Google's Latest Salvo Against Antitrust Claims; TikTok Inks Deal With DoubleVerify, IAS

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Fine Whine

Google began arguments in the appeal of its $5 billion antitrust fine from 2018, when European Commission regulator Margrethe Vestager successfully argued the company unfairly leveraged its market position to force its search app onto Android devices. Although, if Google loses the appeal, at least it got in a pretty good troll or two. “People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to,” Google lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid told the judge, according to a Bloomberg report. Surveys showed more than 95% of users prefer Google Search to its rival engines, he said. And, the cherry on top, Google submitted evidence that “Google” is the no. 1 most common search query on Microsoft Bing. Aside from the regulatory scrutiny, Google is fending off a wave of PR and legit investment in alternative search engines. Many big-name tech players see a chance to take market share. But even with a 10-digit EU fine, among others, no potential rival has been a meaningful challenger to Google Search since the rise of Chrome.

TikTok Won’t Stop

On the heels of reaching one billion monthly active users, TikTok is going to town on partnerships, brand safety tools, measurement and a bunch of new ad products. TikTok announced a deal with DoubleVerify viewability, fraud and ad placement reports, and a deal with Integral Ad Science to launch a brand safety solution for in-feed video ads. There’s also a partnership with Vimeo and Canva to create templates for the best fonts and creative elements. On top of that, TikTok is launching a fast-loading ad format called Instant Page, “gesture ads” that reward users for watching videos and a clickable sticker and image library marketers can superimpose onto their videos. “All of these solutions are a part of our goal to enable advertisers to create the most engaging ads in ways that tap into their creativity and fun that exists on the platform,” said Jaqueline Fitzpatrick, a global product strategist at TikTok. Campaign has more.

The Freebie Jeebies

Hulu announced a partnership extending six months of free Uber Eats to subscribers across its pricing tiers. The deal is only for first-time Uber Eats sign-ups who have not taken a free trial before and are Hulu customers in good standing (so people can’t sign up for Hulu, collect the Uber Eats benefit and not pay Hulu’s fee). Six months of Uber Eats may not seem like a huge perk, but it’s a heavy cost if the delivery company is eating the whole price in the hopes of retaining subscribers. Uber Eats costs $9.99 per month, with free delivery on $15 orders and 5% or more off on food and grocery orders. That’s a lot. It also explains the restrictions discouraging deal hunters. Many online sharks scour the web for such deals, pilfer promotional budgets and provide no long-term value. (Andreessen Horowitz investor Alex Rampell has a worthwhile Twitter thread on that phenomenon.) AdExchanger also discussed on The Big Story last week how Uber’s ads business expansion doesn’t necessarily mean splashing more display units in its apps. Ecommerce or subscription-based partnerships like with Hulu here are the low-hanging fruit.

But Wait, There’s More!   

Venatus sells a minority stake to Brainlabs backer Livingbridge. [Campaign]

Movement for an Open Web called on the EU to rein in how Google tweaks its search engine. [Bloomberg]

LinkedIn is testing a paid ticketed events service. [TechCrunch]

Clubhouse creators are still waiting for a sponsorship program to fully kick in. [The Verge].

Google’s Fiber TV is set to be retired in favor of streaming. [9to5Google]

LoopMe launched a stand-alone measurement solution. [release]

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