The Daily Telegraph
Google faces £22bn claim over ad income
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.”