France Fined €268 Million to Google for Abusing Advertising Market

Google name written on a building in different colours

French regulator fined €268 million to google for abusing its “dominant position” in the online advertising market. The penalty is part of a settlement reached between three media groups and google. 

News Corp, French daily Le Figaro, and Belgium’s Groupe Rossel — accused Google in 2019 of abusing a dominant market position over ad sales for their websites and apps.

The French competition authority said Google provided an unfair advantage to Adx. Ad Manager shared pricing information on rivals to give AdX an advantage over other auction platforms.

The competition authority, after an investigation, found google mostly favored its tools for buying and selling. As a result, they advertised their products over the rivals. Google had finally agreed to make changes to its practice as the result of the investigation. 

Google by blog post said they would make changes to Ad manager.” We have agreed on a set of commitments to make it easier for publishers to make use of data and use our tools with other ad technologies,” said Google.

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It is not the first google has been fined. Google has a long history of violating EU laws. In 2019, the company was fined €1.5bn by the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers.

In 2018, the EU competition authority fined the company a record €4.3bn for its Android mobile operating system to block rivals. A year earlier, Google was hit with a €2.4bn fine for hindering rival shopping comparison websites.

The French regulator said this action would empower the other publishers who felt the disadvantage. They can also seek damage from Google. 

The French finance minister welcomed the decision and said this step would rebalance the power tech giants have in advertising.

Google used its vertically integrated business model in display advertising to gain an advantage over other competitors,” said Isabelle de Silva, the president of the authority, on Monday. 

This is the first investigation in the world that examines the display advertising space where Google is dominant, and the first time Google has agreed to a settlement with engagements. As a result, this case will be of interest to other regulators who are looking at the online ad market and technologies.”

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The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it’s the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies,” said de Silva.

The French Finance Minister said, “The practices put in place by Google to favor its advertising technologies have affected press groups, whose business model is heavily dependent on ad revenues,” he said. “These are serious practices, and they have been rightly sanctioned.”

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