Texas Sues Google Over Ad Tech; Third-Party Ad Verification Comes To Reddit

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The People Vs. Google’s Ad Stack

The AGs of 10 states have filed a suit against Google, accusing it of monopolistic behavior in its ad business, The New York Times reports. In a Twitter video announcing the legal action, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called out the auction dynamics Google has allegedly used to unfairly advantage its own business at the expense of publishers and consumers. “They manipulate the advertising auction and ... continually illegally profit by taking money away from those webpages and putting it in their own pockets,” he said. “If the free market were a baseball game, Google positioned itself as the pitcher, the batter and the umpire.” Advertising folks have long discussed the possibility of government action targeting Google’s enormous ad platform business, estimated to be worth more than $20 billion if it were a stand-alone entity. But the possibility seemed to fade after the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Google in October focused instead on the company’s search engine. Google issued a strong denial after Paxton posted his video. “Attorney General Paxton’s ad tech claims are meritless, yet he’s gone ahead in spite of all the facts,” said Google spokeswoman Julie McAlister. “We will strongly defend ourselves from his baseless claims in court.” Read on.

Upvoting Ads  

As its audience grows in size, Reddit is taking more steps to improve its appeal with advertisers. Earlier this year it tightened up its hate speech policies, removed 2,000 subreddits and now also offers ad filtering tiers that are responsive to an ad buyer’s risk tolerance level. Most recently Reddit has partnered with Moat by Oracle Data Cloud to support ad verification. “We want to ensure our advertisers have the tools they need to feel confident and satisfied with their investment in Reddit,” said Jack Koch, global head of marketing sciences at Reddit. The Drum has more. In other recent ad verification news: Twitter struck brand safety verification partnerships with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science this week (more on that) and in-game advertising platform Anzu.io partnered with Moat to provide impression delivery and general invalid traffic measurement across its platform (more on that).

Testing Biden

Striking a new deal that will allow US companies to transfer data from the EU will be a key test for the Biden administration. The agreement could play a central role in strengthening transatlantic trade. Thousands of businesses now face uncertainty after an EU court halted a data transfer accord over the summer. Talks with the European Commission about a new framework have dragged on, The Wall Street Journal reports. The EU’s top court nixed the Privacy Shield program in July arguing that the transfer of consumer data stateside exposed Europeans to US government surveillance without “actionable rights” to challenge it. Cutting a new deal could take months or even years as Washington and EU member states seek common ground on surveillance norms and restrictions. Some privacy experts are calling for Congress and the Biden administration to seek stopgap measures to ease data flows for the program’s roughly 5,400 participants, which transfer data to support activities such as marketing, cloud services and human resources. A federal privacy law could demonstrate a good-faith effort to shift US consumer protections closer to EU standards, although passing one could take some time. Biden could also issue administrative orders that “meet the bar for actionable redress” in the EU for Europeans whose data is subject to US surveillance.

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