A lawsuit has been brought against Google in an effort to collect compensation for lost revenue sustained by publishers in the amount of £3.4 billion ($4.2 billion).
The claim, which was brought forward by Charles Arthur, a former technology editor at the Guardian, asserts that Google unlawfully used a dominant position in online advertisements in a way that decreased the amount of money that publishers could make from them.
Google has stated that it will actively contest the action that it deems “speculative and opportunistic.”
This is the second lawsuit of its kind, the first of which was filed in November and included a similar situation.
This lawsuit was filed by Claudio Pollack, who formerly served as the director of Ofcom. He is requesting that the tech giant pay him up to 13.6 billion pounds in damages.
The cases involve advertising technology, also known as adtech, which, within a fraction of a second, determines which online advertisements customers will see, how much those advertisements will cost, and how much publishers will earn.
Many websites rely primarily on revenue generated from online display advertising as their primary source of revenue.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is the competition regulator in the United Kingdom, is also looking into Google’s dominant position in the advertising technology sector.
In the complaint that was submitted on Thursday, Mr. Arthur asserts that the prices of adtech services were inflated, and the ad sales revenues of publishers were unlawfully reduced, all as a result of Google’s abuse of its dominant position in the market.
We can only right that wrong through the courts, which is why I am bringing this claim, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating Google’s anti-competitive conduct in the adtech industry; however, the CMA does not have the power to make Google compensate those who have lost out.
Claims made together
Both of the legal claims submit a request to the court, which is known as the Competition Appeal Tribunal, to certify that their claims are “opt-out.” This means that every relevant publisher would be automatically included in the case unless they choose to participate otherwise.
These are collective claims, which in the United States are frequently referred to as a class action. The possibility of bringing such claims in the UK did not arise until 2015. When they are filed on behalf of an entire group or class, the damages that are sought can sometimes be quite substantial.
In the event that Messrs. Arthur and Pollack do not come to an agreement to work together, the tribunal will have to choose one of them to head the collective claim.
A great deal of rivals
According to a statement made by Google to the BBC, the company’s advertising technologies, in addition to those of its “many adtech competitors,” “help millions of websites and apps support their content and enable businesses of all kinds to efficiently reach new customers.”
Despite the fact that the CMA discovered that Google possessed the largest provider in three essential sectors of adtech, the company contends that it has a great deal of competition. In addition to this, it asserts that their adtech fees are either cheaper than or on par with industry averages.
However, in a case that was initiated in January, the United States Department of Justice accused Google of being a “industry behemoth” that had “corrupted legitimate competition in the adtech industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers.” This statement was made in reference to Google’s alleged efforts to “seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers.”
On Tuesday, Google filed a motion with a court requesting that the lawsuit be thrown out, alleging that the United States government had exaggerated its control on the market.
Google was fined a total of €220 million in 2021 by the French competition agency known as the Autorité de la concurrence for favoring its own services in the market for online advertising.