Web accounts

Publishers seek to leave Google Web Initiative

A handful of online publishers have said they want to opt out of a Google program that promised to improve the mobile browsing experience, claiming it generates less ad revenue, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Instead of using Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc.’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework, launched in 2015, publishers such as BuzzFeed and BDG said they could use their own mobiles.

If these companies abandon AMP, it will make media companies less dependent on Google. The tech giant’s control of digital advertising prompted publishers to file a lawsuit in 2020 alleging anti-competitive behavior.

Read more: DOJ and states must decide whether to join forces on Google in antitrust probe

The center of the controversy is Google’s online advertising business, which has provided the company with the most valuable link in the chain of publishers and advertisers. But a group of state attorneys general allege that Google’s conduct violates antitrust regulations. Google has maintained a denial that it uses its power to crush the competition.

The news outlet reported that the lawsuit alleged that AMP pages, hosted on Google’s servers, were designed to make it harder to sell advertising space on Google’s competing platforms. The complaint also claimed that Google created ads that did not use AMP’s one-second delayed loading.

Google said such claims about AMP are false and that engineers designed the system to load web pages faster.

Still, media executives said ditching AMP would give them greater control over their ads and make it easier to sell ad space. The net effect, they say, is more ads and better prices for space.

A Google spokeswoman told the newspaper that AMP continues to be a useful way for sites, even those without large digital teams, to easily create great web experiences.

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