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Israel antitrust body looking at Google Web ad dominance

Israel antitrust body looking at Google Web ad dominance Featured

The Antitrust Authority in Israel is looking into a complaint by Artimedia, a platform for video advertising, that Google's dominance of the Internet advertising market could constitute a possible restraint of trade.

A report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said until now there had been no move to investigate Google because nobody had lodged a complaint about a violation of trade law.'

The complaint claims that Google's online ad services "illustrate Google’s tremendous conglomerate power, which extends across the digital advertising continuum in all its forms. [It] sheds light on Google’s varied and sophisticated ways of exploiting its status to push competition away".

Google was hit with a €2.42 billion fine by the European Union in June for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance to give illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. The search giant has appealed against the fine.

It is likely to face another big fine from the EU over its AdSense advertising system before the year is out. A third fine, over the Android mobile operating system, is likely to be announced in 2018.

Haaretz said Google operated the Google Display Network, and a service known as DoubleClick for Publishers, which helped Web publishers manage ad inventories and upload ads.

While DFP is supposed to operate independently and offer ads from GDN and rival services, like Sikendo and Positive Mobile, Artimedia claims that DFP gives preference to GDN “in a malicious and sophisticated way.”

Rivals cannot access from DFP all the information they need to manage ad inventory, it claims.

Last month, the US state of Missouri launched an investigation into Google, seeking to determine whether the company had broken consumer protection and anti-trust laws.

Missouri attorney-general Josh Hawley said the probe would seek to determine if Google had broken the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and the state's anti-trust laws.

Google has faced no action by any government authorities in the US so far, with its close ties with the White House during Barack Obama's eight years as president said to be the main reason why it has avoided a probe into unfair competition. A probe was proposed by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012, but was not followed through.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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