Seven people involved in the talks this month said that Google’s Alphabet had overturned European media companies ’plans to prevent them from collecting data on their readers and reduce some of their dominance of online advertising.
Publishers were expecting to use data privacy measures that go into effect on August 15 to prevent Google from storing insights into readers, reducing the data feature that enabled it to dominate a market full of advertisers hungry for information to target potential customers.
But Google said it would prevent publishers from lucrative flow of ads if they followed through by limiting data collection. Negotiations continue, but Google is more effective because it dominates both advertising tools and reaching advertisers in the $ 100 billion annual global banner advertising market.
“You must do what [Google] “It expects you or is out of the market – you can’t do without it,” said Thomas Adhumo, general counsel at S4M, who competes with Google for software.
The publisher strategy and ongoing discussions have not been reported before.
Google has repeatedly outperformed website owners and competitors over the past decade to ensure their dominance. In many cases, publishers have challenged Google to attract higher ad rates, just to see Google reaffirming it as an indispensable gear.
Competitors and publishers assert that some of Google’s actions have been unlawfully competitive, and US, UK, European Union, and Australian authorities this year are considering pursuing sanctions, some even contemplating dismantling Google.
Media giant News Corp. has publicly complained to Australian regulators that Google was gaining an edge over publishers by collecting audience data. Other companies said they would complain if Google cut off some ads in August.
Google describes the online advertising industry as competitive, and says its policies aim to align the EU’s privacy law with how its advertising tools work.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation two years ago requires companies to obtain user permission or have a legitimate reason before handling their data. Iab Interactive Europe (IAB), a consortium that brings Google with its customers and partners, to develop a technical protocol known as the Transparency and Compliance Framework (TCF) to ensure they all get the right consumer approval.
Townsend Veyhan, CEO of the IAB office, said that the consortium, pushed by major publishers, agreed last year to require users with two separate ears previously associated together: one to display personalized ads, and the other to collect their personal data in a personal file.
Some websites and apps plan to delete the second permission. This will starve the creation of a Google profile, while still allowing these features to serve personalized ads from Google customers.
But Google now says consumers should be given both ears to get personalized ads.
“This is against what was agreed upon” by the consortium, said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the European Publishers Council.
Chetna Bindra, Google’s chief product manager, said its TCF policy maintains the status quo.
“It does not change any of our policies for publishers, including the approval policy, which helps ensure the transparency of users and control how their data is collected and used to display personalized ads,” Bindra said.
Some Google competitors like MediaMath Advertiser Software Maker have said that they might split data permissions, giving publishers another way to undermine Google. But they still have to give up plentiful ad supplies.
Media groups Axel Springer from Germany and Shepstead from Norway are among the disappointed of Google’s position.
“We are concerned when the big players seek to dictate the ways in which we have to process the data,” said Engfield Ness, head of privacy at Schibsted. “It is a matter of concern and a problem if we end up in a situation where some companies become guards.”
Google uses the software, on which millions of partner websites rely on ads, to track the readers ’location, properties, pages, and content they consume. These rich profiles allow marketers to target ads to specific users while they browse the internet.
Publishers, no matter how wide their audience, have difficulty competing with the breadth of their Google Profiles.
“When Google harvests this data and enriches their personal files, Google can be considered as drying displaced publishers one drop at a time,” said Adrien Thil, Smart Senior Privacy Officer, who competes with Google in the publisher program.
Media companies must share profits with Google in order to reach the unparalleled number of advertiser clients they attract with their data. Globally, the publisher’s share of Google’s advertising revenue has halved by 16 percent over the past decade, according to a paper published this month by Dina Srinivasan, antitrust advisor at News Corp.