Lisbon – 10th November 2021 – A group of 150 national company owners signed a letter sent this Wednesday to the European Parliament, calling on Portuguese MEPs to defend micro and SMEs during the discussion and voting of the European Commission’s proposal for the Regulation of Digital Markets (DMA – Digital Markets Act).
While understanding the “good intentions” of the European Commission, in the letter, the companies, which comprise the most varied sectors – from tourism to commerce -, expressed their concerns about how the DMA will “change the digital world” and warned about the damage that this change will consequently bring to small businesses.
“We adapted to the new reality, investing time and money in effective and affordable digital services. Controlling the power of the big digital platforms is an admirable goal. Still, there is a significant risk that DMA is not balanced and that its practical effects will increase digital complexity and costs for small businesses,” stated the letter.
Some provisions of the DMA that small businesses are concerned about include:
- That DMA could force digital platforms to eliminate free services, such as Google My Business and Google Trends, that disproportionately benefit small businesses which cannot afford paid business listings or expensive market data.
- That DMA would raise the costs of targeted advertising by restricting data sharing within companies like Google and Facebook, even when consumers exercise GDPR rights and approve these uses of their data.
- That DMA would make search advertising more expensive by limiting the amount of advertising on search results pages, because DMA would require digital platforms to treat many competitor products and their own products alike.
- That DMA would even go so far as to ban targeted advertising. It is important to remember, that small businesses use affordable targeted advertising to find new customers and compete with much larger companies with significantly larger advertising budgets.
Recalling that small businesses are still recovering from the crisis caused by the pandemic and that they rely on digital tools, that they invested, to survive, the group of entrepreneurs argued:
“For example, it makes perfect sense for small businesses to use a multi-tasking platform, as it saves time and money, and we just have to learn one system. In addition, there is a proposal to ban targeted digital advertising. Small businesses favour very large advertising platforms because they are affordable, reach the majority of consumers, and use sophisticated targeting to help businesses grow and prosper. Banning this service will put small businesses at a great disadvantage”.
The letter ends reaffirming the request for intervention by Portuguese MEPs in this regulatory process: “I appeal to you not to make things more difficult for my business. Please oppose DMA, or moderate it, to ensure that SMEs are not overwhelmed by new and unnecessary costs and digital complexity.”
The 150 subscribers to this letter are members of the Connected Commerce Council (3C), a global non-profit organization – with more than 2.000 European members – dedicated to promoting small businesses’ access to essential digital technologies and tools and to defending interests of these small businesses.