17. October 2021

ACCC calls for curbs on Google’s ad tech dominance


The competitors watchdog needs extra energy to chop Google’s dominance within the digital promoting expertise market, warning the search engine large has an excessive amount of management over how advertisements are delivered on the web.

Citing its inquiry into the sector, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) mentioned on Tuesday that greater than 90 per cent of ad impressions handed by at the least one Google service in 2020.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says Google’s monopoly over the ad tech sector ‘harms’ advertisers, publishers and consumers.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says Google’s monopoly over the ad tech sector ‘harms’ advertisers, publishers and customers. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

It mentioned Google makes use of its dominance to desire its personal providers and defend them from competitors by stopping rival ad tech providers from accessing advertisements on platforms resembling YouTube.

“Google’s activities across the supply chain also mean that, in a single transaction, Google can act on behalf of both the advertiser (the buyer) and the publisher (the seller) and operate the ad exchange connecting these two parties,” the regulator mentioned. “As the interests of these parties do not align, this creates conflicts of interest for Google which can harm both advertisers and publishers.”

The ACCC mentioned Australia’s competitors legal guidelines aren’t sturdy sufficient to deal with the competitors issues created by Google’s market place, which is underpinned by a number of components together with its entry to client and different information, entry to unique stock and integration throughout its ad tech providers.


ACCC chairman Rod Sims mentioned whereas the regulator was contemplating launching particular allegations in opposition to Google underneath the present authorized framework, the federal authorities ought to present new rules to deal with the search engine’s dominance.

“Many of the concerns we identified in the ad tech supply chain are similar to concerns in other digital platform markets, such as online search, social media and app marketplaces,” he mentioned.

“These markets are also dominated by one or two key providers, which benefit from vertical integration, leading to significant competition concerns. In many cases these are compounded by a lack of transparency.”

The regulator’s report, launched on Tuesday, recommends laws be applied to deal with conflicts of curiosity, forestall anti-competitive self-preferencing, and guarantee rival ad tech suppliers are capable of compete on advantage.

Google has been capable of entrench its place in ad tech by key acquisitions resembling video sharing website YouTube in 2006, ad expertise platform DoubleClick in 2007, and cell promoting firm AdMob in 2009. Meanwhile, its entry to a big quantity of person information gathered by providers resembling search, maps and YouTube provides it a further benefit, the ACCC mentioned, including the corporate doesn’t disclose the extent to which it exploits that info.

The tech large has criticised the inquiry for focusing on a slim a part of the ad tech market by solely analysing open show ad practices. The ACCC estimates $2.8 billion was spent on open show promoting in Australia final 12 months, round 42 per cent of whole show and 30 per cent of whole digital promoting spend for the 12 months.

In the US, Google has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly utilizing anti-competitive ways to close out show ad opponents in methods resembling encouraging customers to bid by Google immediately.

The federal authorities mentioned it will rigorously contemplate the “findings and recommendations” delivered by the ACCC.

“Digital platforms have fundamentally changed the way that media content is produced, distributed and consumed,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mentioned. “It is therefore important that our regulatory frameworks keep pace with the changes being driven by digital platforms.”

Meanwhile, Google mentioned its expertise providers have been delivering advantages for Australian companies and customers, including that its promoting enterprise had “supported over 15,000 Australian jobs and contributed $2.45 billion to Australia’s economy annually”.

“As one of the many advertising technology providers in Australia, we will continue to work collaboratively with industry and regulators to support a healthy ads ecosystem,” a Google spokesman mentioned.

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Kenny Perry

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