Gannett filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Google and parent company Alphabet, alleging that Google has monopolies in the ad technology market that have hurt local news. “The lawsuit aims to restore competition in the digital advertising market and end Google’s monopoly, which will encourage investment in newsrooms and news content across the country.” Gannett wrote in a press release.
In his lawsuitsays Gannett that while the digital advertising market has exploded, publishers aren’t seeing as much of that money because Google and Alphabet have “acquired and maintained monopolies” for ad technology used to buy and sell ads by Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords ) with the AdX exchange where publishers sell their inventory. acquired Google Double click in 2007 to build out its ad tech stack, and Gannett claims the company is the “dominant player” for every step of the ad sales process.
“Google controls how publishers sell their ad spaces, and it forces publishers to sell growing portions of that ad space to Google at low prices,” Gannett said. “The result is dramatically less revenue for publishers and Google’s ad-tech rivals, while Google enjoys exorbitant monopoly profits.” In a USA today editorialGannett CEO and Chairman Mike Reed argued that “Google is abusing its control over the ad server monopoly” at the expense of local news organizations.
Google is pushing back the claims. “These claims are simply not true,” Dan Taylor, VP of Google Ads, said in a statement. “Publishers have many options to choose from when it comes to using ad technology to make money – in fact, Gannett uses dozens of competing advertising services, including Google Ad Manager. And when publishers choose to use Google tools, they keep the vast majority of revenue. We will show the court how our advertising products benefit publishers and help them fund their online content.
Gannett’s lawsuit is just the latest legal action against Google regarding its online advertising technology. In January, the US Department of Justice and eight states sued the company for its alleged monopoly in the advertising market. Earlier this month, the European Commission issued a formal statement of objections to the company’s ad technology, saying the company “breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in the ad technology industry”. And the British Competition and Markets Authority launched a second investigation into the company’s advertising activities in 2022.