Yelp Hopes to Serve Grilled Google: Antitrust Hearing Today

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Google Antitrust Hearing Grilling

This afternoon, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing, which is appropriately titled “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition,” will investigate whether Google has abused its monopolistic market dominance in the search and online marketing sector. During the hearing, the committee will question Eric Schmidt, Nextag CEO Jeff Katz, and Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman.

Stoppelman is claiming that Google is abusing its power by misusing Yelp content and favoring inferior Google products over competing products. He released the following statement on the Yelp blog yesterday:

“Although Google had previously acknowledged that it needed a license to use Yelp’s content, it was now using it without permission to prop up its own, less effective product. In some instances, Google even presented this content to its users as if it were its own.”

During the hearing, Stoppelman will recount the “impossible choice” Google provided: Yelp could either allow Google to use Yelp’s content for Google Places or remove Yelp from the search index. He will argue that this “false choice” left Yelp with no choice at all.

In addition, Stoppelman claims that by design it is impossible for Google’s competitors to outrank Google’s products on some search queries. He claims these instances are not due to algorithmic factors, but, instead, are due to Google’s insatiable hunger for more search revenue. Stoppelman will argue that this hearing is vitally important and that it will decide if innovation and new ideas are able to fairly compete against large businesses and monopolistic powers.

Schmidt will undoubtedly state that Google is attempting to provide end-users with the most relevant search results. In addition, Google executive chairman will argue that Stoppelman’s accusations of ranking by design in lieu of algorithmic factors are false. In addition, Google will likely claim that competition is alive and well and assert that the search giant has no desire to monopolize innovation.

Although the outcome of this hearing remains unknown, it is certain to shape both innovation and the technology development in the near future.

[Sources Include: Yelp! Blog & Senate Judiciary Committee]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO),... Read Full Bio
David Angotti
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  • Matthew Nowlin

    Nice summation of the issues.

    I personally have a problem with anyone claiming Google has a monopoly with Bing/Yahoo still hanging around to play ball. I’m rather nervous about Congress getting involved with this. Google admitted it needed a license, and backed off.

    So where does this take us? Does Google need a license for ALL indexed material? Do they need a license to display page snippets in organic results? The answer is, obviously, no. If our brilliant congress pushes the issue though, and decides that one reproduced result needs regulations (Displaying Yelp results) then the road to requiring displaying any indexed information isn’t far behind.

    It might take 20 years, but the road is laid to go from a search engine with free organic placements to a 100% pay to play market. I bet Google would like “not having a choice” in doing that.

  • Kiran Bista

    “Google has abused its monopolistic market dominance in the search and online marketing sector” I agree.

  • Glenn t


    We have recently implemented a system to outsmart yelp from hiding our filtered reviews:

    Step 1- First of all, if you’re advertising with yelp, we suggest you stop doing so and shift that money to optimize your own web site instead

    Step 2- Have a graphic designer make a yelp badge that is placed on your web site. It should say “we have …… filtered and unfiltered reviews on yelp”.

    Step 3- When a visitor clicks on the badge, it will go to another page ON YOUR OWN WEB SITE (instead of going to yelp’s. (why help them get traffic and rank higher anyways)?

    Step 4- On this page have your graphic designer get a screen capture (picture) of all your filtered and unfiltered reviews and have them pasted together onto one page (in 2 sections, the top section to be unfiltered reviews, leave a space, and then the lower section the filtered reviews). 

    Now, all your reviews (filtered and unfiltered) will be visible to all your web site’s visitors.

    5- Add the following words on the top: 

    “for your convenience, we have combined all of our filtered and unfiltered reviews on one page for you to view. If youd like to go to our live yelp page, please click here ——-”

    This is done so that your potential clients will not feel like you’re trying to hide something or trying to cheat the system. 

    6- Be sure to update your unfiltered yelp page every few weeks. 

    Advantages of doing this:

    1- Your visitors will stay on your web site instead of being re-directed to yelp’s

    2- Your visitors can’t be redirected to your competitors page (unless they choose to go to your live yelp page). 

    3- No more being a slave to yelp’s algorithm

    4- Yelp would not benefit from getting traffic from you and higher rankings on google. 

    5- This system cost us only $150 to implement 

    Just be sure to shift that $300 per month on yelp advertising and put it into KEYWORDS that people will search for. 

    **Please pass this on to all small business owners that may benefit from this.