Google facing another probe as UK watchdog investigates company’s ad dominance

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Image Credit: The Guardian

Google is facing a new probe in the UK as the country’s Competition and Markets Authority launches an investigation into the company’s restrictions on competition’s ads come under the spotlight. This new probe will investigate the role Google plays in the “ad tech stack,” or the set of services that help the sale of online ads space between advertisers and sellers, Engadget reports. The CMA said that Google has strong positions at different levels of the ad tech stack and charges fees to both publishers and advertisers.

The Competition and Markets Authority is looking at three major parts of the stack which Google plays key roles, considering that it owns the largest providers for each. The UK watchdog will probe into the company’s practices for demand-side platforms, which provide advertisers and media agencies a way to buy a publisher’s space for advertising for many sources.

Other areas the CMA will investigate are Google’s practices as regards to exchange of ads that can automate the sale of publishers’ inventory, and Google’s publisher ad servers that manage a publisher’s inventory to decide which ad to show at a specific time based on the bids and direct deals for the space.

“Weakening competition in this area could reduce the ad revenues of publishers, who may be forced to compromise the quality of their content to cut costs or put their content behind paywalls. It may also be raising costs for advertisers which are passed on through higher prices for advertised goods and services,” said Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s Chief Executive per Engadget.

About a year ago, the CMA opened an investigation to ascertain whether google and Amazon were doing enough to fight fake reviews. To this end, the UK watchdog opened a formal probe to confirm whether this indeed is the case with the two tech giants.

Basically, the CMA in the first phase of its investigation, gathered further information to determine whether Amazon and Google broke the consumer law by not acting enough to protect shoppers from fake reviews.

The investigation came on the heels of an initial probe, which was initiated by the CMA in May 2020. The probe assessed the internal systems and processes of many platforms for identifying and dealing with fake reviews.

The CMA was also worried that Amazon’s systems have been lagging in terms of preventing and discouraging some sellers from manipulating product listings. Citing the example of how positive reviews from other products are being co-opted


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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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