£20bn claim addressed to Google for depriving publishers of ad revenue

Google faces another anti-competition allegation lawsuit, this time for depriving newspapers and online blogs of billions of pounds in ad revenue

Up to £21.6bn is being claimed in line with class action complaints in the UK and the Netherlands, which dispute that Google is unfairly sidelining the income of media outlets while profiting from online advertising, reports The Telegraph.

Law firms Geradin Partners and Humphries Kerstetter are said to be leading the lawsuits, planned to be brought to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, and a court in the Netherlands, on behalf of thousands of online publishers.

Additionally, the claim is being backed by litigation funders Harbour.

It is alleged that the corporation’s ad auction technology has been used to distort competition and benefit its own advertising services.

According to Humphries Kerstetter partner Toby Starr, alleged UK outlets affected may have missed out on up to £7bn in revenues since 2014.

He commented: “This includes news websites up and down the country with large daily readerships as well as the thousands of small business owners who depend on advertising revenue, be it from their fishing website, food blog, football fanzine or other online content they have spent time creating.”

Google are yet to comment on the claims being made.

While Google and Facebook have been heavily bolstering their online advertising efforts in the past few years, newspaper ad revenue has been impacted by the collapse of brand advertising and classified ad sales in the last 20 years.

If this particular case goes in favour of the claimants, litigation funders will be paid a share of the proceeds being claimed.


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.