TripAdvisor’s Steve Kaufer tells Google “It’s not fair”

TripAdvisor’s Steve Kaufer tells Google “It’s not fair”

Stephen Kaufer of TripAdvisor admitted this week that discussions have broken down after Google said it would continue to include TripAdvisor’s user-generated reviews of businesses in its Google’s Place pages. 

It is unclear in this dispute which one is the pot and which the kettle, but both are clearly black.

Mr. Kaufer said Google told him that if he didn’t like TripAdvisor reviews appearing on Google, TripAdvisor could tweak its site so that reviews would be invisible to the search engine

But Mr Kaufer said blocking Google from seeing the reviews would not only remove them from Hotpot and Place pages but would also hurt his site’s ability to appear in normal search results. Google is a significant source of traffic for TripAdvisor. “I don’t feel like it’s fair to force me to provide information to site that’s trying to compete with me,” he said.   TripAdvisor accepts no responsibility for review content, but does claim ownership of the same.

In response, Google claims it “built Google for users, not websites, and our goal is to give users answers …  Each day we send millions of customer referrals to local businesses and third party websites, such as review sites, through local search.  The overwhelming feedback we get from users, business owners and website owners is that they value the answers and traffic they receive from local search.”

So there you have it. On one side, Mr Kaufer wants Google to cache his site’s page content to improve its position in search results, but not to display that same content on Google Maps/Places.  On the other, Google wants to use TripAdvisor reviews to make its Places content more attractive to users, in anticipation of future developments when it hopes to have its own online booking system linked to Places. 

It is unclear in this dispute which one is the pot and which the kettle, but both are clearly black.

Advertisements

6 responses to “TripAdvisor’s Steve Kaufer tells Google “It’s not fair”

  1. Like so many others, we have lost our link to our 61 (mostly) fantastic TripAdvisor reviews on Google Places. The worst of it is that it’s all random, so we are the only B&B in our area that’s lost its link, which means we have lost our competitive edge (hard earned over the past 6 years).

    What I don’t understand is why Tripadvisor sees these ‘links’ as Google appropriating ‘content’. In practicality it is just a few teasing words, and then a link to Tripadvisor – a very useful link that has been generating about 85% of our business (we now realise).

    The public generally searches for accommodation on Google. They used to see our five gold stars and our reviews on the ‘search results’ and they would click through to ‘Places’ and then to Tripadvisor. How is this a problem for TA?

    We are a tiny B&B and because we have had so many excellent reviews over the years, we have unwittingly fallen into the trap of putting all our eggs into the Tripadvisor basket. TA encourages businesses to do this in order to climb the TA ranking system. Then they abandon us while they argue in the courts. The policy is destroying small lodging businesses.

    Now that we have lost our TA link on Google Places, we are looking at losing our business. And we are not alone.

    Can anyone advise us on how to get the link back?

    • I’m sorry to hear this is affecting your business, Kate. Unfortunately the bods at Google and TA don’t really have a lot of time or consideration for what their actions do to the people whose businesses are damaged by their own interests. You can’t do anything to get the reviews back except sit tight – as long as the business name & address are the same on both TA and Google Places then ther’s every chance that they’ll reappear eventually. The same happened to me (and worse, but that’s another story!). As you can’t do anything about it, it’s best to try to forget it and get on with things that you CAN influence, like website optimisation and customer service.

  2. “I don’t feel like it’s fair to force me to provide information to site that’s trying to compete with me.” This comment makes me laugh out loud! For those of us that own hotels/attractions, isn’t this EXACTLY what TA is trying to do to us?

    • I couldn’t possibly comment 😉

    • I agree with Heather, TA do this to businesses that want to opt out, so when TA is forced to ‘opt in’ by Google, this just means the little bully came across the big bully.
      Let them scrap, but let us opt out.
      Also, ‘Google built Google for users, not websites, and our goal is to give users answers’ sounds more than a bit like TA built its site ‘for Travellers, not Owners, and our goal is for Travellers to get the Truth’.
      Taste of own medicine, TA?

  3. The cartoon is very apt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s