Saturday, April 22, 2017

Google's new ad blocker could upend the web publishing business. Don't expect the U.S. to get in its way.

By Noah Kulwin on Apr 22, 2017  

News that Google, which is no stranger to antitrust battles, plans to implement an ad-blocking function on its Chrome web browser has caught the attention of regulators from Washington, D.C. to Brussels.

The feature, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, would make Google the gatekeeper determining what ads reach consumer eyeballs. Since the Chrome browser is employed by 44.5 percent of internet users in the U.S., and Google accounts for 41 percent of global digital ad revenue, publishers are bracing for impact.

“In my mind, this is a monumental move,” said one antitrust lawyer who has gone up against Google in the past and who requested anonymity because he was not authorized by his firm to speak to the press. “Google has crossed the Rubicon — it’s using its dominant browser to protect its dominant ad business. This is using Chrome to weed out advertising that Google doesn’t like.”

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