Yelp Complains About Google Results For Restaurants Years After Demanding They Get Paid For Content Showing Up in Searches


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via TechCrunch

The CEO of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman, has gone to regulators in Europe over Google, filing a complaint against the way the search engine organizes results of searches for restaurants and restaurant reviews.

Google is working on an anti-trust settlement with European Union regulators about the way it presents results and claims that it prioritizes Google-branded results first. As a final agreement comes close to fruition, critics in Europe are getting louder. Now Yelp's CEO has joined the chorus. As TechCrunch reported:

Documents leaked to TechCrunch from inside Yelp allege that Google is manipulating its search results to favor Google+ content over Yelp content. The materials accuse Google of blatantly highlighting its own products in searches made in the US but not in Europe in order to avoid angering EU regulators who are reviewing Google antitrust complaints.

The source tells me these screenshots and study are what's being passed around internally at Yelp to demonstrate that Google's tactics are unfair. Yelp recently joined a formal complaint about the leniency of an EU antitrust settlement with Google, the New York Times reported today, and my source says these documents helped inspired this action.

Google and Yelp have some history. In 2009 Google tried to buy the company for more than half a billion dollars but Yelp ultimately walked away from the deal.

SlashGear explained more of their history during a 2011 dust-up:

According to Stoppelman's testimony [in a congressional hearing], after a license to use Yelp's review content in its results expired in 2007, Google first sought its own user reviews and then, in 2010, began automatically including content from Yelp without a new license agreement. When Yelp objected, Stoppelman claims, Google said it would only stop if the review site agreed to be removed from the overall search index.

So it sounds like initially Yelp wanted to get paid by Google for being included in the search engine's results. Google tried to buy Yelp in their attempts to expand into providing local content for users (Google eventually bought Zagat). Now that Google's local search results have evolved to provide a more comprehensive search result about local places, one that incorporates Google and other content to provide.

\As Google Chairman Eric Schmidt explained in 2011 at the same hearing where Stoppleman complained about Yelp's Google placement, "the cost of going elsewhere is zero, and users can and do use other sources to find the information they want." It's disheartening, if not surprising, that Yelp's CEO would turn to government to force a business that's become a competitor to act in a way advantageous to his own company at their expense.

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  1. If,Yelp wants their results to show up higher in a search or if they want to get paid, they can develop their own browser.

    Google should tell them to go fuck themselves.

    1. pretty much. Goddamn cronyism has everyone looking for a handout. Shit is weak, son.

    2. Yeah, this, totally.

      “Google’s results show Google stuff first.”

      SHOCKED, I AM!!! GM’s website does nto advertise Ford products! Shocked, I am!

      1. It’s not FAAAAAIIIIIIRRRRRRR for GM’s website to not show any Ford ads!

    3. I think you mean search engine?

      1. One of those internet-y kinds of things. Whatever.

  2. When was it somehow agreed that a search engine shouldn’t show their own services first?

    Yahoo always has.

    In fact, the clean Google interface was a design choice. It’s not fundamental to the concept of a search engine. They very easily could have chosen to have their own content, or content providers, on every page – the way Yahoo has.

    1. But it’s UNFAIR, don’t you know!

  3. fuck Yelp nuff said

  4. Your mom yelped.

  5. We bought a fixer-upper about a year and have been using the Internet to vet contractors who can do the fixing. Widget’s dad wouldn’t need a contractor, I’m not a chip of the old block (but, in my defense, I was adopted).

    There’s just not a lot of information you can cull from Internet contractor reviews, even from pay-for Angie’s List.

    1. God almighty, I sound like Obama: but, in his defense…

    2. Huh. My kitchen remodeling guy just left. He seems honest enough. Kitchens are damned expensive.

      1. We have quotes ranging from $20k to $80k to remodel our kitchen. I could live out my days in Jim Rockford’s trailer, though not in Malibu, a bit north. And by myself, of course. The price I pay.

        1. Yeah, you’ll pay $100 for a few hours of trailer parking at the Paradise Cove location in Malibu.

          I don’t care about cabinets, I don’t care about countertops. All I want is this.

    3. Did you just refer to yourself in the fourth person?

    4. I have a suspicion that when you get a few bad reviews on Angie’s List, these guys just change their name.

      I’ve been noticing contractors handing out cards that are different from who I contacted on Angies List…same people in charge, different name of service.

      So Sprinklers 24/7 becomes Lee’s Sprinklers. You get the idea.

      Even “good” contractors seem to have moments of idiocy, which will get bad reviews. I have to wonder why more smart kids don’t become contractors.

      I mean, is it really hard to call your customer and explain that you will not be coming over as agreed to finish the job, but instead the next day?

      I also love the guys who advise you to get additional work done. I agree and they promise to come back in a week to do it. Then they don’t come back. Why upsell me and then never deliver?

  6. “Google’s results show Google stuff first.”

    I’m not even sure it’s true. Google tends to be pretty focused on what users want, not on pushing their own products. They wouldn’t be showing their own results first unless they actually were useful to suers. Google even gets rid of ads people pay them money for if users don’t like them.

  7. Good Lord, some of the comments at TechCrunch. Google is a monopoly that must be regulated like a utility! People can be so damn stupid.

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