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Google Businesses EU The Almighty Buck

Yelp's Six-Year Grudge Against Google (nytimes.com) 42

Yelp has become Google's most tenacious pest, and despite the public outcries the crowd-sourced reviews website has seen little mercy over the years. From an NYTimes article: For six years, Jeremy Stoppelman's (chief executive of Yelp) company has been locked in a campaign on three continents to get antitrust regulators to punish Google, Yelp's larger, richer and more politically connected competitor. He has testified before Congress, written op-ed columns and used Twitter to bash Google's behavior (paywalled). Google wasn't always a rival. At one point, it was a suitor. But out of that union that never happened was born a mighty grudge, perhaps even an obsession. At one point, Yelp held a hackathon to create a sort of alternate-universe Google, the better for it to explain Google's ways to regulators. And then you have Luther Lowe. Mr. Lowe, Yelp's vice president for government relations, once spent $3,000 on a stuffed elephant, because it had been knit by Europe's antitrust chief. Unlike Google, whose office is full of artwork and free food, Yelp's Washington presence is just a rented co-working space. So Mr. Lowe keeps the elephant at Yelp's San Francisco headquarters, where there is more room. "This is a shoestring operation," he said. But after years of trying and failing, that operation has finally landed a good punch. Last Tuesday, the European Union fined Google $2.7 billion -- the largest antitrust fine in its history -- for unfairly favoring its own services over those of its rivals. The fine was related to Google's shopping service, so strictly speaking it had nothing to do with the Yelp-Google dispute, which is part of a separate investigation into local search. Still, Yelp and other American technology companies pushed hard to get regulators to issue a bold condemnation of Google's behavior toward competitors, signing a letter that accused Google of "destroying jobs and stifling innovation." And by affirming that Google is the dominant company in online search -- something most people take for granted -- Tuesday's decision is likely to help Yelp's case.
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Yelp's Six-Year Grudge Against Google

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  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:34PM (#54737157)

    I see Yelp quite often in Google search results.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't trust Yelp. Their reviews seem to favor those who pay for them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        While Yelp complains about Google, Yelp has been conducting a mafia-like protection racket for most of its existence. If a business refuses to pay money to Yelp they suddenly find themselves getting lots of negative reviews.

        Fuck Yelp.

    • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

      Yelp's in kind of a weird business in the first place. Who says they have a right to exist and show up in search results. They're kind of a middleman between search and what people are searching for. There was a market for that - until there wasn't. Yes, there are gray areas - like Google's use of Yelp reviews. Where would those reviews come from if not from Yelp? But Google paid to use them. Eventually Google would accumulate their own reviews, and Yelp would be gone. But is it Google's responsibil

      • Therein lies the potential merit here...

        If Google paid to get Yelp content on Google Search results, then there's clearly some value in that content. If Google use that to promote their own reviews service, and eventually end up with enough content of their own that they don't need Yelp, then they have two options (in the eyes of anti-monopoly regulators):

        1) Show their own reviews, but also, and in approximately equal measure, promote other companies reviews (and seeing as Yelp leads the market in that area

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          I guess. But your 'fishing wiki' example is pretty far from this. Comparison shopping is a form of search. It makes sense for Google to be providing that kind of service. A fishing wiki is it's own primary source of information. Google includes Wikipedia results - normally at or close to the top, based on popularity - because it benefits both parties for that to happen.

          If comparison shopping sites are good enough, people will hear about them and go to them directly. Maybe that's why Trivago advertise

  • Say it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:41PM (#54737207) Homepage

    We want to be bought by Google.
    That's it.

    • Sent as ripples into the electromagnetic field. No single photon has been harmed in the process..

      But several electrons were greatly inconvenienced, and are now considering a class-action lawsuit for lost wages.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      yelp rejected google once before. now that a number of years have passed since then, yelp STILL HAS NO SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL. extorting money to clean up bogus bad reviews can only carry you so far - and they're hitting the 'wall' now... its stock hardly worth the paper its printed on... fat chance of them ever getting another offer from google or anyone other than a vulture cap firm for pennies on the dollar.

  • But if I were putting together a list of companies I actively dislike, Yelp would be near the top.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2017 @03:59PM (#54737365)

    I've posted reviews of restaurants which were 100% honest and quite objective, only to see the review I posted "disappear" a day or two after I posted.

    This has happened multiple times, with different restaurants. I asked a restaurant owner about this and he told me it was indeed possible to "make unfavorable reviews disappear". He smiled as he said this, but it didn't keep the place he owned from going out of business about a year later.

    For me, Yelp has zero credibility.

    I believe it is smarter to simply ask the locals where THEY like to eat, and do this in real life, not on some website.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While Google has done some scuzzy things, Yelp's whole business model is to allow unlimited free unchecked negative reviews, then to charge businesses to take them down. I know who I am rooting for in this battle.

  • Is Yelp shit? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brennz ( 715237 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @04:11PM (#54737441)
    Many dubious reviews [reviewsthatstick.com]
    Allegations of "Payola" [findlaw.com]
    Allegations of business shakedowns [businessinsider.com]
    Too many novices rate everything 5 stars, or 1 star [huffingtonpost.com]

    In the grander scheme of things I'm not sure we should take Company B's advice that Company A is wrong and should be penalized, merely because Company B writes op-eds and sweet talks regulators. AKA ~ Regulatory Capture.

    Yelp is just out to destroy Google since they are the competition. I'm not defending Google either though.
    • by jeremyp ( 130771 )

      To be fair on the last link, if I paid $400 for a meal I wouldn't expect to leave the restaurant still hungry.

  • by hackel ( 10452 ) on Monday July 03, 2017 @04:33PM (#54737609) Journal

    Yelp hires sales people to bully restaurants into paying for advertising and other premium services on its network, threatening to essentially blackball them if they don't comply. It's really abhorrent behaviour. Google may be the big behemoth here, but as far as I know they have never pulled any of this kind of crap. Yelp is like Facebook—the customer is the product. They aren't actually interested in providing accurate, unbiased reviews. They are interested in selling advertising and mining people's data which they can then sell for profit. I liked and used Yelp in its early days, like most of us, but would highly suggest moving away from it now as much possible.

    • Uh... I spent over a decade in the advertising industry. The eyeballs always are the product. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone. Yelp is no different than any other advertising platforms in this regard. We never referred to users as "customers". That's a totally backwards concept. Customers are those that pay you, that is, the advertisers. Users are sometimes given the impression that the company cares about them, but internally, we never did. We cared about the customer, the advertiser.

      Here's a

  • It is the most useless site ever. I see is show up in search results all the time. I wish I could just block it. Fuckers like this should be taken out and beat to death with a brick. Fucking worthless piece of shit Jeremy Stoppelman. Piece of shit wants to the gov't to force everyone else to use his shitty product because he thinks he should be rich. Fuck off you worthless piece of garbage.

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