Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-08-10 21:40
Why is the FCC protecting and facilitating online advertising monopolies?
How can the FCC square its “competition, competition, competition” PR mantra with its regulatory plans for applying new anticompetitive privacy rules only on ISPs and not the “edge” online advertising monopolies -- Google and Facebook?
Simply as it relates to online advertising, the FCC’s new proposed Title II privacy rules would require ISPs with existing advertising businesses, or those planning to enter, compete, and grow in the online advertising market, to be subject to a new and special, privacy opt-in, consumer-consent framework where they alone in the marketplace would have to secure users’ advanced permission to use a majority of their data for advertising purposes.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-08-03 22:38
The evidence shows that Google & Facebook -- by far the world’s most dominant Internet gatekeepers – are not an Internet advertising “duopoly,” but worse, two separate Internet advertising monopoly platforms, one in search advertising and another in social media advertising.
That’s because search and social media advertising are not competitive substitutes for each other, but are proving to be synergistic advertising complements to each other in company marketing campaigns, because generally search advertising excels at lead generation and local business visibility while social media advertising generally excels at building brand awareness and interactivity with consumers.
Tellingly, after beginning to directly compete in social in 2011 and in search in 2013, Google and Facebook both abruptly, coincidentally, and effectively stopped competing directly with each other in both the search and social media markets in 2014.
Apparently, they either jointly agreed in 2014 to divide up the marketplace and no longer directly compete with each other to maximize their exceptional mobile growth and profitability; or they concluded independently -- from their initial directly competitive forays into the other’s core markets -- that the other commanded unbeatable monopoly network effects, so not directly competing with each other would maximize their exceptional mobile growth and profitability.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2016-07-29 11:34
Google: do as we say, not as we do.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2016-07-22 12:34
The EU’s recent intense antitrust spotlight on Google can’t help but illuminate some of what EU antitrust authorities think about other dominant consumer technology platforms adjacent to Google -- i.e. Amazon, Facebook, and Apple – companies Europe collectively refers to as “GAFA” particularly in the context of the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy.
In 2011, Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt was the first to identify, and publicly bring attention to, these particular four dominant consumer technology companies “exploiting platform strategies” ironically by branding them the “gang of four.”
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2016-07-15 18:15
With the EU’s new advertising antitrust charges against Google, the EU has now issued three Google abuse-of-dominance Statement of Objections covering search, mobile, and advertising, that actually span seven separately defined antitrust markets in the EU.
So what does this strategically-critical new EU-Google advertising Statement of Objections -- that builds upon the other two statements of objection – finally tell us about the EU’s overall Google antitrust strategy?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-07-12 12:43
Of the three EU antitrust cases against Google (search bias in shopping, Android tying, and soon search-advertising-tying), the expected new search-advertising case -- which focuses on how Google has long contractually required websites to use Google’s search advertising if they use Google search -- could be the hardest EU-Google antitrust case for the FTC to ignore, for the reasons below.
Summary of Why It’s Hard for FTC to Ignore the EU Search-Advertising Antitrust Case:
1. The FTC has been following the EU’s antitrust lead.
2. The FTC’s Google 2012 staff report agrees with the EU’s conclusion on search advertising.
3. The DOJ threatened a 2008 monopolization case over Google’s search advertising syndication.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-07-06 20:12
[Note: This was submitted to the FCC for Reply Comments on the Title II Privacy NPRM]
The FCC’s Open Internet order and proposed Title II privacy rules divided what was unified.
For privacy, it broke what was working. Confused what was clear. Complicated what was simple. Unprotected what they sought to protect. Created more costs than benefits.
Since the Internet’s beginning the FTC has had privacy authority over information services.
For the decade since the FCC classified cable, wireless, and DSL broadband as an information service, and for the entire smartphone era where consumers became familiar with online privacy issues and regulation, the FTC was the sole unified regulator for protecting American consumers’ privacy.
In a 2014 filing to the FCC, the FTC explained why the FTC was better positioned to protect consumer privacy and data security than the FCC, because the FTC had national direct statutory authority to protect all consumers under: Section 5 -- that proscribes “deceptive” or “unfair” business practices; the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, (COPPA).
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-06-21 17:08
The likelihood improved this week, that the Supreme Court could have an interest in hearing an appeal of the recent USTelecom v. FCC court decision that granted the FCC complete Chevron deference to uphold the FCC’s Title II reclassification of ISPs as utilities. That’s because a new unanimous 8-0 Supreme Court decision suggests that the USTelecom Court may have granted the FCC too much legal Chevron deference on its Title II reclassification. (A hat tip to Gus Hurwitz’ tweet for flagging the Title II relevance of this SCOTUS case and his great legal analysis is here.)
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-06-20 11:48
Are the FCC’s set-top-box proposed rules really about unlocking the set-top-box to competition or are they really about advancing Google and Public Knowledge’s real agenda – forced unlocking of the licensing and copyright protections of the underlying video programming that generates ~$200b in annual revenues?
In response to the FCC Chairman’s request for an alternative approach to the FCC’s current AllVid proposed rules, the Pay TV coalition has proposed an app-based solution that solves all of the FCC’s publicly-stated problems with cable set-top boxes.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-06-15 17:47
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 majority decision to completely uphold the FCC Open Internet Order on every single one of the ~couple dozen argued points, after the court had twice before not granted the FCC complete deference in overturning the FCC on these matters, surprised most everyone given the number and seriousness of the legal challenges put forth, and the selective skepticism the judges signaled at oral arguments.
Given that this total support of the FCC was not anticipated, what does this potentially seminal court precedent mean practically?
For now, the FCC effectively enjoys complete deference from this Court on Open Internet issues.
The majority dismissed every single one of the petitioners’ best legal, process, and constitutional challenges and proactively cauterized them with court assertions that the FCC’s actions were reasonable, supported by the evidence, and compliant with the APA, or that the challenges were unpersuasive.