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Google and GDPR Hand Publishers a Hard Choice

GDPR is a brave new world for everyone who has long “consented” to publishers’ terms as a condition of use. Ironically, however, publishers are now the ones feeling coerced.

That’s because Google said on March 22 that publishers will need to share with it any data they get if they want to keep using its software to sell ads. Google won’t disclose to publishers exactly how it uses that data, and should any GDPR violations occur, the liability will rest with publishers, not Google. Not everyone wants to say yes, but the alternative is daunting.

Indeed, publishers face an unexpected bind. Declining Google’s offer could provoke catastrophic financial consequences. It operates DoubleClick Bid Manager, the largest platform used by marketers to buy ads; Adx, the largest exchange; and DoubleClick for Publishers, something nearly every publisher on the planet uses to sell ads.

“About 60 percent of our programmatic revenue comes from Google,” says one executive at a major publishing outfit. “We effectively have no choice but to agree.”

Google says its terms make sense because it acts as a controller, which the EU defines as a body that “alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data.” Google makes “decisions on data processing to help publishers optimize ad revenue,” the company explains. “That is consistent with the GDPR’s definition of a controller. This designation does not give us any additional rights to data.”

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What’s New in Publishing: GDPR – The Ultimate Resource Guide

Ad Age: Google and GDPR hand publishers a hard choice