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More trouble for Google from Australian regulators

Paul Brislen, Editor. 10 February 2021, 8:44 am

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a damning draft report looking at the state of the Australian advertising market - and it points the finger squarely at the tech giants Google and Facebook.

The interim report, released late yesterday, "examines the digital display advertising supply chain in Australia, which enables the near instantaneous delivery of A$3.4 billion of digital display advertising opportunities on news, entertainment and other websites and apps each year," and suggests that Google's share of this advertising revenue could be as high as 90% of the total market.

"Google's significant presence across the whole ad tech supply chain, combined with its significant data advantage, means Google is likely to have the ability and the incentive to preference its own ad tech businesses in ways that affect competition," says ACCC's chair Rod Sims in a written statement.

"During this inquiry we have heard concerns from parties about potential conflicts of interest from Google's various roles in this industry. This includes Google very often acting on behalf of both publishers and advertisers for the same ad sale across the ad tech supply chain, while also selling its own ad inventory."

The report forms the basis for any future regulation and the ACCC is particularly interested in promoting competition, reducing Google's ability to self-prefer (something regulators in other locations, including the UK and Europe, are very interested in) and making costs and quality of service more transparent to advertisers.

Google is still in discussions with the Australian government over its use of professional news media and while it remains opposed to the idea of paying a regulated price for access to news content, the government remains committed to the concept and expects to see legislation introduced shortly.


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