As has happened quite a few times in recent memory, Google’s position in the advertising industry is coming back to bite the company a bit. Today, France has issued a fine against Google for “abusing” that position.

The French Competition Authority’s investigation against Google’s advertising business found that the company had “unfairly” sent business to its own products and, in turn, discriminated against the competition. Google didn’t argue against that ruling in France and agreed to pay the fine, which totals €220 million, about $268 million in US dollars.

Google, which has not disputed the facts, wished to benefit from the transaction procedure. The Authority granted his request. Google offered commitments to improve the interoperability of Google Ad Manager services with third-party ad server and ad space sales platform solutions and end provisions that favor Google. The Authority has accepted these commitments and makes them binding in its decision.

In response to the findings today, Google announced changes it would be making to its ad technology on The Keyword. The changes include, firstly, an upcoming “solution” that will offer “equal access to data” and providing information from previous auctions regarding the “minimum bid to win.” Further, Google Ad Manager will be made more flexible to “meet the evolving needs of our partners.” Google says that this added flexibility includes “custom pricing rules for ads that are in sensitive categories and implementing product changes that improve interoperability between Ad Manager and third-party ad servers.”

Finally, Google reiterated its transparency commitment, noting that Google will not “optimize bids in our exchange in a way that other SSPs (sell-side platforms) can’t reproduce.” Publishers will also be given three months’ notice for any required “major changes requiring significant implementation” unless they are related to privacy/security or required by law.

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Ben Schoon

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