Daily Mail owner sues Google over search results

Technology

The owner of the Daily Mail newspaper and MailOnline website is suing Google over allegations the search engine manipulates search results.

Associated Newspapers accuses Google of having too much control over online advertising and of downgrading links to its stories, favouring other outlets.

It alleges Google “punishes” publishers in its rankings if they don’t sell enough advertising space in its marketplace.

But Google has called the claims “meritless”.

Associated Newspapers’ concerns stem from its assessment that its coverage of the royal family in 2021 has been down-played in search results.

Daily Mail editor emeritus Peter Wright said that the search engine’s alleged actions were “anti-competitive”.

Wright suggested that search visibility dropped after using online advertising techniques “which were allowing us to divert advertising traffic away from Google to other ad exchanges, which paid better prices – and this was their punishment”.

“We think it’s time to call this company out,” he said.

A Google spokesperson said: “The Daily Mail’s claims are completely inaccurate.

“The use of our ad tech tools has no bearing on how a publisher’s website ranks in Google search.

“More generally, we compete in a crowded and competitive ad tech space where publishers have and exercise multiple options. The Daily Mail itself authorises dozens of ad tech companies to sell and manage their ad space, including Amazon, Verizon and more. We will defend ourselves against these meritless claims.”

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