On Monday, June 7, France’s competition regulator fined Google €220 million (US$268 million) for abusing its market power in the online advertising industry, reported Bloomberg.
The French Competition Authority stated that Google had unfairly sent business to its own services and discriminated against the competition. Google has agreed to pay the fine and end some of its self-preferencing practices, the watchdog stated.
The investigation found that Google gave preferential treatment to its DFP advertising server, which allows publishers of sites and applications to sell their advertising space, and its SSP AdX listing platform, which organizes auction processes and allows publishers to sell their “impressions” or advertising inventory to advertisers. Google’s rivals and publishers suffered as a result, the regulator stated.
Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority, said in a statement the decision is the first in the world “to look at the complex algorithmic auction processes by which online advertising ‘display’ operates.”
She added that the investigation revealed processes by which Google favored itself over its competitors on advertising servers and supply-side platforms, which are pieces of software used by publishers to manage, sell, and optimize ad space on their websites and mobile apps.
“These very serious practices have penalized competition in the emerging online advertising market, and have enabled Google not only to preserve but also to increase its dominant position,” said de Silva.
“This sanction and these commitments will make it possible to re-establish a level playing field for all actors, and the ability of publishers to make the most of their advertising spaces.”