Online advertising: Google aims to abuse its dominant position in Italy

Google is in the crosshairs of the competition authority in Italy for possible abuse of a dominant position. The potential abuse concerns online display advertising.

Antitrust law challenges Google to “discriminate against the enormous amount of data collected by its applications in order to prevent its competitors (…) from effectively competing”. The agency stressed that Google’s behavior “also appears to have a strong impact on consumers”.

“The lack of competition (…) could reduce the resources allocated to website makers and publishers, thus affecting the quality of content intended for end users.” It could also “impede technological innovation for the development of advertising techniques that are less intrusive to consumers.” are “estimates the authority.

Online advertising sales in Italy in 2019 exceeded € 3.3 billion, or 22% of media resources. Display advertising alone amounted to 1.2 billion euros. Online ad sales are the second largest source of income for the media industry.

“Thanks to the cookies that are placed with the banners, popups or other forms of advertising messages that are visible when a website is accessed, advertisers, agencies and advertising brokers can retrieve relevant data on the website’s choice of user consumption and thus personalize subsequent campaigns by Messages are forwarded to content that interests the user, ”recalls the agency.

Abuse of a dominant position thanks to various Google tools

Google has the tools it needs to create profiles for every internet user. The group knows who likes what and can therefore place targeted advertising for everyone. The search engine is a tool like Android, YouTube / Gmail / Google Maps / etc. According to the authority, however, Google seems to have “committed discrimination, in particular by refusing to provide the decryption key for the Google ID”. All of this can be compared to the abuse of a dominant position in the eyes of the authority.