Letter to the Editor: Congress, really?

Congress wants to break up Google? There are 766,826 small businesses in Virginia — 99.5% of all businesses. I own two of those businesses, Texas Inn — Downtown and Cornerstone. These past two and half years have been hard on us with the pandemic, supply chain issues, labor shortages and inflation. Thankfully, we have been able to keep our 86-year-old business open, with the help of low-cost and effective ads on websites like Google and Facebook. These ads helped us bring in new customers and connect with current customers.

But now Congress wants to change that. They just introduced the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act, a bill designed to penalize large companies by destroying the marketplace for online advertising. Really the bill is designed to break up Google and Facebook, which will make it more difficult for my businesses (and thousands of others) to compete.

If this legislation passes, we will lose access to the current streamlined advertising networks that allow us, for a low cost, to reach customers in real-time. Instead of benefiting from an innovative system that has revolutionized commerce, I will have to work with a loose network of internet brokers (aka middlemen) to spend more and get less bang for my advertising buck.

Internet advertising has allowed us to compete against much larger chain restaurants with deep pockets . Web ads helped bring our business back. I can’t do much about rising prices of meat and eggs. I can’t fix the labor crunch. But I can let others know this bill will be a disaster for any small business that relies on web ads.

Instead of hurting businesses, Congress needs to pass laws that help them.