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Why Google was fined 150 million euros by the Competition Authority

Bad times for the digital giants. Already in the crosshairs of the French State, which has passed legislation this summer, the “GAFA tax” (acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon), intended to further impose them, one of 'Between them, Google, was fined, Friday, December 20, a fine of 150 million euros by the Competition Authority for abuse of a dominant position. At issue: the rules imposed by the American company on advertisers who use the services of its advertising agency, Google Ads.

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The competition gendarme believes that these are not only “Opaque and difficult to understand”, but also that the group applies them in a way “Inequitable and random”, which can cause some companies to be unfairly excluded from the advertising platform. “This leads to damage both for advertisers and for search engine users”, the Authority observed in a press release.

The origin of the investigation goes back to the complaint lodged by the company GibMedia in 2015. The tricolor company, which publishes in particular sites of information on the weather (Info-meteo.fr), the data of companies (Pages -annuaire.net) and telephone information (Annuaires-inverse.net), then criticized the American for having iniquely, and without notice, suspended his account on the advertising platform, which enabled him to broadcast the advertisements of its websites.

“Gibmedia ran ads for websites that led users to pay for services on unclear billing terms, responded a Google spokesperson. We don't want these kinds of ads on our platform, which is why we suspended Gibmedia and forfeited ad revenue to protect our users from harmful consequences. We will appeal this decision. ”

A “double standard, two measures”

The Alphabet group’s subsidiary enjoys a strong position in the online advertising market, where it also derives most of its revenues. More than 90% of online searches carried out in France by internet users are thus carried out through its platform.

Access to the Google Ads advertising network is therefore essential for companies wishing to benefit from better exposure in order to sell their products and services. It allows them, through the purchase of advertising space by keyword, to appear more easily in the advertisements and banner ads that appear on the screen when a user types a search on Google, Google Maps or a partner site.

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