June 10, 2023 1:14 am
  • By Chris Vallance
  • Technologies reporter

46 minutes ago

A lawsuit has been filed against Google to seek £3.4bn ($four.2bn) in compensation for publishers for lost income.

The claim, by ex-Guardian technologies editor Charles Arthur, alleges Google unlawfully employed a dominant position in on-line adverts in a way that lowered what publishers could make from them.

Google stated it would fight the “speculative and opportunistic” action vigorously.

It is the second such lawsuit, following a related case was launched in November.

That was brought by former Ofcom director Claudio Pollack, who is searching for up to £13.6bn in damages from the tech giant.

The situations concern marketing technologies – adtech – that decides in a fraction of a second which on-line adverts buyers will see, how a great deal they will price, and how a great deal publishers will earn.

On the net show marketing is the major supply of revenue for several sites.

The UK competitors regulator, the Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA), is also investigating Google’s dominance in marketing technologies.

In the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, Mr Arthur claims that since of Google’s abuse of its position, the rates of adtech solutions had been inflated, and ad sales revenues of publishers had been unlawfully lowered.

“The CMA is at present investigating Google’s anti-competitive conduct in adtech, but they never have the energy to make Google compensate these who have lost out. We can only proper that incorrect by means of the courts, which is why I am bringing this claim,” he wrote.

Collective claims

Each legal claims ask the court – the Competitors Appeal Tribunal – to certify their claims as “opt-out”, which means each and every relevant publisher would be automatically incorporated in the case unless they select otherwise.

These are collective claims, typically referred to as a class action in the United States, which only became probable in the UK in 2015. Mainly because they are brought on behalf of a entire group or class, the damages can be pretty significant.

Unless Mr Arthur and Mr Pollack agree to collaborate, the tribunal will have to determine which a single ought to lead the collective claim

Numerous competitors

Google told the BBC its marketing tools, “and these of our several adtech competitors, enable millions of sites and apps fund their content material, and allow enterprises of all sizes to correctly attain new buyers”.

Though the CMA identified that Google owned the biggest provider in 3 essential places of adtech, the firm maintains it has several competitors. It also says its adtech costs are reduce than, or match, market averages.

But in a case launched in January, the US Justice division accused Google of getting an “market behemoth” that had “corrupted genuine competitors in the adtech market by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize manage of the wide swath of higher-tech tools employed by publishers”.

On Tuesday, Google asked a court to dismiss the case – arguing that the US government had overstated its hold on the industry.

In 2021 the French competitors regulator, Autorité de la concurrence, fined Google €220m for favouring its personal solutions in the on-line marketing sector.

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