A new antitrust bill might just limit how big Big Tech can become, at least as it relates to digital advertising.
The AMERICA Act, aka Advertising Middlemen Endangering Rigorous Internet Competition Accountability Act, would prohibit any digital advertising company from owning more than a single part of the digital ad ecosystem if they process more than $20 billion in digital ad transactions annually.
As Marketing Brew points out, “that threshold would be comfortably (or, perhaps, in their cases, uncomfortably) cleared by the likes of Google and Meta.”
“Companies like Google and Facebook have been able to exploit their unprecedented troves of detailed user data to obtain vice grip-like control over digital advertising, amassing power on every side of the market and using it to block competition and take advantage of their customers,” says Senator Mike Lee, who introduced the AMERICA Act last week. “The conflicts of interest are so glaring that one Google employee described Google’s ad business as being like ‘if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE.’ This lack of competition in digital advertising means that monopoly rents are being imposed upon every website that is ad-supported and every company — small, medium, or large — that relies on internet advertising to grow its business. It is essentially a tax on thousands of American businesses, and thus a tax on millions of American consumers.”
The Act, which joins Senator Lee with an unlikely coalition that includes Amy Klobuchar, Ted Cruz, and Elizabeth Warren, would also require companies that process more than $5 billion in digital ad transactions to be transparent about revenue streams and take specific measures to protect both customers and competition.
“[The Act] would prohibit big companies who own exchanges from owning supply- or demand-side platforms, as Google does,” Gizmodo says. “It also says you can’t own a supply-side platform if you run a demand-side platform, and vice versa — as Google does.”