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Domination and Collusion: Inside an Unedited Antitrust Proceedings Against Google’s Adtech Business

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On Friday, a New York judge opened most of the Texas-led antitrust proceedings against Google, and the devil is in unedited details.

According to judge P. Kevin Castel, Google’s claim that the application needed to be edited for privacy reasons did not hold water.

The multilateral proceedings, among many other accusations, allege that anti-competitive advertising technology policies and collusion with Facebook are tampering with the digital advertising market. The proceeding was originally filed in December last year. An amended and significantly edited version of the proceedings was filed in the summer.

However, the version released on Friday is almost unedited. You can read it completely, but here are some of the juicy highlights.

Existential threat

The edited proceedings have already shed light on Google’s plan to invalidate header bids by giving their own exchange an advantage, even if another exchange submits a higher bid.

The unedited version shows how deeply Google was worried about the increase in header bids.

What’s under those black squares? move. The proceedings allegedly feared header bidding because it jeopardized Google’s ability to demand significant 19% to 22% reductions in all advertising transactions.

The full text is as follows: Google saw the promotion of genuine competitive header bids as a major threat. In Google’s words, it was an existential threat.

Jedi blue

In the unsealed proceedings, instead of Facebook’s support for Open Bidding, Google allegedly agreed to charge Facebook’s low rates and provide Facebook’s information, speed, and other benefits to the header bidding auction. It also contains details for JediBlue, the code name for.

In Google’s currently unedited terms, the proceedings say that the Jedi program creates suboptimal yields for publishers and poses a serious risk that media coverage will be denied if exposed to the outside world.

Very high tax

However, complaints claim that Google’s dominance in the online ecosystem produces fairly optimal yields for itself, such as 22% to 42% of advertising costs flowing through the system.

McKee McKee

In addition to the match rate commitment, Google allegedly promised Facebook an 80% match rate for mobile inventory auctions and a 60% match rate for web inventory (excluding Safari) auctions. Google helped Facebook identify users at auctions.

It’s a lot of black. This is what it says:

In fact, since signing the deal, Google and Facebook have been working closely together to help Facebook recognize users at auctions.

For example, Google and Facebook have integrated software development kits (SDKs) that allow Google to pass Facebook data for user ID cookie verification. They also coordinated with each other to harm publishers through the adoption of unified pricing rules …

The two companies are also working together to improve Facebook’s ability to recognize users using cookie-blocked browsers, Apple devices, and Apple Safari browsers, competing for better privacy for users. Avoiding the efforts of big tech companies.

For example, according to a discussion between Facebook employees on April 2, 2019, Facebook had a problem collating users in the Apples Safari browser. Google shared that Facebook’s match rate is about the same as what Google saw for other auctioneers. However, Facebook employees will allow Google to start a detailed discussion with Product and Legal so that FB can collect the signal on the client (using javascript) and G can pass it to the bid request. Said I was ready to do it.

Google has suggested that Facebook use JavaScript in its publisher properties to better identify users. By enabling Facebook to better identify users in advertising auctions, Google helps Facebook network FAN bids and win more frequently in Google auctions than other bidders.

Project NERA

However, while Google allegedly helped Facebook win, the lawsuit alleged that the same was not true of its relationship with the publisher.

First, there was the Project Bernanke Google program, which uses information from publishers’ advertising servers to enhance their unique ad purchasing technology. And then there was the project NERA. This is the secret (and newly unedited) name of Google’s efforts to build a closed ecosystem from the otherwise open Internet.

According to the proceedings, the purpose of both Project NERA and Privacy Sandbox is to limit the ability of publishers to identify and track users and to establish themselves as mediators of identification and targeting on the open web.

To achieve this, the proceedings allege that Google’s powerful armed publishers give them exclusive access to their inventories by setting them in losing / losing scenarios.

For example, Google has introduced the ability for users to log in to the Chrome browser and has begun automatic login for users who have logged in to other Google services such as Gmail and YouTube.

According to the lawsuit, Google has given these users permission to track users across the open web and on independent publisher sites in their Chrome browser. These users had to give Google permission to sell Google’s own advertising space using this new Chrome tracking data. Google uses Chrome to avoid reliance on cookie tracking technology.

As a result of these efforts, publishers are no longer able to use their own audience data exclusively, the proceedings say. This has had the effect of reducing the value of its own ad space while benefiting from selling ads on Google’s own properties such as YouTube.

The proceedings continue even after using Chrome to track publisher users. Instead of exclusively managing the advertising space, Google will provide publishers with deeper access to their user data.

If the publisher opposes the new monopoly terms, Google will continue to use Chrome to collect data about users and sell more Google Ads at the expense of the publisher’s advertising space.

Not so AMP

Similarly, the proceedings accused Google of deliberately slowing the loading time of non-AMP ads “by giving an artificial 1 second delay” so that Google AMP could get a “good comparison boost.” I’m blaming you.

Restricting non-AMP ads will slow down header bidding. Google can use this as proof to blame the header bid for being too late.

Google praised AMP loudly and often as a technology that helped speed up page loading, but the proceedings “internally, Google employees said [publicly] Justify [Google] Slow something down. “

Secret meeting

And Google claims to collude with many other big tech platforms in terms of privacy.

Google has been accused of secretly meeting with competitors such as Facebook, Apple and Microsoft to discuss ways to prevent and thwart consumer privacy efforts.

In a July 2019 document quoted in the proceedings, prepared prior to the meeting, Google allegedly stated that it had already succeeded in slowing and delaying. [ePrivacy Regulation] And I’ve worked behind the scenes with other companies.

The same note pointed out that Google wanted to take advantage of meetings with competitors to find consistency and narrow gaps in our position and priorities regarding children’s privacy and safety.

According to the proceedings, Google sought to curb Microsoft, especially concerned that Microsoft took children’s privacy more seriously than Google.

Other nuggets

The currently unsealed proceedings also reveal many new details about high Google fees and its huge market share:

Google’s AdX Exchange processes approximately 11 billion transactions per day for hundreds of thousands of publishers and advertisers. In the words of a senior Google employee [t]His analogy is when Goldman or Citibank owns the New York Stock Exchange. According to internal documents, Google’s app advertising network, AdMob, has eight times the market share of its closest competitor, Facebook’s audience network. According to Google’s internal documents, publishers typically make about 80% of their revenue from just 20% of their impressions. Advertising exchanges typically charge publishers 5% to 20% of the clearing price. However, Google’s take rate is between 19% and 22%, which is two to four times the price of its closest exchange competitor. And on the Google Display Network, Google’s charges are even higher, between around 32% and 40%, which means they charge smaller guys than AdX’s larger partners. GDN is likely to be used by small publishers and advertisers. However, Google’s ad buying tools have won over 80% of AdX-hosted auctions.

Or completely: Google executives considered creating a completely neutral platform like NYSE, but eventually owning an exchange and giving priority access to Google’s buy-side intermediaries. So I chose to stack the decks.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.adexchanger.com/platforms/dominance-and-collusion-inside-the-unredacted-antitrust-lawsuit-against-googles-ad-tech-business/

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