Google has been fined $268 million and agreed to overhaul its advertising platform to settle an antitrust investigation in France.
This comes after the French Competition Authority (FCA) found Google guilty of using its publisher ad management platform to strengthen its advertising market, where several publishers sell their inventory in real-time.
The FCA found that Google gave the upper hand to its own services by releasing the flow of data between the manager, formerly known as DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), and the exchange, formerly known as DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX).
First, Google made sure the DFP worked better with AdX. The former also shared key data with the exchange, such as the price of the winning bids. AdX then used the data to optimize future bids in competition with other ad exchanges.
AdX retaliated by working better with DFP.
The ease with which both sides of the Google platform worked together limited the appeal of competing ad servers and managers, allowing the company to increase its market share. Google combined DFP and AdX 2018 into a platform called Ad Manager.
As part of the deal, Google committed to the following:
- Google will allow third-party platforms wider access to data.
- Google will improve the way Google Ad Manager works with other competing platforms.
- Google will no longer share competitor pricing data with AdX.
- Google will form an independent trustee to oversee the changes until early 2022.
- Google will publish some of these changes worldwide.
Big tech companies have come under increasing criticism recently, as their revenues grow with increasing market power. In the U.S., the Justice Department filed a similar antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming to have pushed rivals out of the search game.
For more information, read the original story in Arstechnica.