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Details Revealed in Newly Unsealed Google Suit Projects Bernanke and Jedi Blue – AdExchanger

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The antitrust proceedings led by the State Attorney General over advertising practices against Google are like photos slowly focusing.

A revised complaint filed last year was opened in the New York District Court on Friday afternoon, revealing details of Project Bernanke, a Google program that uses information from publishers’ ad servers to enhance Google’s own ad-purchasing technology. became.

The new application goes deeper into Google’s alleged plan to mislead advertisers and publishers about the mechanics of advertising auctions.

An additional $ 9 between two bids, Google used to secretly raise advertiser bids using tools to ensure they always win advertisers using non-Google tools I put it in the pool. pic.twitter.com/gE5O8Yvvbv

Leah AntiTrustButVer1fy Nylen (@leah_nylen) January 14, 2022

A heavily edited proceeding, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, was originally filed in December 2020, followed by a revised version over the summer.

In October, a New York judge unsealed the proceedings, revealing quite juicy details such as Google’s AdX take rate (two to four times that of its closest competitor). Google prefers to intentionally slow down the loading time of non-AMP ads. More information about Jedi Blue, a secret program that partners with Facebook as part of an effort to kill header bids.

Price control

So what was really happening?

Google seems to have participated in some sort of third-price auction, as many publishers have brutally suspected for years. Google was able to see all bids taking place in favor of both the demand and the seller.

Demand-side platforms don’t know if they have submitted the highest bids, and publishers don’t know the scope of bids being placed. Google Ads (formerly known as Google Display Network) pays publishers based on the lowest bid and charges advertisers based on the highest bid. Google either puts the difference in your pocket or applies the difference to raise the bid and win the next auction. Google used this program (known as “Global Bernanke”) only when buyers purchased through Google’s SSP, AdX.

The result was that the program artificially lowered the bid density and artificially lowered the clearing price. In any case, the publisher loses.

Blue streak

The new complaint also includes Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook (fine! Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg approving the 2018 Jedi Blue Agreement, where Facebook bids its own header instead of providing Facebook information, speed, and more. Claims to agree not to create the product. Advantages at auction.

The increase in header bids around 2015 was a major threat to Google as rival exchanges were able to compete with Google on a more equal footing.

A previously unedited proceeding wrote that header bidding could reduce Google’s profit margin from 20% to about 5%, thereby threatening Google’s ability to justify its charges. I’m referencing an email sent by an unnamed Google executive.

Google then allegedly planned to crush header bids by establishing partnerships and developing software to protect its position. This includes open bidding, which allows publishers to route inventory to multiple exchanges at the same time.

The purpose of the entire Jedi program, so named because Google was playing Jedi mind tricks in the industry, was to get publishers to stop using header bidding themselves.

Facebook has not been nominated as a defendant in a proceeding against Google, but has been nominated as a defendant in several other antitrust proceedings, including those filed by the Federal Trade Commission.

And on Friday, the state AG coalition filed an appeal against the district court that ruled in the summer, dismissing its complementary Facebook antitrust proceedings. One of them is undecided.

A Google spokesperson said Texas-led complaints are still inaccurate and have no legal benefits, and Google’s advertising technology allows websites and apps to fund content and help small businesses reach customers around the world. I told Politico that it would help.

Get involved

Google’s misunderstood publishers and advertisers allege unedited proceedings (WSJ, January 2022)

Domination and Collusion: Inside an Unedited Antitrust Proceedings Against Google’s AdTech Business (AdExchanger, October 2021)

What Pub and Adtech are actually thinking about Google’s “Project Bernanke” (AdExchanger, April 2021)

Texas AG-led allegations of antitrust violations against Google, anti-competitive advertising technology policies, collusion with Facebook (AdExchanger, December 2020)

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.adexchanger.com/online-advertising/more-details-revealed-on-project-bernanke-and-jedi-blue-in-newly-unsealed-google-suit/

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