Google Accused of Giving its Ad System Unfair Advantage Over Rivals

Google has been slammed for monopoly power more than once. Currently, the company is dealing with an antitrust lawsuit filed by 48 states, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The investigation led by Texas recently took a new turn when some documents revealing how the company gave its ad system an advantage with a special project surfaced.

The Wall Street Journal found unredacted court documents showing that Google ran a program dubbed the Project Bernanke. Under this program, the search engine giant allegedly gave its ad purchasing system an edge over rivals. Google used data from publishers’ ad servers to steer advertisers toward the price they would have to pay for ad placements. It did not tell this to the publishers selling those ads. The company used exclusive info to undercut competing ad-buying systems and reduce the amount of money they had to pay the publishers. This accounts for insider trading.

In addition to this, an internal presentation from 2013 was also leaked on the internet disclosing that Project Bernanke stood to make $230 million that year. Google was clearly capitalizing on its advantage.

Even though Google acknowledges the existence of Bernanke, it claims that it has not done anything against the ethos. The company claims that the info was “comparable” to what could have been uncovered with other ad-buying tools and that Texas “misrepresents” large parts of its ad business.

Nevertheless, Texas plans on pursuing the antitrust case.

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