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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Google Charges More Than Double Its Rivals in Ad Deals, Wins 80% Of Its Own Auctions


According to a newly unredacted lawsuit by state attorneys general, Google takes a 22 to 42 percent cut of U.S. ad spending that goes through its systems, highlighting how the big tech honcho profits from its monopoly over the internet economy. 

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the share the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary takes of each advertising transaction on its exchange – a marketplace for ad buyers and sellers – is typically double to quadruple as much as the fees charged by rival advertisers, per the lawsuit. 

The unredacted filing on Friday in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York came after a federal judge ruled last week that much of the antitrust suit could be unsealed. 

“[T]he analogy would be if Goldman or Citibank owned the [New York Stock Exchange]” one senior Google employee said, per the suit, led by Texas. 

Google, however, called the lawsuit flawed, saying it collects lower fees for ads than industry average. 

The lawsuit claims that Google has deployed strategies to “lock in” publishers and advertisers and help the company’s ad buying tools win more than 80 percent of auctions on its exchange. The lawsuit cites programs, with code names such as Bell, Elmo and Pairot, that helped Google garner more than $1 billion in sales.