Stacking the Tech: Has Google harmed competition in online advertising?

September 18, 2020

This week I chaired an Antitrust Subcommittee hearing into allegations that Google has violated our nation’s antitrust laws by forcing advertisers who want to advertise on one Google property (like YouTube), to also buy advertising on other Google products (like search).

The hearing was mostly productive, but I was not satisfied with many of Google’s answers which felt scripted and unresponsive.

My takeaway from the hearing was that Google has a commanding share of every piece of the online advertising market, and it appears to be using its leading market positions in search and online video to engage in tying on the advertiser side of its business, essentially forcing the vast majority of demand onto its platform. In turn, publishers are also forced to use Google’s platform because there really isn’t any other option.

Antitrust analysis depends heavily on the facts, and we simply don’t have them all here. I am glad that the Department of Justice is seriously investigating these allegations, and hope it will pursue an appropriate remedy if necessary.