include the software publishers use to sell ad inventory and the marketplace, also known as an exchange, where millions of ad spaces are sold at auctions every day.

Google is using its control over those ad technology tools by forcing publishers to use its own ad server, which it has linked to its own exchange, in an effort to eliminate competition from rival exchanges, the lawsuit said.

The search giant’s ad server controls more than 90 percent of the market for ad serving by publishers, and the exchange controls more than 50 percent of the exchange market, the suit said.

According to the complaint, Google is making it difficult for publishers to compare prices between different exchanges, reducing the number of exchanges that can submit bids for ad space, and even using bids from competing exchanges to determine their own bids.

This lack of competition means Google is at the forefront as it controls a growing portion of the remaining ad space, the lawsuit alleges.

“This lawsuit aims to hold Google to account for their continued anti-competitive behavior, including ad auction manipulation and news search results, bid manipulation, algorithm bias and misuse of its market power to harm their ad rivals,” said a Daily Mail spokesperson.

Despite increased criticism from regulators and governments around the world, Google’s continued behavior clearly shows that they are unwilling to change their behavior.

DailyMail.com is pursuing this antitrust action for compensation and enforcement action to restore competition in the monopolized markets and protect news content for readers. This includes, but is not limited to, eliminating forced tying of products, bid manipulation, and bias in news search results, while also providing transparency when making changes to their algorithm.

According to the complaint, Google is punishing publishers by allegedly manipulating search rankings if they don't sell enough ad space through the technology company's own exchange.  For example, keywords pertaining to Daily Mail's recent coverage of the British royals and Piers Morgan, the editor of DailyMail.com in general, are not featured prominently in Google search results.

According to the complaint, Google is punishing publishers by allegedly manipulating search rankings if they don’t sell enough ad space through the technology company’s own exchange. For example, keywords pertaining to Daily Mail’s recent coverage of the British royals and Piers Morgan, the editor of DailyMail.com in general, are not featured prominently in Google search results.

The Daily Mail share for the keywords

The Daily Mail share for the keywords “Piers Morgan” accounted for 1.57 percent of the visibility share on Google. Meanwhile, The Independent and the Guardian had 13.7 percent and 11.8 percent search visibility

The keyword 'Prince Phillip' had a 1.34 percent visibility share on Google, compared to the BBC's 17 percent

The keyword ‘Prince Phillip’ had a 1.34 percent visibility share on Google, compared to the BBC’s 17 percent

“DailyMail.com is a global leader in digital news and is taking the necessary steps to address Google’s damage to publishers and protect freedom of expression.”

According to the complaint, Google is punishing publishers by allegedly manipulating search rankings if they don’t sell enough ad space through the technology company’s own exchange.

For example, keywords pertaining to Daily Mail’s recent coverage of the British royals and Piers Morgan, the editor of DailyMail.com in general, are not featured prominently in Google search results.

Data shows that the Daily Mail’s visibility share on Google’s search results pages was only 1.65 percent for the search terms “ Harry and Meghan ” between March 1 and March 11, compared to the BBC’s 16.62 percent.

The Daily Mail share for the keywords “Piers Morgan” accounted for 1.57 percent of the visibility share on Google. Meanwhile, The Independent and the Guardian had 13.7 percent and 11.8 percent search visibility.

The keyword ‘Prince Phillip’ had a 1.34 percent visibility share on Google, compared to the BBC’s 17 percent.

In June 2019, Google Daily Mail reportedly punished for a period of three months by removing it from search results because the news outlet didn’t sell that much ad inventory through the search giant’s exchange.

Despite Google’s commitments to Daily Mail, there were no issues with the search algorithm, the lawsuit alleges that the technology company regularly adjusts the search results page and algorithm to favor certain publishers.

The lawsuit alleges that Google’s Daily Mail search traffic was “ restored ” as quickly as it disappeared in September 2019 after it was forced to sell twice as much inventory through Google’s exchange.

The federal lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, demands that Google cease its alleged misconduct and provide transparency in its search algorithm.

A Google spokesperson said Mail’s allegations in the lawsuit are “completely inaccurate.”

“Using our ad technology tools does not affect how a publisher’s website ranks in Google Search. More broadly, we compete in a crowded and competitive ad technology space where publishers have and exercise multiple options, ”the spokesperson said.

The Daily Mail itself empowers dozens of ad technology companies to sell and manage their ad space, including Amazon, Verizon and more. We will defend ourselves against these meritorious claims. ‘

According to the complaint, Google is punishing publishers by allegedly manipulating search rankings if they don't sell enough ad space through the technology company's own exchange.  In June 2019, Google Daily Mail allegedly punished for a period of three months (above) by making it disappear from search results overnight

According to the complaint, Google is punishing publishers by allegedly manipulating search rankings if they don’t sell enough ad space through the technology company’s own exchange. In June 2019, Google Daily Mail allegedly punished for a period of three months (above) by making it disappear from search results overnight

Google is facing similar allegations in a lawsuit filed by Texas and a group of other states in December.

That lawsuit, which is part of a series filed against Google and Facebook late last year, was filed in Texas and labels Google an “ internet goliath. ”

It focuses on the company’s dominance in ad technology and accuses the company of violating antitrust laws in the way it manages its online advertising activities.

The lawsuit was prompted by complaints from publishers and other companies whose publications depend on ad revenue to survive.

“Google has repeatedly used its monopolistic power to control pricing (and) engage in market collusions to manipulate auctions in a massive violation of justice,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said at the time.

He added that Google “ cut out its competition and crowned itself the king of online advertising. ”

“If the free market was a baseball game, Google positioned itself as the pitcher, the batter and the umpire,” said Paxton.

The nine states that joined Texas are Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, and Idaho.

Texas and 11 other states had previously joined the Department of Justice’s landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google filed in October.

That federal lawsuit alleged that Google was illegally using its market power to limp rivals.

It accused Google of building a great search engine, but then fending off the competition through exclusive deals with Apple and others.

The lawsuit also alleged that Google had abused its dominance in search ads.