The ACCC also stressed that the company uses its position in the market to protect against the competition, providing significant advantages to its own and integrated services.
The Australian State Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed serious violations of the principles of fair competition in the country’s digital advertising and advertising technologies market. As the antitrust regulator pointed out in a report released on Tuesday, Google’s dominant position is damaging publishers, advertisers, and consumers.
According to the commission, “the legal measures provided for by the current legislation of Australia alone are not enough to ensure fair competition in the sector,” and therefore, it is necessary to develop a set of rules to regulate the digital advertising market. “Google <…> controls key links in the advertising and advertising technology supply chain. According to our estimates, in 2020, more than 90% of ads entered the market through one or more Google services. The dominant position of the platform is supported by many factors, including access to consumer data, exclusive technologies, as well as the ability to integrate all its advertising technologies,” the regulator said.
The ACCC also stressed that Google uses its position in the market to protect against the competition, providing significant advantages to its own and integrated services. The unique position of the platform allows it to benefit at the expense of others. “The structure of the corporation is built in such a way that within the framework of a single transaction, Google can act both on behalf of the buyer and behalf of the seller, <…> and since their interests cannot coincide, a conflict arises that harms both parties,” the commission’s report notes.
“We have identified systemic problems related to [Google’s] behavior over the years. The lack of competition of advertising technologies probably caused an increase in costs for all market players, and the low efficiency of the industry led to reducing the quality of online content. In the end, this will also affect consumers, who will have to pay more for the advertised products,” explained the head of the ACCC, Rod Sims.
To solve the problems of the advertising technology market, the regulator came to the country’s authorities with a recommendation to “create rules for regulating conflicts of interest and ensuring fair competition among advertising technology suppliers.” It is expected that the principles for creating these rules and the legal framework for their application will be presented by the commission in September 2022.