DOJ’s lawsuit ignores the enormous competition in the online advertising industry

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DOJ’s lawsuit ignores the enormous competition in the online advertising industry

Today’s lawsuit from the Department of Justice attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector. It largely duplicates an unfounded lawsuit by the Texas Attorney General, much of which was recently dismissed by a federal court. DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow. We’ve already responded in detail to many similar claims made in the complaint led by the Texas Attorney General.

The lawsuit tries to rewrite history at the expense of publishers, advertisers and internet users.

DOJ is demanding that we unwind two acquisitions that were reviewed by U.S. regulators 12 years ago (AdMeld) and 15 years ago (DoubleClick). In seeking to reverse these two acquisitions, DOJ is attempting to rewrite history at the expense of publishers, advertisers and internet users. Both of these acquisitions enabled us to invest heavily in developing new and innovative advertising technologies. These deals were reviewed by regulators, including by DOJ, and allowed to proceed. Since then, competition in this sector has only increased.

Government shouldn’t pick winners and losers in a competitive industry.

We are one of hundreds of companies that enable the placement of ads across the Internet. And it’s been well reported that competition is increasing as more and more companies enter and invest in building their advertising businesses.

  • Last year, Microsoft acquired Xandr – an advertising platform that, like Google and many of its competitors, has a full ad tech stack that serves advertisers and publishers. This acquisition enabled Microsoft to sign a landmark deal to build Netflix’s advertising business. The government did not challenge this acquisition.
  • Amazon’s advertising business is now growing faster than Google and Meta’s advertising businesses.
  • Apple has a fast-growing advertising business, which is expected to reach over $30 billion in the next four years. It’s also been widely reported that Apple is building its own demand-side platform, expanding its advertising footprint.
  • Only five years after launching outside of mainland China, TikTok is reported to have nearly $10 billion in advertising revenue and continues to grow rapidly.
  • Media companies like Comcast and Disney, and retailers like Walmart and Target, continue to invest in building their own online advertising technology services.

There are also specialized advertising technology companies like AppLovin, Criteo, Index Exchange, Pubmatic, Magnite, MediaMath, OpenX, The Trade Desk, Unity and many others. In fact, The Trade Desk was recently ranked one of the fastest growing companies. These may not be household names, but they power many of the ads you see every day.

With this increased competition, it’s no wonder fees across the industry are reportedly flat or falling for digital display advertising technology.

Google’s products expand choice for publishers and advertisers.

This complaint mischaracterizes how our advertising technology products work.

These products help publishers make money to fund their websites, apps and videos – which helps Internet users access a wide range of free content. And they make it easy for businesses to reach consumers through cost-effective digital advertising. Here are some facts:

  • Our advertising technologies are built to work with our competitors’ products. We make it easy for partners to choose the products and services they want to use across more than 80 rival platforms for publishers and over 700 rival platforms for advertisers.
  • No one is forced to use our advertising technologies – they choose to use them because they’re effective. In fact, publishers and advertisers typically work with multiple technologies simultaneously to reach customers and make more money.
  • The average large publisher will use six different platforms to sell ads on its website this year, while advertisers and media agencies will use over three platforms to buy ads, on average.
  • Publishers who choose to use our advertising platforms keep the vast majority of the revenue our tools help facilitate. In total, we pay billions of dollars directly to the publishing partners in our ad network every year.

DOJ’s lawsuit would reverse years of innovation, harming the broader advertising sector.

The current Administration has stressed the value of antitrust enforcement in reducing prices and expanding choice for the American people. We agree.

But this lawsuit would have the opposite effect, making it harder for Google to offer efficient advertising tools that benefit publishers, advertisers and the wider U.S. economy. Antitrust cases shouldn’t penalize companies that offer popular, efficient services, particularly in difficult economic times.

And they shouldn’t force companies to reverse 15-year-old investments that they have nurtured and worked hard to make successful, especially when those investments were already reviewed by regulators and allowed to proceed.

We’ve spent years building and investing in our advertising technology business to support a vibrant, open web. We will vigorously contest attempts to break tools that are working for publishers, advertisers, and people across America.

You can read our responses to the DOJ’s specific allegations here.

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