DOJ Crash Course on Search Engines; Roblox is making metaverse ads a reality

Here’s today’s roundup of news… Want it by email? Register here.

The engine room

The Justice Department set up a mentoring session with a judge and Google’s lawyer to prepare for an antitrust trial that begins next year, Bloomberg reports.

The tutorial is a reminder of how difficult it can be to manage a Big Tech suit. A judge doesn’t need to know how an automobile works to understand the antitrust concerns if, for example, a company owned all of the dealer’s lots or made all of the engines. But the interdependence between search engines and web browsers makes this a tricky case for judges who have only a cursory knowledge of search engine mechanics.

The case hinges on Google’s default search status at many large companies, making it a “gateway” to the web, says DOJ attorney Kenneth Dintzer. Apple has Google’s biggest search licensing deal, but it also has deals with Motorola, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Samsung. (Microsoft Edge is the default on the Edge browser and Amazon Fire tablets.)

Google argues that the DOJ incorrectly classifies the search engine market as primarily Microsoft Bing and Brave, when companies like Amazon and TikTok are serious search challengers.

“Google invests billions in defaults, knowing that people won’t change them,” according to Dintzer. “They buy exclusivity by default because flaws matter a lot.”

New announcements on the ‘Blox

Metaverse advertising can be here. But not with Meta.

Roblox – arguably the closest thing to a metaverse we have today – is getting into advertising, CNBC reports. The gaming platform deploys proprietary advertising units called “portals”. Brands like Warner Bros. and Vans have already tested portals, and Roblox plans to expand them next year.

How do “portals” work? Brands can create their own games or virtual worlds on the platform. Portal units will appear as virtual billboards that transport players to these branded environments.

Roblox’s entry into the online advertising market is an effort to make up for lost ground due to a decline in Robux in-app purchases. Growth has been declining for its proprietary in-game currency. Additionally, Roblox loses 30% of every Robux sold, due to the discount it gives iOS and Android every time people buy Robux. In contrast, Roblox retains 100% of ad revenue (h/t @ballmatthew).

Roblox attracts 55 million DAUs and 260 million MAUs, 60% of which are over 13 years old. In other words, it has a meaningful scale. But he’ll have to balance that with the complications of advertising primarily to kids and teens.

How to go from hearing to there

As Apple launched its new iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch models this week, headphone maker Bose launched its new headphones.

Bose plans a major push in paid media and organic content creation to grow its new models and regain a foothold where it has lost customer segments in recent years, CMO Jim Mollica said. Digiday.

Mollica doesn’t mention Apple, but the company is Bose’s main rival.

Bose favors advertising on places like Tidal, a platform known for its superior sound quality, but Mollica cautions that paid advertising “cannot be the mainstay of what you do,” Mollica warns. “We can all ignore the ads, [which] leads to a much more difficult environment in which to connect,” he says.

But when it advertises, data is involved. A campaign last year involved 50 different segments. Instead of demographic categories, Bose looked for different behavioral and psychographic attributes. “It’s really watching people, what they think and how they behave. These content leads help fuel content that will be very different for you and different for me. »

But wait, there’s more!

Advertising agencies ask ‘where are all the people?’ in the battle of talents. [FT]

Facebook: deterring identity scraping by protecting our credentials. [blog] And privacy researcher Zach Edwards has a useful thread why this is an important update.

“Bundled IDs” that identify apps where CTV ads play compromised performance and measurability. [MediaPost]

Shira Ovide: How writing the Times’ On Tech newsletter for two years changed my view of technology. [NYT]

What Roblox’s new ad formats mean for brands. [Ad Age]

You are engaged!

LG Ads Solutions appoints Tony Marlow, former CMO of IAS, as its new CMO. [Adweek]

Amanda J. Marsh