Google Denies Allegations of Secret Deal with Facebook to Dominate Ads

Noogler Hat for new Google employees
Flickr/ banky177

Tech giant Google has denied recent allegations that it made a secret deal with social media giant Facebook in order to dominate the online advertising market. The two companies control the online advertising market in a duopoly that Amazon is just beginning to take market share from.

In a recent blog post, Alphabet’s Director of Economic Policy, Adam Cohen, defended Google’s ad-sharing agreement with Facebook after details about the deal were revealed in a recently filed antitrust lawsuit. Alphabet is Google’s parent company.

Breitbart News recently reported that Facebook revealed in 2017 that it was testing a new way of selling ads online that could threaten Google’s control of the online advertising market, but just two years later Facebook announced that it would be joining an alliance of companies backing a similar effort by Google, seemingly abandoning its own plans that would have allowed the company to better compete with Google.

Facebook never clarified why it seemed to abandon its own project, but an antitrust lawsuit filed by ten state attorneys general last month implies that Google had extended to Facebook a sweetheart deal to be a partner.

The deal between Google and Facebook was reportedly code-named “Jedi Blue” and pertains to a segment of the online advertising market called programmatic advertising. A new advertising method called header bidding emerged as part of a workaround to reduce reliance on Google’s ad platforms.

In the recent blog post, Cohen names a number of “myths” in the antitrust lawsuit and attempts to debunk them. A list of some of the “myths” and “facts” from Cohen can be seen below:

Myth: Google “dominates the online advertising landscape for image-based web display ads.”

Fact: The ad tech industry is incredibly crowded and competitive.

Myth: Google “extracts a very high … percent of the ad dollars otherwise flowing to online publishers.”

Fact: Our fees are actually lower than reported industry averages.

Myth: Our Open Bidding agreement with Facebook harms publishers.

Fact: Facebook is one of over 25 partners in Open Bidding, and their participation actually helps publishers.

However, some of Cohen’s arguments are questionable, such as his claim that Google does not dominate the online advertising landscape. Cohen writes:

Competition in online advertising has made ads more affordable and relevant, reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers.

The online advertising space is famously crowded. We compete with household names like Adobe, Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Oracle, Twitter and Verizon. Facebook, for example, is the largest seller of display ads and Amazon last month surpassed us as the preferred ad buying platform for advertisers. We compete fiercely with those companies and others such as Mediaocean, Amobee, MediaMath, Centro, Magnite, The Trade Desk, Index Exchange, OpenX, PubMatic and countless more. A growing number of retail brands such as Walmart, Walgreens, Best Buy, Kroger and Target are also offering their own ad tech.

However, as Breitbart News has previously reported, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are the three largest online ad companies, with Google reportedly generating as much ad revenue as the entire global print advertisement market.

Read the full blog post at Google here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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