First, please go read Google throttled non-AMP page speeds, created format to hamper header bidding, antitrust complaint claims story on Search Engine Land. In short, the claims from Attorney General Paxton said that Google throttled non-AMP pages and used various techniques to promote its own ad business and much more.
Here is a snippet from the article:
Newly unredacted complaints against Google allege that the search giant’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which the company claimed would “dramatically improve” mobile web performance when it launched in 2015, was in fact a scheme to coerce publishers into using the format in order to limit advertising dollars not spent on its own ad exchanges.
The complaint, which is led by the State of Texas on behalf of 16 mostly Republican states, goes so far as to allege Google even throttled the load speed of pages not using AMP in order to give a “nice comparative boost” to AMP.
“Throttling non-AMP ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate header bidding for being too slow,” it reads. “‘Header Bidding can often increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when executed incorrectly,’ Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google employees grappled with ‘how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower,’” according to the complaint.
Read the whole thing for more details.
The SEO community and wider – was up in arms on Twitter the past few days, espesially over the weekend about these allegations. Here are some tweets:
All those years, all those Googlers, devs, & SEOs defending AMP… And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I just wish journalist @dannysullivan (before Google bought him off) was here to excoriate them for these disgusting actions.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) October 24, 2021
p.91 on https://t.co/88UljcW8Tf
— Tom MacWright (@tmcw) October 23, 2021
we have an official response pic.twitter.com/cIATT3Jnzk
— Tom MacWright (@tmcw) October 23, 2021
Malte by the way worked a lot of the AMP project.
Patrick McGee has the most details, the thread starts with this tweet, click through and scroll:
Anything PURPLE is newly unredacted.
Yellow/Orange is just normal highlights.
— Patrick McGee (@PatrickMcGee_) October 22, 2021
But the full complaint can be read over here.
As I read it, I was thinking, show me the evidence. It references internal Google documents but where are those internal documents, I want to see them. I’ve been involved in SEO legal expert witness cases and I can tell you, lawyers really get confused about how search engines, ad networks, AMP and technology in general work. So I want to read these internal Google documents and see if what his claims are, are legit factual without a doubt from those documents.
And I waited, so yesterday afternoon, Google sent us this statement:
“Just because Attorney General Paxton asserts something doesn’t make it true. This lawsuit is riddled with inaccuracies. In reality, our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. There is vigorous competition in online advertising, which has reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers. We will strongly defend ourselves from his baseless claims in court.” – Google spokesperson
Google also referenced its old blog post “AG Paxton’s claims about AMP and header bidding are just false. Engineers at Google designed AMP in partnership with publishers and other tech companies to help webpages load faster and improve the user experience on mobile devices—not to harm header bidding. AMP supports a range of monetization options, including header bidding. Publishers are free to use both AMP and header bidding technologies together if they choose. The use of header bidding doesn’t factor into publisher search rankings.”
Again, I’d love to dig into these internal documents and see if I can tell if Google did indeed to any of these things alleged in this court document or not. Would I be able to know from the document or internal docs? I don’t know. But now, all I got are how these internal docs are being interpreted and not the actual documents.
I liked these tweets:
Yeah that’s a fair assessment. I should be careful not to jump too quickly on it until more evidence, I’ve been watching stuff @jason_kint is putting out as well, tho I couldn’t find the primary doc this article 249 was originally quoted from in Rand’s share.
— Kirk Williams 🚴 (@PPCKirk) October 24, 2021
Anyway, if Google did do these things, that is just so so so evil and bad.
Forum discussion at Twitter.