The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the company has been unlawfully utilizing its dominance in the digital advertising market to its advantage. The antitrust complaint further suggests that Google should be required to divest its ad management software. We’ll start off strong with an excerpt from the antitrust complaint:
‘Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.’
The Justice Department is accusing Google of using its control over the market for online search advertising and search advertising intermediation to preserve and extend its monopolies in those markets through exclusionary practices. Google currently owns and operates several advertisement platforms, such as AdSense and Ad Manager, and has faced legal scrutiny in the past for its search products.
Google has, however, not been silent on this front, as the massive tech innovation giant said the following in response to the findings of the Justice Department:
‘Doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.’
The Justice Department’s lawsuit also alleges that Google has not been transparent about the distribution of revenue generated from advertising. Both advertisers and website owners have complained that Google has not been clear about how the funds from advertising are divided between the ad publishers and the company itself.
Despite Google’s dominance in the advertising market, its share of digital ad revenue in the United States has been decreasing in recent years, going from 36.7% in 2016 to 28.8% in 2022. However, given its everpresent dominance, it might be time to start asking more questions centered around transparency and accountability.
Should companies like Google get to wade through the murky side of the law simply because they’re massive and support small businesses? Should tech giants be allowed to act like monopolies?