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DOJ Files Lawsuit Against Google Over Digital Ads Practices

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Tech giant Google is facing another antitrust case from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in just two years, owing to the company’s dominance in the digital advertising business, where it operates in both the purchasing and selling of ads and running its own ad exchange.

The states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia have joined the DOJ in its most recent lawsuit.

According to the new lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, Google has unfairly attempted to control both the purchasing and selling sides of the market for digital advertisements. Google, says the Justice Department, sought to be “the be-all, and end-all location for all ad serving.”

“Website creators earn less, and advertisers pay more, than they would in a market where unfettered competitive pressure could discipline prices and lead to more innovative ad tech tools that would ultimately result in higher quality and lower cost transactions for market participants,” the lawsuit claims.

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In order to control the digital advertising market, Google acquired competing ad servers and exchanges, most notably DoubleClick, in 2008. Additionally, it featured the purchase of yield management systems that enabled publishers to look for better deals outside of Google’s framework. Google also modified the conditions of its AdX platform to prohibit the use of such tools by participating publishers.

A Google spokesperson defended the company, claiming that the DOJ is trying to “pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector.”

The lawsuit is filed at a difficult time for Google. The software giant revealed plans to fire 12,000 workers last week in response to the general economic downturn in the sector. Google employees’ morale is low, and many are saying that their “psychological safety” is in jeopardy.

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