Google faces £13bn ad lawsuit – UK court

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The business involves advertising technology, commonly abbreviated to adtech, that decides which online ads people see, as well as how much they cost to publishers.

Hosting such advertisements is a huge source of income for many websites. Ad Tech Collective Action says digital advertising spending reached $490 billion in 2021.

It’s also an extremely valuable industry for Google, as it largely dominates web search.

At the heart of the allegation is the allegation that Google is abusing this dominant position, thereby reducing the revenue generated by the websites.

Ad Tech Collective Action claims that Google has engaged in so-called “self-preferencing,” that is, promoting its own products and services more prominently than those of its competitors.

This means publishers end up receiving less money for the ads they host and also have to pay “very high” fees to Google.

“I look forward to working with our legal and economic advisors to provide compensation for the years in which the relevant markets have failed to deliver a competitive outcome to the UK publishing market,” Mr Pollack said.

But it will be a long time before all this is resolved: it has already taken eighteen months to get to this point, and no court date has been set.

This is so-called opt-out, meaning all relevant UK publishers are included unless otherwise stated.

It is funded by an unknown third party and states that UK publishers who are part of the claim will not pay the participation fee.

It comes as Google faces investigations from UK, EU and US regulators over its ad tech businesses, while the company has already been fined billions of pounds by from the European Commission for what it described as anti-competitive behavior.

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