Give us powers to rein in Google: ACCC

Steven Deare
(Australian Associated Press)


Australia’s competition watchdog says it needs new powers to curb Google’s dominance in advertising technology that sells ads for sites such as YouTube.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Tuesday published the findings of an inquiry into advertising technology and claims publishers, advertisers and consumers are disadvantaged.

The search giant prevents rival ad technology services holding the millisecond auctions which determine the ads served on Google’s YouTube.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said a lack of competition meant higher advertising fees.

This ultimately meant consumers would pay more for advertised goods, he said.

A spokesman for Google said its ad technology services helped publishers fund their work and enabled small business to reach customers.

These technology services supported more than 15,000 jobs, he said.

The ACCC said its current powers were not enough to address the imbalance in the industry.

It wants to ensure rival ad technology providers can compete.

The watchdog also wants Google to tell publishers the outcomes of its ad server auctions.

The search giant would also be asked to show how the consumer data it collects benefit its ad technology services. This data is collected from search, maps and YouTube.

Google has previously told the regulator its ad technology makes limited use of consumer data when bidding for ads on third-party websites.

Ads are not personalised using consumer data from Google’s email, translation, data storage or photos services, the company says.

The ACCC report is focused on display advertising, which includes pop-ups and banners and videos, rather than search.

The findings of the report will inform a broader ACCC one on digital platforms, due next year.


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