"Google operates on the buy-side and the sell-side, runs an exchange, and participates in the market as a buyer and as a seller. The equivalent in financial markets would be working with a broker that also represents the counterparty, runs the exchange, and has a proprietary trading desk—all without ethical walls between business divisions to protect its customers’ welfare," an antitrust lawsuit filed by sixteen US states led by Texas against Google reads. The lawsuit alleges that Google unlawfully monopolised online advertising. In part 1 we explored how online advertising works and Google's monopoly power in various markets in online advertising. In this post, we will dive into the alleged anticompetitive conduct Google engaged in to acquire and maintain its monopoly power, specifically how the company is using initiatives like AMP, Unified Pricing, and Chrome Privacy Sandbox to foreclose competition. You can read other parts of this series here. Overview of how online advertising works Online advertising for display ads (e.g. image-based ads) relies on three main components: Ad servers: The inventory management software that helps publishers sell their ad inventory. Publishers are websites with ad spaces such as news websites and blogs. Ad buying tools: The software that advertisers use to buy display inventory from publishers. Ad marketplaces: The electronic marketplaces where buyers and sellers of display ads are matched. Buyers (advertisers) are represented by their ad buying tool whereas sellers (publishers) are represented by their ad server. There are two main types of marketplaces: ad exchanges and ad networks. For more on how the online advertising…
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