Google has hit fresh turbulence in France after the country’s competition regulator weighed in on a dispute between the internet giant and local firm Amadeus by ordering it to review ad blocking policies and procedures.
This follows a formal complaint by the French directory service after it registered declining sales last year, coinciding with it being blocked from running search ads by Google. The order serves as a preliminary injunction by the regulator while it assesses whether the case has merit.
Defending its practices Google issued a statement saying: “Amadeus is a paid phone directory service which charges consumers for services that are available elsewhere for free, or for a nominal charge.
“Some of Amadeus’ ads violated our terms and conditions for advertisers, which are designed to protect users.”
Google’s advertising policies currently prohibit promotion of services which can be obtained for free or at a lower price from the government or other official sources, a measure it enacted to protect consumers.
Nevertheless, the regulator is demanding that Google clarify its policies and provide more advance warning before blocking advertisers. It is also being asked to review the specific circumstances of the case and improve staff training.
The order comes a matter of weeks after Google was hit by a £44m fine for breaching EU online privacy rules.