New safeguards in contractual relations with online intermediation platforms

By Agnese Colucci, Flavia Sabbatini and Tommaso Mancini – Domestic and International Agreements Area

The unstoppable process of digitalisation over the last two decades has led companies to have to deal with the ever-increasing economic and contractual power of the (few) search engines and (large) platforms offering online intermediation services, in particular with platforms operating as marketplaces, app stores and social medias used for professional purposes.

The contractual power of search engines and online platforms

In such a context, companies have often ended up passively accepting potentially disadvantageous contractual terms and conditions prepared (if not imposed) by such operators.

The reasons behind this phenomenon are easy to explain. The positioning of corporate websites has a major impact on consumer choices and is decisive for commercial success. Similarly, the high level of online intermediation services can be crucial to the commercial success of companies that use these services to reach consumers.