The Daily Telegraph

Google faces £22bn claim over ad income

- By Matthew Field

GOOGLE is being sued for up to €25bn (£22bn) over claims it has deprived newspapers and internet bloggers of billions of pounds in advertisin­g revenues.

The tech giant is facing class action complaints in the UK and the Netherland­s that it used its advertisin­g technology to unfairly sideline publishers while hoovering up ad revenues.

The claim is being brought on behalf of all websites and publishers that carry online banner advertisin­g, including newspapers, magazines, blogs and other digital media sites.

Toby Starr, a partner at the law firm Humphries Kerstetter, said alleged UK victims may have potentiall­y lost up to £7bn in revenues since 2014.

“This includes news websites up and down the country with large daily readership­s as well as the thousands of small business owners who depend on advertisin­g revenue,” he said, “be it from their fishing website, food blog, football fanzine or other online content they have spent time creating.”

Newspaper advertisin­g revenues have been hit by the rise of Google over the past two decades. Google and Facebook control more than 70pc of online ads.

Law firms Geradin Partners and Humphries Kerstetter plan to bring the claims to a court in the Netherland­s and the Competitio­n Appeal Tribunal in the UK.

The claim centres around allegation­s that Google’s ad exchange – its online ad auction technology – was used to benefit its own advertisin­g publishing service. This meant Google unfairly secured a greater proportion of internet ad revenues, according to the claimants.

A Google spokesman said: “Google works constructi­vely with publishers across Europe – our advertisin­g tools help millions of websites and apps fund their content, and enable businesses of all sizes to effectivel­y reach new customers ... This lawsuit is speculativ­e and opportunis­tic. When we receive the complaint, we’ll fight it vigorously.”

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