The report comes as the Justice Department is drafting an antitrust lawsuit against the company
Published on May 18, 2020 | via AdAge
Google’s dominance of the $130 billion digital advertising market is harming advertisers, publishers, and consumers, according to a new paper that outlines how the U.S. could bring an antitrust case against the internet giant.
The analysis sets out how Google used a series of acquisitions to build a controlling position in the technology ecosystem that delivers ads across the web, and now uses that power to exclude competitors and monopolize the market. The end result is that buyers and sellers of ad space have no choice but to go through Google—and are losing money in the process, the report says.
“What we can see is troubling and concerning,” says Fiona Scott Morton, a Yale University economist and one of the authors of the paper. “There’s a lot of public evidence that suggests anticompetitive conduct and significant harm to consumers and competition.”
The paper comes out of a research project into technology platforms funded by the Omidyar Network, an organization co-founded by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar that’s one of a number of philanthropy groups funding research and public-interest campaigns promoting stronger antitrust enforcement.
Billed as a road map for bringing a monopolization case against Google, the report comes as the Justice Department is drafting a lawsuit against the company, accusing it of antitrust violations. The department’s antitrust division and state attorneys general have been investigating the company since last year over its conduct in the digital advertising market.
While it doesn’t unearth new facts about Google—its dominance of the digital advertising ecosystem stretches back years—the paper summarizes in detail how Google’s conduct could be violating antitrust laws.
Washington-based tech policy organization Public Knowledge, which is running the research project funded by Omidyar, plans to share the paper with the Justice Department and the states.
The paper focuses on the display ads that appear across the web. Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., owns much of the chain of technology tools that connects advertisers like Procter & Gamble to publishers like ESPN.com, enabling the instant delivery of ads as users visit a website.