miércoles, 25 de abril de 2018

Soft and needed rules on P2B

Beyond the issues of digital taxes, fake news and privacy, there are many other topics that raise concerns around the role of digital platforms in our society and economy. Platforms have become a central element in the distribution of any kind of goods and services, and therefore in the connection between sellers and buyers. Each day, there are less and less cases of independent traders in any sector, consumers have got used to look for theirs dreams and needs in a selected group of sites.

But for the dismay of USA, the EU is expected to regulate on the field of P2B (Platform-to-Business) relationships. There are important reasons behind this purpose. According with a study published last year, "3rd party sellers in the EU in 2016 was €54.566,5 Million, representing 22% of total online retail". Furthermore, the aggregated impact of marketplaces, appstores, online advertising and social networks in the EU economy is estimated in the range of € 2.0 billion and € 19.5 billion per year (difficult a more acute calculation due to the opaqueness of platforms)

While there is a growing economic importance of the role platforms, there is also a growing discontent of their business users. In another study focused in the quality of the P2B relationship,  "46% of business users responded that they have experienced problems and disagreements with the platforms in the course of their business relationship". The mix of these problems include disputes around terms and conditions, the lack of transparency in platform practices, the unbalanced usage of data and many others.

Taking into consideration the above landscape, it looks there are strong reasons for the EU to take regulatory actions on the issue. However, according with the announce of the digital commissioner, there are not extremely regulatory actions, just some transparency obligations, a framework for redressing and the creation of an observatory. The light approach needed for the current status of our incomplete knowledge of digital markets, but enough for starting to bridle what has been up to now an unleashed market.

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