French competition watchdog aims probe at 'overwhelming' ad power of Google and Facebook

We'll take a very long lunch then decide what to do

By Andrew Orlowski

Posted in Business, 7th March 2018 17:03 GMT

France's national competition regulator has decided that Google and Facebook hold "overwhelming" market power in digital advertising and are considering a formal investigation.

A preliminary probe by the Autorité de la Concurrence, which lasted two years, quizzed over 100 participants in the digital ad market, discovering that "many even wanted to remain anonymous", according to Deputy General Rapporteur Nicolas Deffieux.

The authority found that publishers only pocket 40 per cent of the spending on advertising, a significant cut for the middle man, or middlemen. Other issues of concern were the barriers to entry posed by the twosome's data aggregation – a point raised by Oracle in its complaint to the European Commission – "tied selling strategies", and discriminatory practices. Any of the three may be cause for a formal investigation, French newspaper Le Figaro has reported.

Digital advertising now comprises around a third of the entire advertising market, and between them 84 per cent of the digital spending outside China will flow through Google and Facebook, according to ads giant GroupM. Not only is digital growing at the expense of older media, but the new cash is almost entirely going to the Silicon Valley duo.

Pivotal analyst Brian Weiser estimated that the duopoly hoovered up to 99 per cent of new digital ad spending in 2016, and although other analysts disagree, it's not by much. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

11 Comments

More from The Register

Neil Young slams Google, after you log in to read his rant with Google or Facebook

Heart Of Gold meets Piece Of Crap

Scammers use Google Maps to skirt link-shortener crackdown

Chocolate Factory's map service cuts commute times, URL lengths

Google borg gobbles Israeli cloud migration startup

Alas poor Velostrata! You knew those AWS and Azure workloads well

'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

Chocolate Factory unwraps developer style guide, squibs the thorny ISO date debate

Android devs prepare to hit pause on ads amid Google GDPR chaos

Hey Google. How will we eat?

Dropbox to let Google reach inside it and rummage about

Create and store GDocs in Dropbox, with admin policies preserved

Google listens to New Zealand just long enough to ignore it

'We can't delete court cases, and you can't make us'

US judges say you can Google Google, but you can't google Google

The Chocolate Factory is spared the aspirin treatment by the 9th Circuit Court

Twitter signs for Google cloud at list price of about $10m a month

Shifts Hadoop clusters and their 300PB of data, not the stuff that lets you tweet

Apple: Er, yes. Your iCloud stuff is now on Google's servers, too

You can't escape The Circle