Google AdWords is under review by the European Commission. The Commission has “serious doubts” about Google’s practices regarding AdWords. In particular, the Commission is concerned about Google’s treatment of third-party trademarks in its adverts and the way it restricts advertisers from managing their campaigns on rival platforms.
Given the importance of Google in Europe’s digital economy, the Commission’s investigation could have far-reaching implications for the company. It also comes at a time when Google is already facing intense scrutiny from European regulators over other issues, including antitrust and data privacy.
The Commission’s concerns about Google’s treatment of third-party trademarks in its adverts appeared to be sparked by a complaint filed bymulti-national consumer goods company Coty last year. Coty alleged that Google had prevented it from running some of its trademarked terms asGoogle AdWords. In response, Google said that it had applied its trademark policy “in a manner consistent with past practice.”
The Commission is also concerned about restrictions that Google places on advertisers who want to manage their campaigns on rival platforms. According to the Commission, these restrictions make it difficult for advertisers to compare Google’s offerings with those of its competitors. As a result, the Commission fears thatGoogle may be stifling competition in the online ad market.
The European Commission’s investigation into Google AdWords is still in its early stages. However, given the potential implications for both Google and the wider digital economy, it is a case worth watching closely.