Reviews Tug-of-War – Does it Matter?

Reviews Tug-of-War – Does it Matter?

IN THE REVIEWS TUG-OF-WAR with Google Places, TripAdvisor seems to have gained the upper hand – at least for the moment.

Prompted by a comment on an earlier post,  I checked my benchmark ‘Paris hotels’ and ‘London hotels’ searches on Google Places/Maps and the TA reviews have largely disappeared once again, following a couple of weeks where all reviews had been shown.

There are individual exceptions (3 out of 10 London hotels on Places show TripAdvisor reviews), proving that the ban still isn’t watertight and that Google hasn’t given up the fight.

Our own listing is still showing TA reviews on Places – but that could change again tomorrow, and the uncertainty will continue until Google and TripAdvisor come to some sort of agreement or one throws in the towel.

Some may not care whether there are TA reviews on Places or not, but some potential customers may be drawn to a hotel with lots of reviews showing, so the current TA review lottery can’t be ignored completely.

What about you – are you bothered whether Google Places shows TripAdvisor listings, either as an owner or as a user?

TA Reviews on Google Places – January 14th 2011
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4 responses to “Reviews Tug-of-War – Does it Matter?

  1. Bill

    Isn’t this exactly what Trip Advisor is doing to the unwilling businesses?!

  2. Why is the question whether I’m bothered as an owner or user? This looks like a pretty clear cut case where one company has an asset, and another is using it without permission to make money. It’s a little uncomfortable that the offending company is Google, who Does No Evil, but it’s hard to escape that fact. Why does TripAdvisor need a “watertight” ban? Why can’t they simply say, “Do not use our content for your page to make money” and have a reputable company agree to it?

    This is Google crossing the line between search engine and content site, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But using your muscle in one to gain ground in another is suspicious, and lifting content when doing so is pretty clearly wrong.

    • I agree, Google is not simply doing this for the benefit of the consumer – it is to make Places more useful, bearing in mind that they want to use Places as a direct booking engine in the future. At that point it will clearly be in direct competition with TripAdvisor.

      I personally do not want (as I’ve said elsewhere) Places results forced upon me in the general search results – if I want Places results I’m perfectly capable of clicking the little word “Map” that is conveniently positioned among the many search options.

      However, I also find TripAdvisor’s sanctimonious attitude and ‘only thinking of the consumer’ claims hard to swallow, given it’s track record of buying out its competitors (anyone remember Travel Library? bought and left to wither by TA) in an attempt to create a monopoly.

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