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Gannett Sues Google, Alphabet Claiming They Have A Monopoly On Digital Advertising

June 26, 2023: USA Today publisher Gannett is suing Google for allegedly illegally monopolizing the advertising technology demand, adding to an already-extensive list of lawsuits against the company for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

“With control regarding the largest ad exchange and ad server, both of which Google acquired rather than developed, Google has carried out a sophisticated, anti-competitive, and deceptive scheme for well over a decade,” Gannett argued in a protest filed in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday. The publisher said Google’s broad control of the ad tech market had hurt news publishers, claiming online readership has grown while online ad spending has decreased for publishers.

“Google has monopolized demand trading to their advantage and at the expense of publishers, readers, and everyone else,” Gannett Chairman and CEO Michael Reed said in a statement. “Digital advertising is the lifeblood of the economy. Publishers cannot invest in their newsrooms without free and fair competition for digital ad space.”

The lawsuit echoes arguments made by the U.S. Department of Justice in its second lawsuit against Google, following an earlier one focused on how it distributes its tracking product. That lawsuit similarly alleged that Google illegally maintained trust by controlling multiple parts of the ad-selling and buying market.

A group of attorneys general led by Texas also alleged anticompetitive practices over Google’s ad tech products in a 2020 lawsuit.

V.P. of Google Ads Dan Taylor called Gannett’s claims “simply wrong” following the lawsuit.

“Publishers have many options to choose from when it comes to using advertising technology to monetize. Gannett employs dozens of competing ad services, including Google Ad Manager,” Taylor said. “And when publishers use Google tools, they keep the vast majority of revenue. We’ll demonstrate to the court how our advertising products benefit publishers and help them fund online content.”

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