Google’s dominance of online advertising in Australia hurts businesses – regulator

Band Byron Kaye

SYDNEY, September 28 (Reuters)Google dominates Australia’s online advertising market to the point of harming publishers, advertisers and ultimately consumers, the country’s antitrust regulator has said, calling for new rules to curb the big tech giant.

A report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), released on Tuesday, said more than 90% of clicks on ads traded through Australia’s “ad tech” supply chain passed through at least one service. owned by Alphabet Inc. GOOGL.O unit in 2020.

“Google has used its vertically integrated position to operate its ad technology services in a way that has, over time, led to a less competitive ad technology industry,” said ACCC President Rod Sims , in a press release published alongside the report.

“This conduct has helped Google establish and consolidate its dominant position in the ad technology supply chain. We recommend that rules be considered to manage conflicts of interest, prevent anti-competitive self-preference and ensure that rival ad technology providers may compete on their merits. “

A Google spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. In a blog post published shortly before the ACCC report, Google said its advertising technology supports more than 15,000 Australian jobs and contributes $ 2.45 billion a year to the country’s economy.

The ACCC said the U.S. company benefits from vast amounts of internet user data from its search engine, YouTube video mapping and streaming services, and needs to be more transparent about how it uses this information to sell advertisements.

The regulator has said it wants special powers to address the imbalance in advertisers’ access to consumer data, such as rules requiring them to separate data between business units or share data with competitors.

The “ad tech” report was part of the broader review of online platforms by the ACCC that prompted Google to say earlier this year that it could pull basic services out of the country due to laws l ‘forcing them to pay for multimedia content that drives traffic to their website.

Google has since announced content payment deals with most of Australia’s biggest media outlets, as has social media giant Facebook Inc. FB.O which cut news feeds in the country for a week before the law was passed.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who commissioned the report, said in a statement that the government would consider the report’s findings and recommendations.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing)

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