Google investigated over ‘dominance’ in ad market

The European Commission has opened an investigation into whether Google is dominating the online-advertising market at the expense of its rivals.

It will examine Google’s role in collecting data, selling advertising space, and acting as an online advertising intermediary. The commission is concerned the technology giant is making it hard for other online advertisers to compete. Google has said it will co-operate with the inquiry.

The fact the company is present “at all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising” is concerning, commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager said. “Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetize their online services,” she said.

“Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary. “A level playing field is of the essence for everyone in the supply chain. “Fair competition is important – both for advertisers to reach consumers on publishers’ sites and for publishers to sell their space to advertisers.”

The inquiry will look at:

  • the obligation to use Google’s services and or Google Ads to purchase display ads on YouTube
  • the obligation to use Google Ad Manager to service online display ads on YouTube
  • the apparent favoring of Google’s ad exchange, AdX, by its other services
  • the restrictions placed by Google on the ability of rival advertisers to access data about user identity or behavior
  • Google’s plans to prohibit third-party cookies on Chrome
  • Google’s plans to stop making the advertising identifier available to third parties on Android smart mobile devices


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