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Google Businesses

Google Works With Hotels To Hurt Travel Competition (wsj.com) 129

An anonymous reader shares a WSJ report: More than 100 million Americans are expected to travel during the holidays, and many will search for lodging online. But travelers may unknowingly pay more and fail to see all of their options because some major hotels have ganged up with Google to undercut competition (The link may be paywalled). Online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity have replaced brick-and-mortar agents by offering consumers more choice and convenience at a lower price. These OTAs purchase inventory from wholesalers and then market rooms at a discount to consumers in addition to flights, rental cars and travel packages. Many also have agreements with companies like American Express, Costco and Delta to market their inventory. OTA websites let travelers sift through hotel offers based on price, brand, location, amenities and guest rating, among other search filters. OTAs earn a roughly 20 percent commission from hotels for each reservation they book, which covers their cost of marketing, inventory acquisition, customer support and payment processing. As hotels get squeezed by Airbnb and home rental sites, they have begun complaining that OTAs are eating into their profits. Several major hotels are now trying to use Google as a counterweight, while Google is exploiting its search dominance to steer consumers to its travel service. Some 60% of travelers begin trip-planning on Google.
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Google Works With Hotels To Hurt Travel Competition

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  • oh, i see (Score:2, Informative)

    But travelers may unknowingly pay more and fail to see all of their options because some major hotels have text.

    Someday Slashdot will develop a publishing system that let's you edit articles in draft mode ...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If hotels stopped selling to wholesalers then they wouldn't have this problem. Google isn't at fault here, the hotels are for undercutting their own business.

    • it's the same thing as ticket scalpers with concert tickets. selling to wholesalers you get paid right away and transfer inventory risk to someone else

    • If hotels stopped selling to wholesalers then they wouldn't have this problem.

      But they would have a different problem. If they aren't listed by the OTAs, then they are invisible to many potential customers. 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

      They are paying 20% of their gross to outsource their marketing, which is likely cheaper than the cost of doing their own publicity and promotions.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        If hotels stopped selling to wholesalers then they wouldn't have this problem.

        But they would have a different problem. If they aren't listed by the OTAs, then they are invisible to many potential customers. 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

        They are paying 20% of their gross to outsource their marketing, which is likely cheaper than the cost of doing their own publicity and promotions.

        Which is why they have nothing to complain about. They are paying 20% for marketing, which isn't some egregious amount. If Google was being accused of dropping a hotel chain from their service if they also advertised with another search engine, or for having their own direct to consumer sales, that would be anti-competitive. But currently they are just charging for marketing.

      • by darkain ( 749283 )

        No different than the airlines industry. Southwest Airlines doesn't allow for any of these wholesale deals. They've been doing just fine, with plenty of booked flights, cheaper airfare, and none of the bullshit hidden fees to try to make up the slack of lost revenue that they're no longer losing.

        • by Zxern ( 766543 )

          Seriously, I'd prefer to visit and purchase directly through the hotels themselves rather than a 3rd party, but the prices are no better.

        • Except that these days they rarely are cheaper. I generally end up on SWA only if the times are better.

          • Except that these days they rarely are cheaper. I generally end up on SWA only if the times are better.

            Degending on your itinerary, if you factor in the cost of checked baggage (2 bags/person free on SWA) and other fees on other airlines, SWA often comes in less expensive than the alternatives. Plus SWA employees treat you like a valued customer rather than an annoyance.

  • by olsmeister ( 1488789 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @11:27AM (#55821969)
    I often get better pricing booking directly through the hotel company website. I just did that an hour ago and got a better price that way than what Expedia was offering.
    • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @11:34AM (#55822007)
      Better yet, call or show up at the hotel and offer cash. Works nicely for independent places -- they'll still need an ID and/or card for security, but they're willing to negotiate if you cut some of their costs (swipe, consolidator fees) out of the equation by paying cash.
      • Better yet, call or show up at the hotel and offer cash.

        Do not just show up. That is garbage advice. Once you are there, they've got you. Call first.

        • I've done it both ways -- can work either way. The presence of cash allows for some moral flexibility on the part of the hotel staff that wouldn't otherwise exist.
          • Moral flexibility? What requires moral flexibility here? The hotel is in the business of letting people stay in its rooms for payment, so a clerk isn't being subversive by renting out a room.

      • by dszd0g ( 127522 )

        Paying cash doesn't cut the fees out of the equation, it just lowers the fees. Most businesses that deal with cash have to pay their bank a cash processing fee, but from my understanding it's around 0.003% which is less than the fees for debit ($0.21 + 0.05%) and credit cards (1.4%-3.5%). Someone who deals with this professionally is welcome to correct my numbers if I got them wrong.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Paying cash doesn't cut the fees out of the equation, it just lowers the fees. Most businesses that deal with cash have to pay their bank a cash processing fee, but from my understanding it's around 0.003% which is less than the fees for debit ($0.21 + 0.05%) and credit cards (1.4%-3.5%). Someone who deals with this professionally is welcome to correct my numbers if I got them wrong.

          That's potential fees. But it doesn't include costs to handle cash.

          For example, if a business does a lot of cash business, ins

        • Most businesses that deal with cash have to pay their bank a cash processing fee,

          Which is why offering cashback at the counter is becoming so popular. The business already has the infrastructure for processing card payments, and they get to reduce their banking costs. Win-win.

          Downside : streetside ATMs are starting to suffer. Slowly decreasing numbers of them.

      • by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @02:15PM (#55823195)

        Cash works for places that rent rooms by the hour... not so much when you are traveling for other situations. Can you imagine not booking a room in Vegas during a major conference? Can you imagine driving 13 hours to the shore (pick any shore you care to visit) and then explaining to your family that you're going to have to sleep in the car? I think this is dangerous advice.

        • Nah-- worst that will happen at the shore (or Vegas), is that you'll have to go a bit inland from the shore or off the Vegas Strip. Room's just a place to sleep. Honestly, nothing wrong with places that "rent by the hour" as long as they're relatively clean and inexpensive.

          The exception might be places like Big Sur where there's huge tourist demand, poor road access, and relatively few hotels. But this tends to be rare. Even at Big Sur, I didn't have problem finding lodging on the periphery of the "natu

          • > Room's just a place to sleep.

            If you're an extrovert, maybe.

            If you're an introvert, your room is your refuge. Your clean place to shit. The place you go to recharge *your* batteries. So... it matters quite a bit.

            Having a room that's literally adjacent to your primary intended activity means you can go there for 5-15 minutes whenever you feel like it (or to grab a 25c can of Diet Pepsi that you bought at a grocery store from the room's refrigerator, instead of getting ass-raped and paying resort-level pr

      • Better yet, call or show up at the hotel and offer cash. Works nicely for independent places -- they'll still need an ID and/or card for security, but they're willing to negotiate if you cut some of their costs (swipe, consolidator fees) out of the equation by paying cash.

        If you arrive very late, offer to leave very early and to clean up after yourself so housekeeping doesn't notice the room was occupied, you can often pay a minimal fee directly to the front desk agent.

        At least, that's what Jack Reacher does and everything in those books is clearly the truth.

    • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Thursday December 28, 2017 @11:47AM (#55822095) Journal

      Don't forget better cancelation policy and more likely to be upgraded as perks for booking through the hotel itself.

      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @12:05PM (#55822231) Journal

        A number of the big chains give you pretty big penalties for not being a member of their rewards club. For example, free WiFi for all members of the rewards scheme, even if you've never stayed with them before. A few I've stayed in offer access to a lounge with complimentary snacks and coffee (and, less often, beer) for members of the loyalty club, again with no requirement to actually stay there regularly. I have a small collection of hotel loyalty cards that I never use (I've never been asked to present one, I just log in and book with my account and it's automatically associated) because you always get a better deal if you're a member. I don't really understand why - most of them need your name, address, and credit card number when you book, so it's not like also giving them a single-use email address makes it easier for them to track me.

        Smaller hotels will often give you a better rate if you email / call and ask. I've had pretty good luck just saying 'we're only able to pay this much for accommodation, can you come close?' Most of the time, they will (and will also do useful things like give a flat rate per night, rather than a cheap rate some nights, and charge and a more expensive one others, which makes the expenses people happier).

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          The rewards club isn't so they can 'track' you, it is so they can entice you to stay there over competitors (customer loyalty). 'One more stay and you get a free night' kind of thing. The inital 'benefits' are just to get you into the program. No different than frequent flyer programs.

          • The difference is, I seem to get most of the benefits for the big hotel chains' schemes simply by being a member. I periodically get emails about how great it is that I have blue status with Hilton's HHonors scheme (threshold: 0 nights per year), and the benefits of a higher status are few and far between.

            In contrast, with United's MileagePlus I get basically nothing for simply being a member, but when I got silver status I got free economy plus (read: more legroom) seats at check in and free checked bags

            • by mlyle ( 148697 )

              Through a credit card I have mid-tier status in a lot of loyalty programs. I've been upgraded to nicer rooms on basically every stay, late departure is never a problem, etc. That was not the case with base status before-- sure I got upgraded sometimes, but not to the same extent.

        • ...I just log in and book with my account and it's automatically associated) because you always get a better deal if you're a member. I don't really understand why...

          If one books through a third-party/reseller/OTA, the hotel pays a hefty commission - typically on the order of 20% - to the OTA. If I pay $100 through Expedia or Booking.com, the hotel only gets $80. If I book direct with the hotel for the Special Members-Only Price of $90, the hotel gets to keep all $90. In addition, they get my contact inf

        • I never stay at a hotel expensive enough to charge for wifi.

          The middle end ones (courtyard Marriott, Hilton garden, etc) all give free WiFi. They don't start charging until you move up to a real Marriot or Hilton.

    • Same with buying tickets directly from the airlines. I'll use Kayak as a guide and then buy the ticket straight from southwest or delta. I always get a better fare class and a lot of times i'll get a better seat on delta for the same price.

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        Southwest doesn't list on Kayak.
        When you make a reservation from Kayak, it usually sends you to the airline's own website.

      • The big advantage of buying direct from the airline is what happens if you need to change the flight. You deal with the airline directly instead of some (probably incompetent) third party.

    • However I think the big issue, is that Google, especially recently, has lost the business compartmentalization that most big business have. Google as a search engine, should be the OTA best friend (also the Hotel Company) Googles own services which may be in competition should be treated as fairly on a Google search as the others.

    • Not to mention that the rooms you get through OTAs are not always the best either.
    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      I've found that hotels are reluctant to match the prices of the OTAs. Multiple times I have arrived at a hotel and showed them the OTA price and asked them to match it. This should be a no brainer since they don't have to pay commission but for some reason, they don't want to do it. I end up just booking on the OTA site to get the best price.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      If the hotel didn't charge a 20% premium to the price over and above what all the online resellers are charging, I'd consider it.
      But right now they complain that they pay the OTA too much, then flat out refuse to price match that OTA. Tough luck. If you want me to book directly with you, you'd make it cheaper than the OTA, not more expensive.

      I can't remember the last time I found a hotel willing to price match their own room from an online seller. And honestly, I don't care who I buy through, I just don't w

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I often get better pricing booking directly through the hotel company website. I just did that an hour ago and got a better price that way than what Expedia was offering.

      This.

      Don't forget that Expedia and Priceline (there are only really two companies, most brands belong to them) charge the hotels commission for booking and in order to list them, make them sign an agreement not to advertise a lower price on their own web site. So a hotel is quite often happy to meet what you get online if you email or call them because you're going to pay that amount anyway but the hotel doesn't have to pay the commission. You'll also be further up the list for overbooking upgrades, bett

    • by MercTech ( 46455 )

      And I've found that calling the hotel direct and bypassing a chain website gets even more savings. A hotel manager will kick in an extra discount if bookings are low whereas a company website always uses their standard rate table.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @11:29AM (#55821981)

    The whole premise was that hotels wanted help to move their excess inventory of rooms. Now that there's an ecosystem around collecting and marketing that inventory, the hotels have decided they want to claw back more control (and profit) from the process. I'm not sure I see the issue here. Why not just stop selling rooms at a discount to these 3rd parties and become better at selling the capacity themselves?

    shrug

    • So your advice is a more elaborate version of "git gud"

      • 1. The OTAs are selling unused rooms at a discount.
        2. They are getting them because the hotels are selling them nights at a discount.

        So what are the hotels complaining about, exactly? If they don't want OTAs to sell these rooms, they should stop doing step 2. Of course, then they wouldn't be getting *any* money for these rooms, as they are *unsold rooms*

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          If they don't sell rooms to the OTAs then their hotel will never be seen by anyone using an OTA (which is a LOT of people). If they DO sell to the OTA then people using the OTA will see the hotel as an option, but only for the rooms bought by the OTA.

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Because many people use the OTAs. If a hotel doesn't sell any rooms to the OTAs then those people never even see the hotel as an option. 'Getting better at selling capacity themselves' is exactly what they are doing now.

    • by robo1 ( 5209617 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @01:19PM (#55822813)
      I work for a hotel company. It's not really excess inventory. We sell on Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Booking.com, etc just like we do on our own site. It's all the same inventory. Now if it's getting close in and we have unsold inventory we might sell on Hotwire or Priceline. In the industry these are referred to as "opaque" since you don't know what hotel you are getting until it's booked. We would much prefer to sell on our own site and sometimes offer discounted rates since we don't have to eat the fees. The OTA sites force rate parity which prevents us from selling a room on Expedia cheaper than say Booking.com. This even gets down to the room type level so we can't sell 1 & 2 bedrooms on Expedia, but only 1 bedrooms on Booking.com. They have automated systems to enforce this and send out warnings. We can usually get away with selling discounted rooms on our own site though. I always laugh when I see a trivago add since for the most part they all will have the same rate anyway. Expedia has pretty much taken over everything. They have HomeAway, VRBO, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, trivago. I usually tell people to shop around and find something you like, then go to the hotel site and see if you can get the same or better rate.
  • I have found the Google prices the same as the travel site prices the same as the hotel's website every time I've searched (within a few percent one way or the other).

    Google doesn't hide the other sites either, they let you book through them if you desire (it even shows you all of their prices in the results).

    And of course people start with Google's flight and hotel search, it is significantly better than any of the other sites (includes Southwest flights, smarter warnings and notifications about when a sli

  • I guess "Don't be evil [wikipedia.org]" is now completely by the wayside.

    Oh, yeah, I guess it is [time.com], at least for Alphabet.

    • How did you read into this that Google was being evil? Because hotels were offering Google lower prices to compete with online travel agencies? That is good for the hotels, the consumers, and Google.

      How is that evil?

  • Many private hotels and motels will accept less than their published rates, and lower than the Travelocity/Expedia/Hotels.com rates if you're willing to pay cash. You might still need to put a deposit or give a card as security against damage.

    You win, the hotel wins (no fees from the room resellers, no swipe fees).

    That's how I've booked hotels in areas that are "hot" like beach towns -- pick up the phone and negotiate.

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      Many private hotels and motels will accept less than their published rates, and lower than the Travelocity/Expedia/Hotels.com rates if you're willing to pay cash.

      Had this experience recently. I found a hotel on TripAdviser but had a question about parking. I phoned the hotel for clarification, and after answering this they offered me 10% under the published rate if I booked directly with them!

    • This has nothing to do with cash. Most hotels will offer a discount of 5-50% if you ask for one unless it's peak season and they're guaranteed to be completely full.
      • Exactly. If you call a hotel (especially if you can directly) they will usually give you a lower rate, depending on how full they are. Cash doesn't matter. The "swipe fees" are minimal compared to the discount (usually 3%).
        • I wonder slightly how many hotels are even set up for handling cash. If you're taking payments in cash then you're going to have thousands of dollars sitting on the premises, which is well past the point at which credit cards become cheaper for most small businesses: the cost of the security, insurance, and physically processing the cash go up quite sharply when you become a good target for opportunist burglars.
          • Bed and breakfasts and independent motels (may look sketchy, but are usually as clean as anything else) work just fine with cash.
          • Mine is.. we are open six months of the year, do just under 1.4 million in gross rents, with our tax base, that's over 1.5 mill in payments.. A 3% discount is standard for cash. We do 2/3rds without credit cards- a lot of regulars send checks.
            • Interesting. You're well over the threshold where I'd expect handling cash to be more expensive than handling credit cards. I won't ask you for details of your security arrangements, but I'd be interested in knowing how much you spend on safes and cash transport to the bank.
  • As hotels get squeezed by Airbnb and home rental sites, they have begun complaining that OTAs are eating into their profits.

    Let me ask:

    In America, is eating into a competitor's profits a crime?

    • In America, is eating into a competitor's profits a crime?

      Companies will certainly try to make it one. See car dealerships vs Tesla if you need an example. Car dealerships in many states have managed to make themselves a mandatory middle man (with attendant markups) even though there is no discernible benefit to either the customers or manufacturers. When Tesla wanted to sell direct they managed to make doing so literally a crime though lobbying their cronies in the state legislature.

    • It is when you inhabit a privileged position in the market. If we don't have such rules, then the markets fail and nobody wins

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      In this case it often is. The crime is tax evasion. Hotels frequently need to pay a tax on rooms rented, and adhere to various safety regulations that Airbnb ignores. They've been ruled an illegal business in a couple of places because of this.

  • Mismash mostly posts about Russia, so since a ctrl+f could not discover that place in this text, I must remind you that the founders of Google are from Russia.
    • I must remind you that the founders of Google are from Russia.

      Larry Page is from Russia? I had better head over to Wikipedia and change his page to correct the misconception that he was born in East Lansing, MI.

      Sergey Brin was about 6 years old when the family left Russia, after the family had been badly treated by Russian authorities, so I doubt that he has any loyalty to Russia.

  • F'in PARKING? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @12:00PM (#55822197)
    I registered a hotel stay on one of those sites now. A very nice hotel but downtown, and valet parking came as part of the 'bundle'. The front desk refused to give this to us. They said we didn't have the right text in our record. We fought and lost. We talked about what we wanted to do and decided we didn't have much of a choice and took their 5% off 'sucks to be you' deal plus paying for valet parking. When I stood in line to get our room, I heard the exact same argument happening at another booth. I guess if I really wanted to raise a stink I should have pulled aside the other person and stood there waiting as our group got bigger, but I was there for vacation with my family.
    • I guess if I really wanted to raise a stink I should have pulled aside the other person and stood there waiting as our group got bigger, but I was there for vacation with my family.

      You have to save proof of every offer that you care about, period. This is true whether you're talking about a hotel discount, a pizza special, or a trade in minecraft. :)

      • If they don't believe you and are telling you you're lying and you don't have the right text in your account, I don't think they're going to give a hot clue what screenshot of some website you have printed out. Your confirmation number IS supposed to be the proof.
    • I'd have parked on the street or used the garage down the street just so they didn't get more of my money :)
    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      What is 'those sites'? An OTA, or direct with the hotel? If it is an OTA, then you need to take the issue to the OTA, not the hotel. The hotel is not just going to honor some third parties claim.

      • So basically they can promise anything they want then, because fighting with a hotel is bad enough on vacation, I'm not interested in getting in a tangle with some faceless website. Waiting on hold alone isn't worth it.
        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          I don't know where you get the 'they can promise anything they want' thing from. The point is, the ONLY people you have any reasonable complaint against is whoever made you the offer and you PAID. If the hotel made the offer and you paid the hotel, then it is entirely reasonable to complain to the hotel and expect satisfaction. However, if an OTA made the offer and you paid the OTA, it is kind of asinine to expect the hotel to deal with that complaint.

          • I shouldn't have to worry about 'who deals with it', because something that is sold should be granted; period. If the OTA is operating in a way that they can't guarantee said hotel will provide the service, then the whole service is a fraud. If the service is a fraud, I could very well waste two hours on hold with them and get nowhere, because they have already shown that they care not about providing service.
            • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

              You are not making any sense. The ONLY party that 'sold' you anything was the OTA. Nobody else is responsible for 'granting' you a damn thing.

              The request of your post is equally stupid. You completely skip over the most likely cause of an issue, a mistake, and leap directly to 'it must be fraud' and 'they dont care about providiing service'. WTF? By your own admission, you haven't even contacted the OTA to attempt to straighten it out, so how exactly do you make that ridiculous leap?

              We use OTAs frequen

            • You complain to the OTA and let them deal with the hotel.

              To the hotel you are just some dude complaining over a few dollars. The OTA is a contract worth millions.

              If the OTA does not resolve the issue for you, then you contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.

              Either you get what you were promised, or they don't get paid. That is the "value add" of the middlemen (the OTA and the CC company) -they have more leverage than you do when it comes to resolving problems.

              • If I can't deal with the hotel to resolve the issue, then the OTA isn't worth it. The deal wasn't that fucking good. I guess I'm asking for the world, expecting to get what I paid for.
    • You should have taken this up with the OTA site. They sold you the room. If they didn't deliver, they should refund.

      • Well then that's not the service I want. I like being able to deal with the hotel.
        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          Well if you 'like dealing with the hotel', why did you not BOOK with the hotel and eliminate the whole damn problem? Too cheap?

          • Well I did it once. Rather my wife did it once, and I didn't realize the kind of poor service I would get. I really don't understand how someone can run a business that 'might' give you what you pay for. Really we usually just book motel 8 but we decided to try something different that time I guess. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is..
            • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

              I guess you live in a world where there is no such thing as a mistake or error. Out here in the real world those things happen, and those of us who live here know how to deal with them. You don't.

              Upon encountering this situation, a sane person would realize that there are three parties involved, and any of them could have made a mistake, and the logical place to start would be with who you made the purchase from.

              Suppose I show up at your house and say I paid some guy $100 and he said I could stay there.

              • A mistake happens once, and as I said already within hour where was another person at that line with the same 'mistake'. I just don't agree with a business model that leaves me beholden to some 'third party' to negotiate for me. Hotels have front desks for a reason, and if I can't go to the front desk to complain, then I'm not getting a hotel experience. In the example you mentioned, 'the guy' isn't a corporation doing business with millions of people. These companies are supposed to have the *right* t
  • by Trax3001BBS ( 2368736 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @12:10PM (#55822273) Homepage Journal

    Maybe the searchers trust Google to have what they need, Plain and simple. I do and can enter gibberish and expect Google to produce. An example a movie I've see once and no clue of it's name, input: movie beach ball monster - results, top (first) hit was it: "Dark Star", which youtube had available (I didn't say it was a good movie).

    Would the other search engines done as well? I've no clue, I have only used Google cause it's working for me.

    Just another day with the need for another story.

  • People use google because it just works, plain and simple. If google start presenting unwanted results for financial gain. Over time people will start using alternatives, plain and simple.
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday December 28, 2017 @12:32PM (#55822441) Homepage Journal

    Is it just my imagination or are they confusing "hurts competition" with "lowers retailer margin"?

    They're creating a race to the bottom [wikipedia.org], and then complaining about their falling margins. That's going to be the result when you play that game. I suppose you might look at it as "bad for competition" if you're a vendor looking for better margins, and ultimately it may end up driving some vendors out of the market and lowering competition, but in a free market economy a Race to the Bottom will usually fix itself. Sometimes it crashes the market a bit hard and it takes awhile to rebound, but when it does, the remaining vendors are usually more careful to avoid a repeat occurrence.

    And as for their handing out blocks of inventory for resale, that's just another angle they're trying to exploit to squeeze a little more out of their inventory. Iin the case of hotels, those few vacant rooms every day, they're just playing the "half of something is better than all of nothing" game, and the resellers getting their margin is usually okay as long as they're not selling at a loss. If they're stupid and dumping larger than necessary blocks of rooms to the resellers, which is then resulting in a drop in traditional direct sales, that's their own fault for overdoing it. It's no different than using sales to attract customers, and making the mistake of making too many, too frequent, or too heavily discounted sales. Don't DO that, the customers will take advantage of it and the outcome is your own fault. If you don't know how to play that game, you shouldn't be playing it at all, not complaining when you lose.

    • So what you are saying that the banking industry and the stockmarket are not a free market, because O do not see them being carefull. Just trying to stay legal and changing the law so legal will be different.

      I doubt any other market is different.

  • What? An advertising corporation (Google) abusing its monopoly? Who'd a thunk it? So are we not to trust Google's search results anymore?

    I gave up when I heard that they took a big chunk of cash from BP during the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster to promote pro BP results and hide negative coverage of the spill and the so called cleanup as much as possible.

    • Oh, did I mention that Google also helps oppressive regimes to identify political movements and their members in order to commit human rights abuses, including torture and murder?
  • That isn't a report, it's an editorial.

    It's Rupert Murdoch being pissy at Google...

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