Google prevents media firms from chipping away at its data dominance

Google prevents media firms from chipping away at its data dominance

OAKLAND (US) – Alphabet Inc’s Google upended plans by European media companies to block it from harvesting data about their readers and slash some of its dominance in online advertising.

Publishers had expected to use data privacy measures going into effect on Aug. 15 to prevent Google from storing insights about readers, sapping the data advantage.

But Google said it will cut off publishers from an attractive flow of ads if they go ahead with curbing its data collection. Negotiations continue, but Google holds greater leverage because it dominates in both advertising tools and access to advertisers within the $100 billion annual global banner ads market.

“You have to basically implement what (Google) expect from you or you’re out of the market – you can’t do without them,” said Thomas Adhumeau, general counsel at S4M, which competes with Google in software for advertisers.

The publishers’ strategy and the ongoing discussions have not been previously reported.

Google repeatedly has outmaneuvered website owners and its competitors over the last decade to ensure its dominance.

Rivals and publishers argue that some of Google’s actions were unlawfully anticompetitive, and authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Australia this year are considering imposing penalties.


The EU’s two-year-old General Data Protection Regulation mandates that firms have to get users’ permission or have a legitimate reason before handling their data. It prompted the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Europe (IAB), a consortium involving Google along with its clients and partners, to develop a technical protocol known as the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) for ensuring all of them had the appropriate approvals from consumers.

IAB Csief Executive Townsend Feehan said that pushed by major publishers, the consortium last year agreed to ask users for two separate permissions that were earlier tied together: one to be shown personalized ads, the other to have their personal data collected in a profile.

Some websites and apps planned to drop the second permission. That would starve Google’s profile-building, while still allowing those properties to serve up personalised ads from Google’s clients.

But Google now says consumers must grant both permissions to get personalized ads.

“This is contrary to what was agreed” by the consortium, said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers’ Council.

(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field

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