The French Competition Authority imposed this Monday on Google a fine of € 220 million for having abused its dominant position in the online advertising market.
The sanction is the result of a negotiation with the US internet giant. Google accepted the charges and assumed a series of commitments and obligations in its advertising policy, explained the Competition Authority in a statement.
At the heart of this issue is its dominant position in ad servers for web page publishers and mobile apps. The company gave him a preferential treatment of its own Google Ad Manager brand technologies.
Thus, it could benefit, to the detriment of its competitors, both the operation of its DPF advertising server – through which users put their advertising spaces up for sale – and that of the AdX platform, which organizes the auction of those spaces. .
Specifically, DPF gave advantages to the sales platform and simultaneously AdX favored Google’s advertising server.
One of the main mechanisms used was that DPF communicated to AdX the prices proposed by the competitors and thus could use that information to adjust its proposals in the auctions and increase its chances of winning them.
To do this, it modified its commissions based on the pressure it observed from competitors who, for their part, did not have these elements.
Google limited the attractiveness of other ad servers, which allowed it to “significantly increase its market share and its revenues, which are already very high,” the regulator noted.
At the origin of this process is the complaint of three companies in the press sector: News Corp. (publisher among others of The Wall Street Journal, The Sun o The Daily Telegraph), Le Figaro and the group Roussel The Voice (which publishes different regional headlines in France).
The president of the Competition Authority, Isabelle de Silva, considered Google’s actions “very serious” and stressed that it is the first decision in the world on the complex auction algorithm processes with which online advertising works.
In his opinion, the sanction and commitments of the US search engine, which will be mandatory for a period of three years, “will reestablish a level playing field for all actors” and will give web page publishers the ability to maximize their advertising space.
In addition to the fine, Google you will have to allow your competitors a mechanism that enables the interoperability of your DFP server with others. It is about giving them the possibility of “a competition on merits” so that AdX and other external platforms have equal access to information about the auctions.
Google promised to appoint an “independent agent”, to whom it will remunerate and who will be in charge of controlling that its new obligations are fulfilled. That agent must transmit the available information to the Competition Authority.