Google stymies media companies from chipping away at its data dominance

News Desk
1 July 2020, Wed
Published: 11:16

Google stymies media companies from chipping away at its data dominance

Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google upended plans by European media companies to block it from harvesting data about their readers and slash some of its dominance in online advertising, seven people involved in the talks said this month.

Publishers had expected to use data privacy measures going into effect Aug. 15 to bar Google from storing insights about readers, sapping the data advantage that has enabled it to dominate a market filled with advertisers hungry for information to target potential customers.

But Google said it will cut off publishers from a lucrative flow of ads if they follow through with curbing its data collection. Negotiations continue, but Google holds greater leverage because it dominates in both advertising tools and access to advertisers within the $100 billion annual global banner ads market.

“You have to basically implement what (Google) expect from you or you’re out of the market - you can’t do without them,” said Thomas Adhumeau, general counsel at S4M, which competes with Google in software for advertisers.

The publishers’ strategy and the ongoing discussions have not been previously reported.

Google repeatedly has outmaneuvered website owners and its competitors over the last decade to ensure its dominance. In several cases, publishers circumvented Google to attract higher prices for ads, only to see Google reassert itself as an indispensable cog.

Rivals and publishers contend some of Google’s actions were unlawfully anticompetitive, and authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Australia this year are considering pursuing penalties, with some even mulling breaking up Google.

Google describes the online ads industry as competitive and says its policies aim to square European Union privacy law with how its ad tools work.

Some websites and apps planned to omit the second permission. That would starve Google’s profile-building, while still allowing those properties to serve up personalized ads from Google’s clients.

But Google now says consumers must grant both permissions to get personalized ads when the new protocol launches Aug. 15.

Chetna Bindra, a senior product manager at Google, said its policy around TCF keeps the status quo. Source: Reuters

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