Updated May 14, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: Rumble sues Google, again

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Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rumble, the publicly-traded YouTube alternative that's favored by conservatives, has filed a lawsuit against Google and its parent Alphabet.

The big picture: The lawsuit argues that Google owes Rumble upwards of $1 billion in damages for lost ad revenue as a client, and for illegally leveraging its dominance in ad technology to hamper Rumble's ability to compete as an ad tech competitor.

  • This is the second lawsuit filed by the video company against Google. Rumble first sued Google in 2021 for illegally favoring YouTube videos in Google search results and within its Android mobile operating system.
  • That lawsuit is currently in discovery, after a judge decided against Google in its motion to dismiss the case.

Details: The new lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California — the same jurisdiction in which Rumble's first lawsuit was filed.

  • The complaint alleges that Rumble would have received billions in ad if not for Google's anticompetitive conduct in the ad marketplace. (Rumble was a publishing client of Google's until it built its own ad tech stack in 2022.)
  • "Google exploits significant conflicts of interest that stem from its multiple roles in this electronically traded marketplace," the complaint reads.
  • "As a result, it is able to pocket a supra-competitive portion of every advertising dollar that passes through the Ad Tech markets it controls, ad-revenue that rightly should have passed through to publishers like Rumble and its content creators."

Between the lines: The lawsuit also alleges that Google abuses its monopoly in ad tech to illegally disadvantage Rumble as an ad tech competitor.

  • "Google unlawfully forecloses competition in the market for publisher ad servers in the market for ad buying tools for small advertisers, and in the separate markets for ad exchanges and ad networks," the complaint reads.
  • "Google excludes competition by engaging in conduct unlawful under settled antitrust precedent, including through unlawful tying arrangements, a pattern and practice of exclusionary conduct targeting actual and potential rivals, and even a market allocation and price fixing agreement with Facebook, at one time its largest potential competitive threat in the publisher ad server and ad network markets."
  • A Google spokesperson said in a statement: "These claims are simply wrong. Platforms like Rumble have many options to choose from when it comes to using advertising technology to monetize ... We'll show the court how our advertising products benefit publishers and help them fund their content online."

Of note: Rumble's ad marketplace revenues are still small, but the company sees its ad tech and cloud product offerings as a growing part of its business.

  • Rumble's full-year revenue for 2023 was $81 million. The vast majority of that revenue came from Rumble selling ads against the user-generated content on its platform.

Rumble's new lawsuit is the latest litigation waged against Google for ad tech dominance.

  • The Justice Department and several U.S. states sued Google last year for illegally abusing its dominance in digital advertising and violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • The EU fined Google $1.7 billion for illegally stifling online ad competition in 2019.
  • Dozens of other publishers in the U.S. and globally have also sued Google for the same reason.

Context: Rumble feels uniquely positioned to take the lead in its legal battles with Google because it believes it's been harmed by Google's monopoly abuse both as a customer of its ad tech solutions and as a competitor.

  • However, the firm — which is headquartered in Canada but trades publicly in the U.S. — has not been called to testify against Google in the U.S. government's current lawsuit against the tech giant.

What's next: The trial for Rumble's search ad lawsuit is scheduled for next April in Oakland, California.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a Google spokesperson's statement.

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