Yelp has filed another grievance, so to speak, against Google over a recent change to search results that affects restaurant review sites. TripAdvisor has also voiced its displeasure over Twitter regarding the change.
Late last week Google announced an immediate change to its search results, which will draw extra attention to critic reviews and restaurant review sites when searching for places to eat. This sounds as though it would benefit review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor, but the two companies allege they’re being de-prioritized in favor of Google reviews, and Google-owned review sites such as Zagat.
On Friday Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman, shared an example on Twitter where Google’s own properties are taking up an entire two pages of search results:
Google monopolist not satisfied with above the fold they've now claimed "page 2" cc @kaufer #byeorganic pic.twitter.com/qGXmt2Z5K5
— Jeremy Stoppelman (@jeremys) August 5, 2016
Trip Advisor CEO, Stephen Kaufer, also spoke out against Google for favoring its own properties:
If Google would just let users search the web instead of foisting their content upon us… https://t.co/RuoaFLh3I0
— stephen kaufer (@kaufer) August 5, 2016
On Monday, Stoppelman continued to provide examples of Google ranking its own results over competitor sites. In this example he provides a screenshot which shows even when “yelp” is included in the search box, Google still surfaces its own properties above the fold:
.@kaufer Crooked @Google at it again user asks for @Yelp gets Google's own faux-Yelp! pic.twitter.com/WvZS0b1cs6
— Jeremy Stoppelman (@jeremys) August 8, 2016
Yelp has been speaking out against Google for what it alleges to be biased search results since 2014, including joining the European Union in filing formal antitrust complaints. Google has been firm in denying these allegations, though its spokespeople routinely decline to comment when asked about them.
At this point its perhaps too early to tell if Google’s recent change to restaurant searches will have a negative impact on the traffic sent to third party review sites. Keep in mind that the change had been in effect less than 24 hours before the CEOs spoke out on Twitter. We’ll see over time what kind of an effect the change will have on review sites and/or the overall restaurant search experience.