Washington, D.C. (All Tech Considered) — EU Fines Google $1.7 Billion Over 'Abusive' Online Ad Strategies.
For years, AdSense contracts gave Google a wide range of control, including how its rivals' search ads would appear — and their size, color and font, the EU says.
The case revolves around search boxes that are embedded on websites — and that display ads brokered by Google.
Those ads are powered by AdSense for Search — a business unit within Google that allows websites and apps to make money on search ads, much as Google does on its main search page.
But for years, AdSense contracts also gave Google a wide range of control in how the ads work, the EU says. Google included the conditions in contracts that covered how its brokered ads would appear in search tools that are commonly embedded on newspapers, blogs, travel companies.
The conditions evolved over time, from exclusivity clauses in 2006 to “relaxed exclusivity” in later years. But the practice still damaged competition, European regulators said, noting that later requirements let Google control how its rivals' search ads would appear — including the size, color and font they used.