Daily Mail Lawsuit Exposes How Google Abuses Publishers

WASHINGTON, DC – In another blow to Google, the Daily Mail filed an antitrust complaint against Google yesterday over its advertising and search activities citing that Google’s “bid rigging scheme” controls the tools for selling ads and ad space on publishers’ pages that ultimately subjects newspapers to see little of the revenue that their content produces.  That revenue pays for journalists and news gathering in communities across the globe, but is being siphoned off by Google instead.

This is yet another example of Google’s long running war against news publishers on ad revenue. The media group claims that news publishers, like its own, have not benefited from increased ad spending and are exposed to rigged search rankings and lack of transparency for algorithm changes. These anticompetitive practices “depresses prices and reduces the amount and quality of news available to readers,” as the lawsuit says.  And if you don’t play by Google’s rules, they’ll punish you.  

Meanwhile, Google’s monopoly finds itself generating $46.2 billion in advertising revenue over the last three months of 2020, putting Google’s fourth quarter 2020 ad revenue at roughly the same level as all U.S. newspapers’ ad revenue for 2016, 2017, and 2018 combined. This lawsuit, which is one of a series against Google, is about accountability — as Google continues to control the ad industry, publishers will rightfully seek more revenue to pay for quality news gathering and a robust workforce. 

The following is a statement from Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost who was laid off in January 2019, and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project:

“This lawsuit is ultimately about Google’s ongoing control of the ad industry and the fact that they can punish publications for seeking more revenue for themselves. Publications seek more revenue because that’s what pays for journalists and overall news-gathering. That money is needed to keep the Fourth Estate alive. If journalism will exist in the future, publishers have to be free to make as much money as they can in all the ways they need to — not when Google decides it’s convenient for them.”