The UK competition authority (CMA) this month announced it has opened an investigation at Google and Meta’s conduct over concerns that they hampered competition in markets for online display advertising services.
CMA will consider whether an agreement between Google and Meta (previously Facebook)–which Google internally codenamed “Jedi Blue”–broke the law.
Header bidding, launched around 2014, is a service which allows sellers, such as news publishers, to offer their online advertising space to multiple buyers rather than receiving offers one by one.
Google never took part in the header bidding, and in 2017, Google launched exchange bidding, now called open bidding, where the auction remains controlled by Google, and not by the publisher, but multiple exchanges can now participate.
Almost every publisher adopted Google ad tech for display ads.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it is focusing the investigation on whether the companies restricted or prevented the uptake of header bidding services and whether Google also affected the ability of other firms to compete with its products in this area.