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Daily Mail Owner Sues Google For Antitrust Practices Over Down Ranking UK Royal Family Coverage: WSJ

  • The Daily Mail’s owner has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google for abusing its market power by linking its search engine and ad-sales platform to pressurize publishers, the Wall Street Journal reports
  • The suit was filed by the Daily mail’s owner, Associated Newspapers, along with its U.S. unit called Mail Media in the Manhattan federal court.
  • Daily Mail alleged that Google penalizes publishers in search rankings if they failed to sell enough advertising space through Google’s marketplace.
  • Google’s alleged downranking of the Daily Mail’s 2021 U.K. royal family coverage in Google’s search results triggered the lawsuit.
  • According to a Texas lawsuit, Google’s “Project Bernanke” has allowed it to understand the competitor’s bidding behavior. Google has acknowledged the program but refuted the allegations.
  • The Daily Mail’s suit also alleged that Google’s phase-out of cookies in its Chrome web browser would increase advertisers’ difficulty to target ads.
  • Google has refuted the allegations in the suit, citing there is no correlation of ad tech tools on publisher website ranking in Google Search. Google said it competes in a crowded and competitive ad tech space where publishers could exercise multiple options.
  • In January, West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail parent company slapped an antitrust suit against Google and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB). Several other small publishers brought lawsuits against the tech companies over the “Jedi Blue” deal.
  • The U.S. Justice Department and attorney general in several states also filed antitrust lawsuits on Google. Google has denied its market power abuse allegations citing the competitiveness of the ad technology market.
  • The U.K.-based Daily Mail sought undetermined damages and sought transparency into Google’s news-search algorithm.
  • Google’s search engine is a significant web traffic source for many sites. However, Google also competed with publishers for online ad dollars and supplied tools to ad buyers. 
  • Google owns a 29% share of the U.S. digital ad market in 2020, based on eMarketer.
  • Price action: GOOG shares traded lower by 0.65% at $2,287.53 on the last check Tuesday.

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