Aatmanirbhar Digital India Foundation seeks framework for regulating of online search adwords

The Foundation is seeking a level-playing field in area of online search keywords which gives equal opportunity for Indian startups to thrive
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The Aatmanirbhar Digital India Foundation (ADIF), an industry body representing the country’s digital and technology startups, has called for regulation of online advertisement as well as app aggregator platforms.

During a recent panel discussion, the industry body said any search or advertisement bias needs to be restricted on app store and related platforms, and deliberated on the need for India specific policy framework of IT intermediaries like Playstore, search and rankings.

BharatMatrimony.com founder & CEO, Murugavel Janakiraman said, “Stop Google monetising the brands of Indian companies. Brands are created with so much hard work and companies end up in spending crores of money to protect their own brands to prevent their customers going to competitors or frivolous entities. Companies are losing their revenue and customers because Googleis not protecting brands.”

The deliberations revolved around the need for government’s intervention to ensure that no organisation specific keywords were permitted for bidding by third parties in Google Ads policy. This has come in the wake of a Delhi HC order in favour of MakeMyTrip, where the Court directed Google to suspend the advertising account of HappyEasyGo on the Google Ads Programme.

Rohan, CEO, MapmyIndia said, "There is a need for immediate, effective regulatory and legal measures to stop monetising ‘brand value’ by advertisement and search platform of big tech. Every effort should be made to eliminate any bias and manipulation in the search and ranking algorithms attributing to advertisement keywords, to eliminate any loss to brands.”

The ADIF seeks to build an open, fair, neutral and self-reliant technology ecosystem that promotes a level playing field for Indian companies to build solutions for the country, that are adopted globally.

Ajay Data, ADIF Secretary General, said, “At ADIF, we represent the aspirations and interests of India’s dynamic startup ecosystem. We request government that no organisation specific keywords should be permitted for bidding by third parties, and ASCI guidelines should be expanded to cover search engine advertising to avoid such in future.”

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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