Google’s layoffs in the advertising technology division’s DoubleClick division have impacted many industry veterans
Recent layoffs at Google resulted in the departure of several company veterans who played key roles in developing the company’s massive display advertising business, which is now under scrutiny by the United States government.
Posts on LinkedIn and conversations with people familiar with the matter indicate that at least five executives with significant experience in Google’s ad tech division were laid off as part of the workforce reductions.
Three of these execs originally joined Google through the ad tech firm DoubleClick, which was acquired by the search giant in 2007. With this purchase, Google became an unstoppable force in online advertising. Their departure may indicate that Google is moving away from a business that has withstood significant privacy and antitrust scrutiny, even though some of these executives had moved to other parts of the company.
The United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., last week, accusing the company of abusing its dominant position in the digital advertising market. They claim that Google’s purchase of DoubleClick “was a first step in Google’s march to monopoly” in their complaint.
Google insists it is not a monopoly and has even responded to the accusations. The company will spend months, maybe even years, defending its actions in court. However, it will have to do so without a number of key contributors to its web ads business.
A Google representative was not available for comment when asked about the executives’ departure.
In an interview last week, Dan Taylor, Google’s vp of global ads, was asked about the layoffs and said he couldn’t say how many people on the ad teams were let go but that they had an impact across all of Alphabet’s product categories. He reaffirmed that Google will continue to place a premium on its display business.
Taylor: “We’re incredibly committed to ensuring that an ads-based business model for the internet continues to thrive.”
About 12,000 positions across Google were announced to be eliminated in January after Alphabet’s parent company made the announcement. According to the two sources, the laid-off employees included former Google vice president Scott Spencer, who had joined DoubleClick in 2008. Former DoubleClick executive Jonathan Bellack was also let go. Both are considered potential antitrust case witnesses.
According to a LinkedIn post, Aitan Weinberg, a veteran Google executive who had also joined the company as part of the DoubleClick acquisition, was also laid off. Weinberg said nothing.
Spencer declined to comment when contacted.
In a LinkedIn post, Bellack revealed that he had decided to leave Google even before being fired. While he was “lucky to work with some phenomenally talented people” at Google, he decided to leave the company’s advertising division in 2018, according to an interview he gave.