Joining the national pile-on of entities suing Google for antitrust is Genius Media Group, which announced a lawsuit on Wednesday night related to the search giant’s ad exchange practices.
In the filing, Genius Media Group — which owns the lyrics and annotations sites Genius and RapGenius — alleges that Google has been able to achieve a near-monopoly with its display advertising marketplace by “erecting a toll bridge between publishers and advertisers and charging an unlawfully high price for passage.”
“Specifically, Google’s Ad Server — the software or code that publishers use to make critical decisions about advertising content — imposes anticompetitive rules and conduct that artificially warp the channels through which publishers sell their ad placement inventory,” the suit reads.
Filed as a class action lawsuit, the case is likely to attract other companies that take issue with the way the ad server is run — bad news for Google, since that list is quite long. Companies with specialised search results, including Amazon, Tripadvisor and Yelp, have long claimed that Google’s algorithm is tailored to prioritise its own products in search, meaning that competitors must either accept lower traffic or shell out big bucks in order to stay competitive with Google in the search results.
The case is just the latest of Google’s mounting antitrust woes. Earlier on Wednesday, a coalition of states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an antitrust suit targeting Google’s conduct in the advertising technology market, alleging that the company “repeatedly” abused its monopoly power to control the way online ads are priced and “engaged in market collusions to rig auctions.” That case is distinct from a separate antitrust suit filed against Google in October by the U.S. Justice Department and 11 Republican state attorneys general, in which Google stands accused of drawing up exclusive contracts with the manufacturers of Android-powered smartphones so that the devices would come pre-loaded with Google as the default browser search engine.
And the party is allegedly just getting started: As it was recently reported, a second coalition of states led by Democratic Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is apparently readying an antitrust lawsuit against Google that will claim that the company changed its search infrastructure to the disadvantage of certain rivals that offer specialised search results. According to Politico, that complaint could go live as soon as Thursday.