back to article Google and Facebook's top execs allegedly approved dividing ad market among themselves

The alleged 2017 deal between Google and Facebook to kill header bidding, a way for multiple ad exchanges to compete fairly in automated ad auctions, was negotiated by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and endorsed by both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (now with Meta) and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, according to an updated complaint …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    FAIL

    Firefox and uBlock

    Google being Google. Again.

    I hope something comes of this, though it's a very small hope.

    Fortunately, with Firefox and uBlock the advertisers are wasting their money because I don't see their ads or tracking cookies.

    1. Sleep deprived

      Re: Firefox and uBlock

      And FB Purity for a clean Facebook.

      1. John Robson Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Firefox and uBlock

        That's what a hosts file is for isn't it?

        1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

          Re: Firefox and uBlock

          Firefox container is easier to use

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox and uBlock

        A clean Facebook would be a blank page, surely?

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Firefox and uBlock

      There is a very famous quote that describes the impact of buying advertising.

      Half my advertising spend is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.

      Neither Google or Facebook care which half either as it's all revenue for them.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: Firefox and uBlock

        They don't even care about scam ads.

        If scam ads are reported and they don't do anything about them they should be on the hook.

    3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Firefox and uBlock

      However, an increasingly large number of sites misbehave or fail to respond to clicks when the ad or tracking scripts fail.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan

      Re: Firefox and uBlock

      Or even Brave browser - seems to effectively block adverts. It can also block scripts but doesn't have the fine-grained control that NoScript does.

      For some sites I'm happy to use Brave - more complex ones need Firefox/uBlock/NoScript

    5. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Firefox and uBlock

      I kind of get a chuckle out of it all.

      I no longer use any ad-filters, blocks, etc. to stop the advertising. Most of the sites I visit were on exception lists, so all they did was force me to add a site to the exception list. Pointless and futile.

      I found the key is enough bandwidth to keep up with the pernicious garbage, and I have more than adequate bandwidth now. Though I am awfully tired of video ads and ads with sound - take a hike, already, spammers! (And I do consider internet advertising to be spam because they never got MY permission to shove it in my face other than through website "agreement" legalese you have no real choice about.)

      Bandwidth is cheap nowadays. Compared to the latest games and software, what is a couple or few megs of advertising in the course of a day?

      When I worry about being tracked, I worry about whether my meds need adjusting. I knew in the '80s there was no "anonymous" internet.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These adverts you speak of

    Additional input required.

  3. Pseu Donyme

    A simple mitigation ...

    ... for the various abuses (such as this) rising from the current business model would be forcing a more healthy one by making on-line advertising strictly opt-in; the user should be the customer, not the product.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      "The user should be the customer"

      I want to point out that one thing that is expected from customers and that internet users almost never do is pay. There's a large quantity of websites, not only Google/Facebook but also news and content creators, that only survive thanks to the ads. I don't know how much users would be willing to pay these websites for an ad-free experience, but I don't think it would be much.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: "The user should be the customer"

        Let the publisher decide which ads they want to display?

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: let the publisher decide which ads they want to display?

          They should serve them too, and be held responsible for any nasties that might be delivered.

          The upside, for the publisher, is complete control over editorial context. Which is a plus for the advertiser too.

          -A.

          1. Warm Braw Silver badge

            Re: let the publisher decide which ads they want to display?

            On the rare occasions that I see advertisements, I'm shocked by how really tacky most of them seem to be and they seriously detract from any sense of authority the hosting publication might aspire to. But perhaps I have so little recorded history that noone wants to bid for my attention.

            I don't know why the bigger publishers don't sell their own advertising - but I suppose the advertisers then don't get to aggregate their sucker data across multiple outlets.

            1. captain veg Silver badge

              Re: let the publisher decide which ads they want to display?

              The advertisers don't, in general, get to aggregate the sucker data. It's the ad-tech platforms that do that* and then sell the supposed benefits to advertisers.

              -A.

              *I don't think it controversial to point out that they, um, exaggerate their abilities in this respect.

            2. ArrZarr

              Re: let the publisher decide which ads they want to display?

              They used to, but it's considerably easier for display marketers to set up ads on Google, throw in some targeting criteria and let the algorithms work it out.

              It lacks the craftmanship of the old days where you would specifically choose which sites your ad would go on based upon supposed interests of whoever is likely to see that page.

              There are other advantages like how Google only attributes an impression after the user actually sees 50% (iirc) of the ad rather than just loading a tracking pixel on page load and saying that the ad got an impression even if the user never saw it. Another advantage is that while you don't hand pick where you want the ads to appear, you can do a whole hell of a lot more volume with one person managing a GDN account than keeping relationships up with a host of individual content publishers.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact?

      I'm not sure that level of hyperbole is useful here.

      Illegal corporate cartels are a long way from sending millions to death camps.

      1. quxinot

        Re: Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact?

        Welcome to the internet. Useful never gets in the way! :)

  5. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Facebook CEO [REDACTED]

    Oh come on, tell us who it is, I've always wanted to know.

  6. Rol Silver badge

    Content Provider

    One of my favourite comedians, Stewart Lee, often refers to himself as a content provider. I guess, in no small part, because bootleg videos of his performances are regularly uploaded to you-tube where they generate wealth for all except himself.

    I hope to see him do a gig locally, and I have designed a T shirt that suitably rips his merchandise off, which has a silhouette of him labelled "Content Provider", but on the back of mine will be the unmistakable visage of Boris Johnson, labelled "Discontent Provider"

    Problem is, by the time he shows up around my neck of the woods to do his stand-up, I think Boris might be history and the joke fall flat.

    I'm going to see him next week, so fingers crossed, Boris is still resident in number 10, swigging wine and swapping infections with all the party goers, instead of in his retirement post, smoothing the way through the corridors of power for any company that is willing to pay him in blondes and bags of silver.

  7. Wolfclaw

    Massive fines, breaking up the companies and jail time for all the bosses is what is needed, but as this the U.S Of A$$, a pay off will be arranged !

  8. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Devil

    I'm shocked, shocked I say!

    Well, not that shocked.

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: I'm shocked, shocked I say!

      If you received a shock, Slimy and Assoc are leading a class action lawsuit against them!

  9. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    When elephants fight ..

    .. the grass suffers.

    We are that grass.

  10. Exact Circus
    Pint

    Actually, no software changes are needed to avoid ads. Since the point of the ads is to get you to buy something, simply sign an agreement that you promise not to buy anything if they promise not to show you any ads.

  11. msobkow Silver badge

    The best defense is apparently a good spin of deny, refute, and object - with little to no evidence to support the "opinion" that the charges should be dismissed.

    Court theatre really is amusing. Even when they settle this thing, it will probably be behind closed doors and with a sealed case file. :(

  12. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Expletive deleted

    Having a large market share, by itself, isn't illegal. But this action by Facebook and Google, that's a problem and I'm now all for some antitrust action being taken against them.

    Chose a title "expletive deleted" partially to make fun of the redactions -- I mean, what's the point of redacting the name of the CEO and COO, when anyone can google who it was in 30 seconds? A tad silly.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Expletive deleted

      Yeah, it's a farce but there are legal technicalities that need to be adhered to.

      It reminds me of a farce not long ago when [REDACTED] obtained a "super injunction" against someone else which included that [REDACTED] couldn't be named. Everyone knew who it was as it was plastered all over the internet on sites outside of the UK; and [REDACTED] was named when an MP said the name during a debate in the house - using parliamentary privilege. The farcical thing was that it was legal to report the proceedings of the house including what the MP had said, but still contempt of court to name [REDACTED].

      IIRC I think [REDACTED] got such backlash that they themselves had to 'fess up and retract the super-injunction.

      1. flokie

        Re: Expletive deleted

        IIRC [REDACTED} retracted the super-injunction after a Scottish Sunday newspaper published their name.The super-injunction was obtained from an English court, and therefore didn't apply to Scotland which has its own judicial system.

      2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Expletive deleted

        That reminds me of a truly farcical event.

        Some years ago, a tutor took his student (under age at the time) on a jaunt to Spain (IIRC). Reportedly, they had been engaging in (underage) sex for some time prior to the event.

        After the couple were traced and retuned to the UK, the female's name could not be used.

        The farcical part is that for the days from the youngster being reported missing until they were brought back to the UK, both the names had been plastered across virtually every daily newspaper front page (so easily found with a web search if you know the man's name) but the name of the female can't be published.

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Feckbook and Gargle have a lot to lose if they are condemned for this. Illegal agreement to stiff competition can lead to huge fines that may seriously impact their turnovers.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      No they don't.

      When it comes to punishing mega-corps, the government in the US is as toothless as Canada's. It is all posture and pretend, but the fines never amount to more than insultingly small percentage of revenue, which just gets passed on to consumers anyhow. :(

    2. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Tell that to the UK banks convicted of fixing the LIBOR rate...

  14. Plest Bronze badge
    Happy

    I am shocked and appalled you'd think the top scuzzbags running the internet would be in cahoots over ad revenue!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corporate Fines aimed at the corporation are pointless

    You get a good feeling after a large fine has been levied, but as others have pointed out these are often small relative to turnover and in any case are just absorbed by the corporate blob, or at least their customers.

    A more effective solution would be to fine the CEO, CFO, CLO and CTO 10% of their salary in the year preceding the Jugement.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Corporate Fines aimed at the corporation are pointless

      And what's to stop the corporation from absorbing that, too, say with a noncash bonus?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Corporate Fines aimed at the corporation are pointless

        It depends how you write the rules

    2. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Corporate Fines aimed at the corporation are pointless

      If it can't be jailed, it shouldn't be considered a "person."

      That is the fundamental problem we have here - no jail time. No "you're 100% shut down for 5-10 years, bub."

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Corporate Fines aimed at the corporation are pointless

        Too much collateral damage. Not everyone in the company's doing evil. You'll just end up with a larger-scale widows-and-orphans problem.

  16. hayzoos

    Google has been getting worse lately. I use uMatrix as part of my tracking blocking strategy. I see even here googletagmanager.com, google-analytics.com and doubleclick.net are part of the comments page. Captchas have been getting more pervasive and most provided by google. I am really trying to wean from google but they are finding ways to be everywhere. Some sites are unusable unless I allow some or all of google interaction. I would like to just say no, but I need to use many of these sites.

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