Google Ad Auctions: An Interesting Phrase

April 16, 2021

I am no legal eagle. I don’t do online advertising. I don’t care too much about the antics of art history majors laboring in the vineyards of pay to play.

I did read “When Google’s Fancy Lawyers Screw Up and Jeopardize Sheryl Sandberg, at $1500/Hour.”

Here’s the passage I found suggestive:

… now we know a few important new details about the Texas adtech case. This case includes an allegation that Google’s large online advertising marketplace – think stock market but instead of stocks they trade ad slots – is riddled with secret rigged auctions.

And what, pray tell, was the phrase which snagged my attention? Here she be:

secret rigged auctions

Why is this interesting?

  1. The phrase resonates with me because “secrecy” and algorithmic, objective methods are trustworthy. But then there’s the word “rigged.” Yikes!
  2. The assertion backed by legal documents with faulty redaction makes clear that getting useful information is a pretty complicated process. Who did what, when, and why?
  3. Online advertising is big money for some outfits. Could the information widen cracks in the digital foundation?


Stephen E Arnold, April 16, 2021


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