Google has been hit by a multi-billion lawsuit requesting $4.2 billion in compensation to publishers for lost revenue.
The lawsuit has been filed by The Guardian’s former technology editor Charles Arthur who claims that Google has been unlawfully using its dominant position in online advertising, the main income opportunity for many websites, to reduce what publishers can earn.
Arthur explains that due to Google’s dominant position, the prices of advertising technology services increased which resulted in ad sales revenue for publishers drastically decreasing.
"The CMA is currently investigating Google's anti-competitive conduct in adtech, but they don't have the power to make Google compensate those who have lost out. We can only right that wrong through the courts, which is why I am bringing this claim,” he announced.
Although Google describes the lawsuit as a “speculative and opportunistic action,” it is the second lawsuit the corporation has had to deal with recently. The previous one was filed in November by Ofcom director Claudio Pollack also based on Google’s unfair positioning in adtech.
The CMA’s findings have confirmed that Google owns the largest provider in three key areas of adtech, but Google maintains that this does not affect the number of competitors it has and that its fees are either lower or directly match, existing industry prices.
While Google is often forced to deal with lawsuits addressing its dominant position in the advertising industry, it is debatable whether compensation to publishers will be able to level the playing field long-term.