Google Repays Agencies Following Adalytics Report; Netflix Trials Game Streaming


In today's ExchangeWire news digest: Google repays agencies following Adalytics report; Netflix trials game streaming; and Indian court rules against Google on competitor search terms.

Google repays agencies following Adalytics report

Google is issuing credits to advertising agencies over “billing discrepancies”, shortly after Adalytics published a scathing report concerning the alleged placement of YouTube ads on low-quality third-party sites, including MFA (made for advertising) sites. According to multiple executives cited by AdAge on condition of anonymity, the rationale for the credits is largely in line with the issues cited by the Adalytics report, specifically incorrect format and placement of YouTube inventory. 

Following the initial report, a proposed class action lawsuit was filed against Google in the US District Court of California, seeking punitive and restitution of premiums charged for TrueView advertisements which were allegedly wrongly sold.

A statement issued to AdAge from a Google spokesperson reads, “As part of ongoing relationship building, we sometimes issue credits to advertisers, this is not uncommon. As we’ve stated repeatedly, Adalytics used a flawed methodology to make wildly inaccurate claims about Google Video Partners.” 

Correction (15:02 BST, 16th August 2023): We have corrected references to "refunds" to "credits" upon approach from Google. Credits issued were for "nominal" amounts of less than USD$1,000 (£787) and were for purposes of "ongoing relationship building"

Netflix trials game streaming

Netflix has begun beta testing on video game streaming on TVs and PC/Mac environments. The trial, which will initially be open to limited subscribers within Canada and the UK, marks a departure from the firm’s initial strategy of only focusing on mobile titles, which began in November 2021. 

Notably, while playing games on TV, users will use their smartphone to operate the game, rather than rely on proprietary hardware, while those on PC and Mac will be able to use their keyboard/mouse. 

Indian court rules against Google on competitor search terms

The High Court of Dehli has ruled that the sale of trademarks as sponsored competitor keywords within Google Ads is unlawful, in a decision which may force the search giant to revamp its results pages. The ruling follows an initial complaint from DRS Logistics, which alleged that websites for rival third-parties appeared as sponsored listings when consumers searched for its “Aggarwal Packers and Movers” subsidiary. The decision states that, as Google makes a significant amount of profit by allowing competitors to bid on rival firms’ keywords, it cannot be classed as an intermediary and therefore violates the country’s Trademarks Act.

The ruling reads, “Undisputedly, the trademarks are monetised by Google by using the same keywords for displaying the paid Ads on the SERP. In one sense, Google effectively sells the use of the trademarks as keywords to advertisers. Prima facie, it encourages users for using search terms, including trademarks, as keywords for display of the Ads to the target audience.”