Daily Mail Owner Hits Google With Antitrust Suit Over Ad Market Power

The parent company of the Daily Mail is suing Google over allegations that the Silicon Valley giant has illegally maintained a monopoly in the digital ad space that has hurt the newspaper’s ad-supported business model, according to a complaint filed Tuesday, April 20, in Manhattan federal court. 

The newspaper hits Google over its market power in the digital ad space, as well as accusing the search giant of using its power to “punish publishers that do not submit to its practices.” 

“Google controls the ‘shelf space’ on publishers’ pages where ads appear, and it exploits that control to defeat competition for that ad space. Among other tactics, Google makes it difficult for publishers to compare prices among exchanges; reduces the number of exchanges that can submit bids; and uses bids offered by rival exchanges to set its own bids — a de facto bid rigging scheme,” the complaint states. 

A spokesperson for the publisher told The Wall Street Journal that the paper’s concerns with Google stem in part from its assessment that coverage of the royal family in 2021 has been downplayed in Google’s search results. 

The spokesperson told the Journal that Daily Mail executives have been disappointed that the newspaper’s digital coverage of the royal family has not shown up prominently in search results for keywords, including “Meghan and Harry,” “Piers Morgan,” and “Prince Philip.” 

Moreover, the complaint accuses Google’s plans not to replace its tracking features once it phases out third-party cookies as a way for the company to further “monopolize the exchange market.”