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Publishers move to abandon Google-supported mobile web initiative
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Several large online publishers are taking steps to abandon a program from Alphabet Inc.’s Google that was billed as a way to optimize readers’ mobile-browsing experience, saying it generates less advertising revenue.
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Companies including Vox Media LLC, BuzzFeed Inc.’s Complex Networks and Bustle parent said they have started testing or are considering using their own versions of mobile-optimized article pages, instead of building them using the Accelerated Mobile Pages framework, which Google introduced in 2015 and is supported by an open-source working group. The Washington Post has gone a step further, abandoning AMP last summer.
A potential exit from AMP would make media companies slightly less reliant on Google, whose dominance in digital advertising has strained its relationship with publishers and been referenced in a December 2020 lawsuit by state attorneys general alleging anticompetitive behavior.
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A recently unredacted version of the lawsuit alleged that AMP pages—which are hosted on Google’s servers—have been specifically designed to make it more difficult for ad space to be auctioned on platforms other than Google’s ad exchange. It also alleged that Google made ads that didn’t use AMP load with a one-second delay.
A Google spokesman at the time said the lawsuit’s claims about AMP were false and said its engineers designed the system to load webpages faster.