I’ve written a lot about Google Hotpot in the past, including some information on how the evolution of Places (yes, Hotpot and Places are for practical reasons essentially synonymous) is working as the foundation for Google’s upcoming social network. However, adding new features, functionality, and social elements to Hotpot didn’t come without cost. One of the major issues that’s arisen is that data providers have been upset with Google’s use of their information.
While Google Hotpot allows users to submit reviews, every Google medium that uses a registered “Place” (business) aggregates data from all over the web, including sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp. These sites provide the data because the attached information, be it a price, review, or anything else, is linked back to their “main portal.” These providers have come to rely on Google’s various local search elements for traffic.
However, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has stated that they’re “unhappy with the way Google uses” their data, and that they were hoping to negotiate some other form of compensation for the use of their data. Instead of responding diplomatically, Stopple indicates that the search giant has told Yelp that it’s all or nothing: either they stay in Hotpot, or they get removed from all of Google’s indexes, including search.
Some have speculated that this may be a manifestation of some risidual tension from the failed Google-Yelp acquisition last year, but that’s unlikely when you consider the other data providers who have had similar issues. The problem arises because Google has now given several full reviews (those written via Hotpot) on site, not to mention additional resources such as contact information, videos, and Google maps integration; these features give users less incentive to click through to sites like Yelp. “We just don’t get any value out of our reviews appearing on Google Places,” says Stopple.
TripAdvisor determined to take the hard route and stopped Google from collecting their data. While TripAdvisor hasn’t changed its mind since the decision late last year, there’s no word on how it has impacted their traffic.