The ADIF said Google's overwhelming market dominance and questionable practices have tilted the playing field in the adtech space
Batting for more regulatory safeguards, the ADIF pitched for antitrust probes and investigation into Google’s practices that deploy unfair business tactics
Google’s control over adtech space has led to concerns regarding monopolistic practices, biassing search results, and stifling competition, the industry body said
Training guns at Google, the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) has expressed concerns over the big tech major’s ‘stranglehold’ over the digital digital advertising ecosystem in the country.
Batting for more regulatory safeguards, the ADIF pitched for antitrust probes and investigation into practices that deploy unfair business tactics.
Seeking more transparency in the adtech space, the ADIF, in a statement, claimed that Google’s overwhelming market dominance and questionable practices have tilted the playing field in the digital advertising space and ‘threatening fairness and healthy competition.’
According to the industry body, both advertisers and publishers find themselves ‘ensnared in Google’s web of control’. It said the adtech ecosystem has become favourable for a single entity and called on the government to implement strong data privacy laws to safeguard user data from exploitation.
Lashing out at Google, the ADIF said that ad rank, the metric for determining sponsored link placement, accounts for the big tech major’s extensive scale but operates in a ‘closed environment’ that lacks transparency and accountability. It added that Google’s heavy influence over the demand-side platforms (DSPs) for advertisers and supply-side platforms (SSPs) raises questions over market fairness and competition.
“Google’s vested interest in digital advertising is undeniable. It controls a vast array of advertising-related platforms,… while also having access to extensive user data. This has led to concerns regarding monopolistic practices, biassing search results, and stifling competition,” the ADIF said.
As such, the industry body has sought to tighten regulatory scrutiny around the tech major to rein in the monopoly of Google and its unfair business tactics. As per the ADIF, the issue goes beyond market dynamics and breaches the principles of fairness, transparency, and integrity in the digital advertising ecosystem.
This is not the first time that Google has been caught in the crosshairs for its alleged monopoly in the adtech space. In January last year, the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) moved the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over Google’s alleged monopoly in the search market as well as in advertising intermediation.
Besides, the tech major is also locked in legal and antitrust tussles with newspaper publishers over sharing ad revenues in the news aggregation space. At the heart of this tug of war is the big India revenue opportunity for the tech major. Google India reported a 79.4% year-on-year (YoY) growth in its gross advertising revenue to about INR 24,926.5 Cr in the financial year ending March 2022.
It must be noted that Google is facing multiple regulatory issues in India. It has also been facing backlash from several Indian companies and startups on its Google Play Billing System (GPBS).
The tech giant has also been embroiled in legal battles with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which slapped fines of INR 936.4 Cr and INR 1,337.6 Cr on it last year in two separate antitrust cases.