TechCrunch broke the news today that a Yelp internal document was recently leaked online claiming Google is promoting its own content at the expense of users.
The presentation gives examples of how Google+ local listings appear first in Google’s search results, ahead of Yelp, even in instances when the word “Yelp” is specifically included in the search query.
Here’s an example of a Google search for “gary danko yelp”. Gary Danko is a popular San Francisco restaurant, and this example shows how Google is serving links to reviews published on Google+ ahead of a link to Yelp’s page for the restaurant.
According to the Yelp document, 20% of users in a test group clicked on the Google+ results after searching for “gary danko yelp.”
Yelp alleges that Google “appears to be intentionally serving up search results that contradict the users’ intent” in order to favor its Google+ local listings.”
A spokesperson for Google has said, “We build Google Search for our users and our goal is to provide the right information at just the right time.”
Yelp’s complaint comes at a time when an EU antitrust settlement proposal is being pushed by European Commissioner For Competition Joaquín Almunia. The proposal is facing opposition from critics as the settlement would let Google off without admitting to any wrongdoing.
The settlement would also let Google off without fines for using its search engine to hinder competitors in local business listings and comparison shopping. Those fines could potentially reach into the billions of dollars.
The New York Times reported today that Yelp recently joined a formal complaint about the leniency of the EU antitrust settlement with Google. A source told TechCrunch that the Yelp internal document helped inspire the action of joining a formal complaint.
For more details, you can see the full Yelp document below:
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