The Department of Justice is reaching out to some of Google’s largest rivals to determine how the tech giant’s advertising business model is impacting the industry, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
DOJ officials are asking Google’s rivals about how the company’s third-party advertising model affects advertisers, the report noted, citing sources familiar with the probe. The agency is honing in on the company’s acquisition of DoubleClick, which is believed to be the source of Google’s power.
It is reportedly focusing in particular on two main elements: Google’s integration of the tools it provides websites to put ad space up for sale with its ad exchange; and the company’s move to require advertisers to use its own equipment when buying digital real estate on Google-owned YouTube.
The tech giant’s rivals say investigators are asking the right questions. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Google Employees Used Company Resources To Organize Anti-Trump Resistance Events)
“They are zooming in on the right topics, and that’s a good thing,” Michael Nevins, an executive at Smart AdServer, one of Google’s main ad technology rivals, told TheWSJ.
All of the scrutiny is causing Google executives to mull the possibility of divesting themselves of DoubleClick, the report noted, citing people familiar with the situation. The ad tool is becoming less important in an age of smart phones and handheld devices, thus opening up the possibility of dropping DoubleClick.
Google is officially dismissing that possibility, though.
“We have no plans to sell or exit this business,” Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister told TheWSJ. “We’re deeply committed to providing value to a wide array of publisher and advertiser partners in a highly competitive sector.”
Google directed the Daily Caller News Foundation to a September 2019 blog post suggesting the tech ad industry was actually overcrowded, despite what its critics say. The company did not respond to questions about the direction of the DOJ’s investigation.
The DOJ has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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