Unrest At The DOJ Over Impending Google Antitrust Suit; Ad Spend Still Down With A Few Notable Exceptions

google antitrust

Rush Job

The Department of Justice could bring its antitrust case against Google by the end of this month, despite pleas from career lawyers to wait and build a stronger case against the tech giant, sources tell The New York Times. Some lawyers working on the case either refused to sign the complaint or left the investigation as disagreement persisted over what to focus on as the main complaint against Google and how to potentially break it up. Some see the rush as a political play by Attorney General William Barr to take credit for the investigation before the 2020 election. Others, including Barr, think the investigation has moved too slow. Barr has taken a keen interest in the Google case and President Trump has previously accused the company of bias against him. But if a case is brought, it will have broad bipartisan backing – 50 state AGs already support antitrust action against Google.

The Haves And The Have Nots

US media spend was down 19% in the first half of 2020, according to an analysis from Kantar. Q2 bore the brunt of the downturn, with ad spend plummeting 34% in April, 31.6% in May and 30.2% in June – and cratering by almost $28 billion overall in the quarter. For certain categories, the picture didn’t get a lot prettier as the year wore on. Travel brands spent almost 50% less in the first half of 2020 than they did in the first half of 2019, AdAge reports. But cleaning and household supply brands increased ad spend by 12.3%. Procter & Gamble, for instance, increased ad spend by 9.2% in H1. And tech ain’t doing so bad either. Amazon was the No. 2 top ad spender in the first half of the year, increasing spend by 14.8%.

Election Crackdown

Pinterest will no longer serve ads against user searches related to politics or the election, making it the latest social media company to further restrict political advertising in the run-up to November 2020. Pinterest formally banned political ads in 2018, but it’s making these updates, which it began testing over the past few weeks, in order to direct users toward reliable information as the election nears, CNBC reports. Pinterest will also guide users toward voting information based on search results, restrict political content on the home feed and turn off autocomplete searches for election terms. “As we get closer to Election Day, we know that public discourse will grow louder,” the company said in a blog post Thursday. “We want Pinterest to remain a place for inspiration and positivity.”

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