Netpia requests Google, Apple to comply with EU Digital Marketing Act

Netpia requests Google, Apple to comply with EU Digital Marketing Act By Seok-jae Kang Vice President, Asia Journalists Association SEOUL : Netpia, a Korean company specializing in native language Internet addresses (NLIA), has asked Google and Apple to comply with the EU Digital Marketing Act. In a press conference at the Korea Press Center in downtown Seoul on January 23, 2024, the Korean firm also requested the two big tech companies, which were designated as Internet gatekeepers, to include Netpia’s own browser service GoolUP search engine and CoolUP app in Google Chrome and Apple Safari, as well as in iPhone and other Apple products. Netpia, which was founded in 1995, warned that Google and Apple would be fined 10 percent of their global sales if they fail to comply with the EU Digital Marketing Act. The deadline is March 6, 2024. According to Netpia, the Digital Marketing Act was adopted by the EU in 2022 and implemented from May 2023 to ensure fairness and competition. Citing a Bloomberg News article dated on Nov. 14, 2023, Netpia claimed in its press release that “Google paid Apple 36% of its advertising revenues resulting from redirecting the online traffic (company brand names, etc.) from Safari to Google.” The press release said that “Google collaborated with smartphone giants like Apple and intercepted the online bran name traffic (advertising customers) and passed them on to its own Internet portal by exercising the ‘gatekeeping’ practices. Lee Pan-jeong, founder and chairman of Netpia, alleged at the press conference that the “gatekeepers abused their dominant position to prevent Netpia’s own solution of NLIA service from operating.” “NLIA enables non-English users to enter Internet addresses in their native languages worldwide. Netpia’s brand name auto-exchange system automatically directs the user to the actual entity that a user wants rather than going through third-party gatekeepers like Google. At present, small to mid-sized manufacturers and suppliers pay 15% to 30% brokerage commission to the gatekeepers which adversely impacts their financial picture.” Since 2013, Netpia said it has been developing mobile-based native language domain service and distributing the CoolUP engine and app – Netpia’s own app browser that can be accessed via voice through the real name domain service. Lee welcomed the Digital Marketing Act, a “EU legislation made to counteract the gatekeepers’ monopolistic practice of redirecting customer traffic to their own portals.” “Those portal companies have made money undeservingly by abusing their gatekeeper’s position, which violates normal economic principles.” He recommended that “governments and regulatory agencies should follow the EU’s lead to monitor and provide the watchdog function to prevent a state of anarchy in the digital world.” Lee said that Nepia recently approached Google and Apple with a “proposal to collaborate with them to comply with the EU’s Digital Marketing Act via Nepia’s legal representatives in the United States.” “The proposal consists of a campaign to ‘Protect all the brand names and customer traffic’ beginning January 8, 2024, (January 9, Korean time).” Lee continued to say, “If the monopolistic practice by the gatekeepers continues out of control, small and medium-sized enterprises will suffer the most.” “If the brand name domain is reinstated by the implementation of fair laws such as the EU’s gatekeeper regulation law, the current number of domain addresses, which is about 700 million, can grow to at least 22 billion, twice the global phone number. If that happens, the global economy would grow 30 times larger than it is today. And the economic growth would benefit the gatekeepers the most.” The EU Digital Marketing Act, also known as the Gatekeeper Act, which will be enforced by the 27 EU countries starting in March 2024, is a strong Fairness Act for Online Platforms that is a preemptive measure to prevent big tech companies from abusing their power to dominate the marketplace, according to Netpia’s press release. Netpia claimed in the press release that “the EU would apply the Digital Marketing Act to six big tech companies designated as gatekeepers for now. They are Google, Apple, Amazon, ByteDance, and Microsoft. The gatekeepers would be subject to fines of up to 10%of their annual worldwide revenue for a first offense and 20% for a second offense.”

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