A reluctant witness for Google's antitrust defense. One-on-one with ad software provider and local news publisher Kenny Katzgrau


In the spring of 2018, Kenny Katzgrau, CEO of Broadstreet, a SaaS ad management company designed for media companies and direct sales teams, penned and published an online 34-page white paper entitled “10 Advantages That Small Publishers Have Over Tech Giants in Selling Ads.His purpose for the document was to offer encouragement and advice to smaller news publishers on how they can use some of their competitive advantages to gain back some of the 70%+ of local ad dollars captured by big tech companies like Google and Meta (Facebook).

Katzgrau lists these opportunities as:

  • Community Support & Affinity
  • The Direct Relationship
  • Autonomy, Flexibility and Creativity (Compelling Creatives)
  • Section Sponsorships
  • The Ability to Tell a Compelling Story with Sponsored Content
  • Sustainable and Sensible Pricing
  • Newsletter Sponsorships
  • Optimal Placement
  • Transparent Reporting
  • Better Overall Performance

But it was a specific section of the document entitled: “KNOW YOUR ENEMY, PART II: The Key Weaknesses of Google, Facebook & Networks,” that would wind up more than three years later having Katzgrau subpoenaed to appear as a witness for the defense, in Google's pending January 2023 lawsuit filed by the US Justice Department, along with the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia, charging the tech giant for monopolizing multiple digital advertising technology products in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.

The specific section of Katzgrau’s paper that caught Google’s law firm’s attention was where he stated, "Small publishers can retain and regain business that was once theirs by closely examining the weaknesses inherent with all networks of scale. Just as Google and Facebook’s strengths map to a small publisher’s weaknesses, their weaknesses map back to a small publisher’s greatest strengths."  It can only be assumed that he will be "called to the stand" due to his expertise of more than 15 years as a media software engineer (that included two years at Yahoo!), to try to prove that Google may not be as overpowering as media companies claim.

The irony is that, at best, Katzgrau will be a hostile witness since he has written several op-eds and spoken at numerous conferences about how important it is for big tech not to maintain its monopolistic hold over the media industry.

On July 17th, 2023, Katzgrau wrote for his local news publishing website, which he recently became publisher, RedBankGreen.com, an op-ed entitled “Livin’ On a Prayer: “So, Google — you mindless and largely indifferent collective: I hope the DOJ helps chop you up into thousands of unrecognizable pieces. Google à la Bell.”

In this episode of "E&P Reports," we explore the recent Google Antitrust suit filed by the DOJ through one of the witnesses for the defense, news media industry digital ad software provider Kenny Katzgrau, CEO of Broadstreet. Katzgrau, who wrote an op-ed three years ago offering advice to small news publishers on how they can compete with big-tech local media advertising dollars, now finds that his words will likely become evidence presented by Google that they may be a less-dominant media giant than has been reported. Katzgrau, a local news publisher, discusses how even though he believes that Google is a powerful, dominant, monopolistic player in the local ad space, he may find himself sitting on a stand offering evidence for the defense.


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