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Small Business Group Criticises Digital Markets Act Amendment That Would Ban Targeted Advertising

Brussels – August 23, 2021–The Connected Commerce Council, a global organisation whose membership includes more than 1,800 European small businesses, today criticised Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Greens/EFA Political Group for suggesting an amendment to the proposed EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) that would ban targeted advertising

The DMA proposal was introduced by the European Commission earlier this year with the goal of promoting competition by reining in the market power of leading digital platforms such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, and potentially forcibly breaking up the platforms. 3C is already on record criticizing the DMA proposal as it would drastically change e-commerce to the detriment of small businesses, but Amendment 606 would make matters far worse by banning digital platforms from offering targeted digital advertising services.

“Does the European Parliament really believe that small businesses would be better off and more competitive without targeted digital ads?” said Brandon Mitchener, an adviser to 3C Europe. “Digital advertising is the single most important marketing tool for countless European small businesses. With limited budgets, targeted ads allow small advertisers to find potential customers easier and cheaper than ever before. They are a cornerstone of modern commerce. Eliminating this valuable small business tool will only benefit big companies that already have brand recognition and can afford to spend millions of euros on mass media advertising.”  

The European Parliament in September will consider Amendment 606 along with more than 1,000 other amendments. 

“Once again, just as with GDPR, the European Parliament is so laser-focused on its crusade against large technology companies that it is ignoring the impacts of those actions on small businesses,” added Mitchener. “Proposals to ban or substantially change how digital advertising works demonstrate that European regulators do not understand the needs of small businesses. Google and Facebook will survive these new rules, but the small hotel owner in Greece and the home décor shop in Poland might not.”

The Connected Commerce Council fully supports the European Commission’s goal of fair competition in the digital services marketplace. But there is a high risk that DMA could unintentionally put European small businesses on a path of “digital regression,” as it burdens businesses that embraced digital tools with more complexity and uncertainty, reduced efficiency and higher costs. 

The Connected Commerce Council calls on the Members of the European Parliament to remember the tens of thousands of European small businesses that need powerful digital tools to survive and thrive in the rapidly changing world.

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